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Psycho-Oncology Evidenced Based Psychological Skills Training

The nature of the problem

Nearly twenty years ago, Steven Greer and his colleagues at the Royal Marsden Hospital identified that 23% of cancer patients suffer from clinically significant psychological distress (Greer et al 1992). Such figures can increase substantially depending on circumstances such as following news of recurrence or spread or in response to chemotherapy. Such adverse emotional reactions have implications not just for the overall wellbeing of the patient but also their recovery rates and compliance with treatment (Watson 2001).

The central role of psychological treatment and support within the oncology field has been recognized within a number of NICE guidelines for oncology:

Key Recommendation 9: Commissioners and providers of cancer services, working through Cancer Networks, should ensure that all patients undergo systematic psychological assessment at key points and have access to appropriate psychological support.

(Improving Supportive & Palliative Care for Adults with Cancer NICE Executive Summary 2004)

1.5.11 A palliative care team should assess all patients with uncontrolled local disease in order to plan a symptom management strategy and provide psychological support.

(NICE Advanced Breast Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment 2009)

Training implications for the development of psychological skills for staff has equally been highly prioritized.

5.15 Staff providing psychological care should be adequately trained and supervised, and mechanisms to ensure support should be available.

(Improving Supportive & Palliative Care for Adults with Cancer NICE the Manual 2004)

Available Training Packages from SDS:

We have developed a number of training packages in response to these needs which are listed below.

COPE™ (Cancer: Overcoming Psychological & Emotional Difficulties) is a training package for staff on the application of CBT to the psychological problems experienced by cancer patients. The course is an adaption of the Certificate in CBT (Introductory course), specifically for the oncology field. The Certificate was the first CBT course in the UK to be Approved by The British Psychological Society Learning Centre. Apart from providing an introductory training in CBT, the course also addresses specific oncology issues such as how to adapt CBT in the face of cognitive impairments experienced by cancer patients and its specific application to adverse emotional responses to treatment. The Certificated course is available as a four day training package and is designed for staff identified by NICE as responsible for providing psychological support at Levels 2 and 3 (NICE 2004)

“Stripped down” CBT training as applied to the oncology field is also available as one and two day training events. Follow up telephone and email supervision packages are also available on request.

Resource™ is a training package for staff on the application of Brief Solution Focused Therapy to the oncology field. Solution Focused Therapy is one of the specifically recommended Level 3 interventions prescribed by NICE ((Improving Supportive & Palliative Care For Adults With Cancer: The Manual 2004) A strengths based approach, the course provides a three day training based on SDS’s extensive experience of Solution Focused training in this field to over 4000 delegates across the UK over the last five years. This intensely practical approach to helping patients overcome psychological difficulties is known for its particular advantages with resistant clients, those “in denial” about their condition or those who do not want to talk about their emotional distress in detail. Apart from basic training in Solution Focused skills, the course also addresses issues such as the adaption of the Miracle Question with oncology patients and working with patients’ carers.

Again, “stripped down” Solution Focused training as applied to the oncology field is also available as one and two day training events. Follow up telephone and email supervision packages are also available on request

Why?™ is a two day Motivational Interviewing (MI) training package for staff designed to provide the necessary MI skills to help patients overcome motivational problems that interfere with their compliance with treatment recommendations – whether medication compliance, exercise or smoking cessation – or as a preventative intervention (as in the field of skin cancer). Apart from basic MI training the course also gives delegates ample opportunity to raise difficult cases they are currently working with and to develop strategies for increasing client motivation.

For a tailored comprehensive quote and further information please email us with your requirements:

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