Clinical psychologists are trained to doctoral level in psychology (the science of mind and behaviour) and apply their knowledge to an understanding of the problems that affect people from infancy to old age. We are not medical doctors and view conditions such as anxiety from a biological, psychological and social perspective in order to understand them fully.
At the Christie the psychologist offers a range of therapies including cognitive behavioural therapy, (CBT) and has particular expertise in the treatment of more complex cases and trauma, especially where psychological difficulties are preventing people from reclaiming their life after cancer.
The psychologist assesses the underlying causes of complex difficulties in terms of a person’s psycho-social history including impact of other negative life events. This identifies any deeply held beliefs a person has developed - about their selves, other people, relationships and the world around them. Understanding how you perceive your world helps us to consider how deeply held beliefs impact on your behaviour now and influence your reaction to a diagnosis of cancer, its consequences and its challenges.
In the Psycho-oncology setting we are particularly interested in pre-cancer adverse experiences and how they interact with your current problems, beliefs you have about health/wellbeing and illness, adverse events or reactions during diagnosis and treatment, and how these impact on your resilience and current coping strategies.
Whilst a psychological intervention cannot take away the adversity that comes with the consequences of a cancer diagnosis, its main aim is to identify and develop helpful resources and strategies for a better quality of life, in line with your personal values.