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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2009 - 2010

Module Title Interventions in Psycho-oncology
Module Code NS539
School School of Nursing and Human Sciences

Online Module Resources

Level 1 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Module Aims
  • For students to comprehend the rational for, aims of and demonstrate in-depth knowledge and skills in the application of (a) specific psychosocial interventions available as psychodynamic/ psychoeducative/ supportive care for the person with cancer at any stage of the cancer trajectory (b) psychoeducative/ supportive care of the person’s spouse, partner and/or family members; (c) psychiatric/ psychopharmacological interventions appropriate to cancer care.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module and following a period of personal study, the student will be able to:

  • demonstrate detailed understanding of, rational for and differentiate aims and methods of psychodynamic and cognitive behavioural therapies and counselling for individuals and groups, in the clinical and community setting, affected by the experience of cancer and relate these aims and methods to patient/service user assessment and goals in patient/service user health outcomes as well as levels of interventions appropriate and desirable in a range of situations, together with an understanding of relevant professional boundaries and their management
  • demonstrate detailed understanding and skills related to assessment relevant to pain management and referral for symptom alleviation and control and psychiatric and psychopharmcological interventions aimed at alleviating depression, anxiety and delirium for patients with cancer
  • critically analyse and demonstrate detailed understanding of a range of specific individual and group psycho-educative, health promotion relevant to health behaviours, promoting and sustaining behaviour change appropriate to cancer prevention CT and ‘mind-body’ interventions as part of community psycho-oncology service delivery aimed at (a) improving patient coping, health outcomes, relationships and family dynamics (b) patient education and the promotion of self regulation and behaviour /lifestyle change (c) psychosocial support interventions for family/ close others
  • critically analyse and demonstrate awareness of, rational for, and potential benefits and limitations of delivering supportive and psycho-educative services utilizing appropriate models of care delivery in the community and videotechnology for populations living in remote regions who cannot access psycho-oncology services

Indicative Time Allowances
Lectures 24
Tutorials 14
Laboratories 40
Independent Learning Time 72

Total 150
Assume that a 10 credit module load represents approximately 150 hours' work, which includes all teaching, in-course assignments, laboratory work or other specialised training and an estimated private learning time associated with the module.

Indicative Syllabus
  • Communication, assessment and referral knowledge, skills and protocol in the clinical and community setting relevant for psychodynamic and (adjuvant) cognitive behaviour therapy, and other psychosocial support and counselling interventions for the person with cancer/family dynamics/supportive interventions for close others/family/carers
  • Communication, assessment and referral knowledge, skills and protocol in the clinical and community setting relevant for pain and symptom management/psychiatric/psychopharmacological interventions for patients with cancer/close others/family/carers
  • Models and dynamics of stress/distress/PTSD (especially the stress and relaxation responses) and coping and the use of mind body complementary therapies to enhance coping and maximize quality of life for patients with cancer and their family/close others/carers - for example and not exclusively: breathing, meditation, mindfulness, autogenic training; relevant safety issues, policies and standards; conseqences of misdiagnosis; the work of the psycho-oncologist and ways in which the psycho-oncologist and his/her work are perceived
  • Patient education interventions related to cancer prevention, health promotion and behaviour change self care, self efficacy, skills development, problem solving, information access and acquisition, treatment adherence and self regulation
  • Patient and partner issues related to sexuality, body image, intimacy, relationships, enhancing family dynamics
  • Modes of evaluation of effectiveness and quality of interventions; safety issues, policies and standards
  • Social cognition, psychological and health promotion theories relevant to patient self regulation and care, behaviour change and cancer prevention
  • Models of health delivery in the community; service limitations and problems with implications for staff burnoput
  • Computer and videotechnology skills relevant to setting up distance support service provision
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Indicative Reading List

Essential Reading

  • Baum, A (2001) Psychosocial Interventions for Cancer Washington: APA
  • Brennan, J (2004) Cancer in Context: a Practical Guide for Supportive Care. New York: Oxford University Press
  • Burton, M. & Watson, M (1998). Counselling People with Cancer. Chichester: Wiley
  • Cassileth, BR et al (2005) PDQ Integrative Oncology Complementary Therapies in Cancer Care. Hamilton: London
  • Connor, M, Norman, P (2005) Predicting Health Behaviour. Philadelphia: OUP
  • Kissane, DW, Bloch, S (2002) Family Focused Grief Therapy Buckingham; Philadelphia, Pa. Open University Press.
  • Moore,R, Spiegel, D (2004) Cancer, Culture and Communication. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
  • Moorey, S. & Greer, S (2002) Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for People with Cancer. 2nd ed New York: Oxford University Press
  • Nutbeam, D & Bauman, A (2006) Evaluation in a Nutshell. A Practical guide to the evaluation of health promotion programmes Aus: McGraw Hill
  • Rankin-Box, D (Ed.) (2001). The Nurses’ Handbook of Complementary Therapies. 2nd ed Edinburgh: Baillière Tindall.
  • Spiegel D (Ed) (2000) Group Therapy for Cancer Patients: A Research-based Handbook of Psychosocial Care. New York: Basic Books
  • Thiboldeaux, K, Golant, M (2007) The Total Cancer Wellness Guide. Dallas: Benbella.
  • Worden, J (2003) Grief Counselling and Grief Therapy. Handbook for the Mental Health Professional Hove, East Sussex : Brunner-Routledge.

