Psycho-oncology (counselling) Service

This Service provides psychological support to adults affected by cancer.

When a person receives a diagnosis of cancer it can be very frightening for both the patient and their families. It is possible to experience a wide range of feelings, some of which can be difficult to deal with, such as low mood, anxiety, feelings of panic, or emotions which patients and their families may find hard to cope with.

How can the Psycho-oncology Service help?

Some people may want to explore their situation as part of their adjustment to a diagnosis of cancer. Others may have greater difficulty coping with their anxiety and how that is impacting on their lives (or the lives of those around them). The psychological distress felt by a patient and their family may relate to the diagnosis itself, the treatment plan, any symptoms encountered, including pain, or problems with body image. These difficulties may require a variety of different approaches to resolve them.

This Service provides a range of psychological and supportive therapies tailored to the needs of patients and their families. The purpose of the service is to enable people to adjust to the change in their lives in the best possible way for them. One to- one, couple and group therapy are provided.

The Psycho-oncology Service also provides a confidential service to staff working with cancer patients as well as training and consultation on the psychological aspects of cancer.

Who provides this Service?

The service is provided by a Clinical Psychologist and an Cancer Focus Northern Ireland Counsellor working within Cancer Services throughout the Northern Trust. These therapists provide the opportunity to talk about difficulties related to a cancer diagnosis and provision of further assessment and treatment of problems where required.

What happens when I contact this Service?

Each individual’s needs will be identified. You will be allocated to a team member depending upon your particular difficulties and the help that you require. Then you will be offered an initial appointment. This may be at our base in Fern House, Antrim Area Hospital or in a locality closer to your home.

Initial appointments can last between one and one and a half hours but standard sessions are one hour. A team member will help you to identify the particular type of help you require.

How do I contact this Service?

You may refer yourself to the Service or, alternatively, any hospital or community based medical professional, including GPs, Nurse Specialists and Hospital Consultants can refer you.



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