Counseling Services Update

Counseling Services are available in person, but can also be available via phone. If you would like to schedule a telephonic appointment, please email [email protected] and provide your name and the best number to contact you at. Otherwise, please call 949-722-6237 to schedule an in person counseling service.

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Counseling Services

Being diagnosed with cancer can feel overwhelming at times. Many patients and their families need help with coping and can benefit from supportive counseling. Oncology Clinical Social Workers are available to provide emotional and practical support during all stages of cancer including diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment survivorship.

Hoag Family Cancer Institute provides specialized individual, couple and family counseling, on a short-term basis, free of charge, to its patients and their support persons.

How counseling can benefit you

  • Learn ways to cope with a cancer diagnosis, feel less overwhelmed and more in control
  • Explore the meaning of the cancer experience
  • Manage difficult feelings, such as depression and anxiety
  • Manage cancer symptoms and treatment side effects, such as pain and fatigue
  • Learn how to communicate effectively with the health care team
  • Address relationship issues and financial concerns that are causing distress
  • Explore options and get feedback about important decisions
  • Consider professional or workplace issues and strategies
  • Talk about concerns you may have about what comes next after finishing treatment
  • Learn how to help your family understand and adjust to changes in routine as a result of a cancer diagnosis
  • Explore and resolve cancer-related sexuality issues


Support services are provided without fees to patients who receive their care at Hoag, thanks to community support. If you would like to make a gift of any amount to help ensure the availability of these valuable services, click here.

Counseling services are provided by:

Marie Miao, LCSW, OSW-C, in Irvine

Marie Miao earned her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a licensed social worker and certified as an oncology social worker. During her undergraduate years as a hospice volunteer, she discovered her passion to help others with a serious illness. Marie has been in the field of hospice, palliative care and oncology ever since, six years of which being at Hoag. Marie has been a big advocate for voicing patient needs and developing programs to meet those gaps—CLIMB being one of them. Whether it be one-on-one counseling, educational workshops, support groups or art class, she provides coping tools and resources to navigate the complex cancer journey.

Josephina Kim, LCSW, in Newport Beach

Josephina Kim earned a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California. During her graduate studies and internship at the Hoag Family Cancer Center, she discovered her true calling – to work with cancer patients and their families. She provides unconditional positive regard to cancer patients as they navigate through the shock, fear, and complexity of cancer. She addresses the psychological, psychosocial, cultural, and continuing care needs of patients and their families. Through one-on-one counseling, providing coping tools, connecting patients to resources and support groups, Josephina is able to help cancer patients and their families cope through this new journey.

Deborah Sisley, LCSW, in Newport Beach

Deborah Sisley is an Oncology Clinical Social worker who has worked at Hoag Hospital for over 22 years providing frontline services to patients and families spanning the entire continuum of a diagnosis and health-related issues. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of California, Irvine and her Masters in Social Work with a Health concentration from the University of Southern California. She has extensive experience and training working with chronic illness and palliative care, which has shaped her “person-in-environment” approach. She strongly believes patients are not just their diagnoses. She values acknowledging patients within their relationships, career and recreation activities, community, and culture. Her passion is to assist patients and family members with identifying their strengths and providing them with resources and counseling support that will help them enhance hope and quality of life.

Leanna Wagner, LCSW, in Irvine

Leanna Wagner earned her Bachelor's of Social Work at Azusa Pacific University and Master's of Social Work at Cal State University Long Beach. She discovered her passion for oncology social work during her graduate internship at Hoag Family Cancer Institute’s Palliative Care Program. Leanna is an advocate for patient self determination and uses a strength-based approach. She has extensive experience working with patients and families, conducting psychosocial assessments and working as a member of an interdisciplinary team. Leanna provides coping tools, supportive counseling, resource connection and support groups to improve quality of life.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call 949-722-6237.