Social work support in settings of crisis
A diagnosis of cancer as a lived experience is universally stressful. Improvements in anti-cancer treatments and early detection programmes have meant that, cancer is a chronic illness for many. But the initial expectation for most patients is that cancer is life threatening. As a result, this disease provokes fear in many areas of patient's lives, such as fear of uncontrolled pain, isolation, loss of control and loss of self. Social work has a long history of providing support to cancer patients and their families. A therapeutic intervention cannot occur without the development of a relationship of understanding between the clinician and the client. Such a relationship, often formed in times of stress and with short time-lines, requires the use of effective and empathic communication and relational skills. This chapter focuses on the social work role during the crisis periods of the cancer experience. It describes a model that takes into account three broad aspects of a case: context, situation and meaning.
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