Helping Cancer Patients Cope: A Problem-Solving Approach
Good problem-solving skills are what allow people to flourish and succeed in coping with major life challenges such as cancer. These skills are also the hallmarks of optimism, courage, and self-confidence. Working with cancer patients for over 20 years, Nezu and his co-authors have crafted a time-limited program to teach patients problem-solving skills. This model has been empirically shown to relieve suffering and aid cancer patients in constructing effective plans for dealing with the physical, financial, social, and spiritual challenges of cancer.
The volume outlines a 10-session program that can be adapted to group, family, and individual settings. Throughout, the authors provide numerous case examples, transcripts from sessions, and sample introductions that show how to teach specific skills, such as problem formulation, decision making, and solution implementation. Also included are homework assignments and handouts that will help patients integrate their problem-solving skills beyond therapy. This model helps to diminish patients' sense of helplessness and despair and instills a sense of control and hope.
This book will be a helpful adjunct to ongoing treatment groups or in individual therapy for psychologists, psychiatrists, nurse specialists, counselors, and social workers.
List of Tables, Figures, and Exhibits
I. The Nature of Cancer and Coping
- Cancer and Its Consequences
- A Problem-Solving Conceptualization of Coping: Theory, Research, and Relevance to Cancer
II. An Overview of Training
- Problem-Solving Therapy for Cancer Patients: Overview, Process, and Related Clinical Issues
- Critical Elements of Training
III. Problem-Solving Coping Skills Training
- Problem Orientation
- Problem Definition and Formulation
- Generation of Alternatives
- Decision Making
- Solution Implementation and Verification
- Practice, Practice, Practice
IV. Adaptation of Problem-Solving Therapy for Caregiver Training
- Problem-Solving Education for Family Caregivers of Cancer Patients
About the Authors
Arthur M. Nezu, PhD, is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at Allegheny University of the Health Sciences in Philadelphia, where he also serves as Senior Associate Dean for Research, Associate Director of the Center for Mind/Body Studies, and Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) and Public Health.
He is a Fellow of APA, the American Psychological Society, the American Association of Applied and Prevention Psychology, and the Society for Behavioral Medicine. He serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals, including the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, and is currently editor of The Behavior Therapist. He has over 100 publications on a variety of health and mental health topics, and his writings have been translated into Japanese, Italian, French, Danish, and Spanish.
He is President-Elect of the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy. His research in psycho-oncology has been supported by the National Cancer Institute, including Project Genesis.
Christine Maguth Nezu, PhD, is currently Associate Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology and Medicine (Medical Oncology), as well as the Director of the Center for Mind/Body Studies at Allegheny University of the Health Sciences, where until recently she also served as Associate Provost for Research and Scientific Integrity Officer.
She has coauthored more than 50 research publications concerning behavioral medicine, aggressive and violent behavior, clinical decision making, psychopathology, and developmental disabilities. She served as co-principal investigator for several federally-funded research projects, including Project Genesis, that support the efficacy of problem-solving therapy for the treatment of psychological and emotional distress in cancer patients. She is currently an associate editor for The Behavior Therapist, serves on the editorial boards of Cognitive and Behavioral Practice and Holistic Nursing, and is a frequent grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health.
Stephanie H. Friedman recently received her PhD in clinical psychology from Allegheny University of the Health Sciences, having completed an internship in clinical psychology at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
During her graduate studies, she worked extensively on numerous research and clinical projects in psychosocial oncology, including serving as Coordinator of Project Genesis for 2 years. In addition, she is the principal author of a measure of caregivers' knowledge about cancer.
On the basis of her achievements in graduate school, she was elected to Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities. She recently began a postdoctoral fellowship in research and health psychology at Allegheny University of the Health Sciences.
Shirley Faddis received her Masters Degree in Nursing in 1986 from the University of Tennessee, and has been an oncology nurse and instructor for the past 18 years. Currently, she is Director of Oncology at Hahnemann Hospital of the Allegheny University of the Health Sciences and an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Nursing. In her clinical role, she manages several inpatient and outpatient oncology service units, including a bone marrow transplant program.
Peter S. Houts, PhD, is Professor of Behavioral Sciences and Medicine at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey, PA. He received his doctorate in social psychology from the University of Michigan, after which he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford Medical School. In 1967, he moved to the newly founded Penn State College of Medicine, where he was on the faculty for 31 years until his very recent retirement.
During his tenure at Penn State, he has authored over 50 articles in professional journals and two books. In addition, he has edited five books including the Home Care Guide series designed to support problem solving by family members caring for ill persons at home. His research has included studies of group therapy, rehabilitation of mentally handicapped persons, the effects of the Three Mile Island crisis on people living in the vicinity of the reactor, medical education, and the impact of illness, especially cancer, on patients and their families.