Key Reference Texts:

  • Holland, J.C. (1998) Psycho-Oncology. New York: Oxford University Press
  • Holland, J et al (2006) Quick Reference for Oncology clinicians :The Psychiatric and Psychological Dimensions of Cancer Symptom Management IPOS Press
  • Key reference articles: Psycho-oncology; Int J Psychiatry in Med
  • Hutchinson, SD, Steginga, SK, Dunn J (2006) ‘The Tiered Model of Psychosocial Inteervention in Cancer : A community based Approach’ Psycho-oncology 15 (6) 541-6

Web sites:

NCCN Practice Guidelines in Oncology: IPOS, APOS, IASP, NCI, NCR

Strategy documents:

A Strategy for Cancer Control in Ireland, National Cancer Forum, 2006
Psychosocial and Cancer Support Services, 1999
Development of Services For Symptomatic Breast Disease. Report of the Sub-Group to The National Cancer Forum (2000)
The Women’s Council (2000) Survey of views and perceptions of women who attended symptomatic breast clinics

Relevant articles from journals ( not exclusively )

Oncology Nursing Forum
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management

Recommended Reading

  • Abrahm, J (2005) A physician’s guide to pain and symptom management in cancer patients. Baltimore: John Hopkins UP
  • Baider, L (2000) Cancer and the Family. Chichester: Wiley
  • Ballantyne, J. (2002) The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Pain Management . Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2nd ed
  • Barraclough, J (1999) Cancer and Emotion: A Practical Guide to Psycho-oncology. USA: Wiley
  • Benson, H (2000) The Relaxation Response. New York: HarperTorch
  • Bird, J (2002) Autogenic Training. .Dublin: Newleaf
  • Borysenko, J (1987) Minding the Body, Mending the Mind. New York: Bantam
  • Butler, S (2002) Alcohol, Drugs and Health Promotion in Modern Ireland. Dublin: IPA
  • Devito, J (2008) Human Communication The Basic Course. New York: Addison Wesley Longman
  • Edelman, CL (2005) Health Promotion Throughout the Life Span. UK: Mosby
  • Egan, G. (2002) The Skilled Helper Calif: Brooks Cole
  • Dobson, KS (2001) Handbook of Cognitive Behavioural Therapies 2nd Ed. New York: Guilford.
  • Ernst, E. & Eisenberg D (2001) Complementary and Alternative Medicine. UK: Mosby
  • Feuerstein, M (2007) Handbook of Cancer Survivorship. New York: Springer
  • Germer, CK, Siegel, RD, Fulton, PR (2005) Mindfulness and Psychotherapy. New York: Guilford.
  • Grant, A, et al (2004) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Mental Health Care. London: Sage
  • Hewitt, M & Ganz, P (2007) Implementing Cancer Survivorship Care Planning. National Academic Press
  • Houldin, A (2000) Patients with Cancer: Understanding the Psychological Pain. Philadelphia: Lippincott
  • Holland, JC & Lewis, S (2000) The Human Side of Cancer Living With Hope, Coping With Uncertainty. New York: Harper Collins
  • Holland, J et al (2006) Quick Reference for Oncology Clinicians :The Psychiatric and Psychological Dimensions of Cancer Symptom Management. VA: IPOS Press
  • Holland, J.C. & Rowland, J.H (1991) Handbook of Psycho-Oncology. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Holland, J.C (1998) Psycho-Oncology. New York: Oxford University Press
  • Holland, S (2007) Public Health Ethics. Cambridge: Polity
  • Jacobs, J, Ostroff, J Steinglass, P (1998) Family therapy: A systems approach to cancer care In JC Holland (1998) Psycho-Oncology. New York: Oxford University Press
  • Kabat-Zinn, J (1990) Full Catastrophe Living. New York: Bantam Dell
  • Lerner, M(1994) Choices in healing: Integrating the best of conventional and complementary approaches to cancer. Cambridge: Mit
  • Melzack, R. & Wall, P.D. (1988, 1996) The Challenge of Pain. 2nd ed. London: Penguin.
  • Nutbeam, D, Bauman,A (2006) Evaluation in a Nutshell. Aus: McGraw-Hill
  • Schwarzer, R (1992) Self Efficacy: Thought Control of Action. Washington: Hemisphere
  • Surbone, A. & Zwitter, M (Eds) (1997) Communication with the Cancer Patient: Information and Truth. New York: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.
  • Tolstoy, L (1960) The Death of Ivan IIyich and Other Stories. UK Harmondsworth Penguin
  • Tones, K, Green, J (2004) Health Promotion: Planning and Strategies. London: Sage
  • Turk, D.C. (1996). Biopsychosocial perspectives on chronic pain. In R.J. Gatchel & D.C.Turk (1996). Psychological Approaches to Pain Management: A Practitioner’s Handbook. New York: The Guildford Press
  • Zighelboim, J (2007)To Health ! The New Humanistic Oncology USA. www.booksurge.com
  • White P (2005) Biopsychosocial Medicine: an integrated approach to understanding illness.New York: OUP
Programme or List of Programmes
GPOYGraduate Diploma in Psycho-Oncology