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grouptherapy_cancer - Psychology Health Medicine May 2005...

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Group cognitive behavior therapy for breast cancer patients: A qualitative evaluation SARAH EDELMAN, JIM LEMON & ANTONY KIDMAN Health Psychology Unit, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia Abstract Twenty-five patients who had attended a group cognitive behavior therapy program for breast cancer patients were interviewed by telephone about their experience. Responses were categorized independently and indicated that participants enjoyed the interpersonal and social environment of the group, but also acknowledged the benefits provided by the cognitive behavior therapy modality of the group. While the majority of groups that are currently run for cancer patients are supportive, it is possible that adding a psycho-educational component may meet the needs of greater number of patients. Keywords: Breast cancer, cognitive behavior therapy, psycho-educational, support groups Introduction A diagnosis of breast cancer is an extremely distressing event and has a profound effect on the lives of most patients (Glanz & Lerman, 1992). As advances in medical treatments have enabled patients to live longer, or in some cases to be cured, increasing attention has been focused on patients’ psychological state and quality of life. As a result, a variety of interventions have been developed to deal with the emotional impact of the disease. In the last three decades, there has been substantial growth in the number of support groups available to cancer patients, mostly within hospital settings. Groups have become increasingly popular, due to their cost-effectiveness and facilitation of peer support. Since the mid 1970s, the use of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) in the treatment of psychological problems associated with medical conditions has increased, as the efficacy of CBT has been established (Clarke & Fairburn, 1997). Several studies have evaluated the CBT model with cancer patients in individual (Greer et al., 1992; Moorey et al., 1994; Moorey, Greer, Bliss, & Law, 1998) and group format (Bottomley, Hunton, Roberts, Jones, & Bradley, 1996; Edelman, Bell & Kidman, 1999; Edmonds, Lockwood, & Cunningham, 1999; Evans & Connis, 1995). A review of different types of cancer patient groups found that psycho-educational programs frequently confer greater improvements on outcomes such as anxiety and depression, compared to purely supportive groups (Edelman, Craig & Kidman, 2000). Correspondence: Sarah Edelman, Health Psychology Unit, University of Technology, Sydney, Westbourne Street, Gore Hill, NSW 2065, Australia. Tel: + 61 2 9514-4309. Fax: + 61 2 9906-3825. E-mail: [email protected] Psychology, Health & Medicine , May 2005; 10(2): 139 – 144 ISSN 1354-8506 print/ISSN 1465-3966 online # 2005 Taylor & Francis Group Ltd DOI: 10.1080/13548500412331334172
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Evaluations using quantitative measures describe changes on constructs such as anxiety and depression. While these outcomes are of clinical importance, they provide no information on patients’ perceptions of the group experience. Qualitative evaluations can help to identify reasons why patients choose to participate in groups, and aspects of the experience that they perceive to be most beneficial (Bottomley, 1998; MacCormack et al.,
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grouptherapy_cancer - Psychology Health Medicine May 2005...

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