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Enhancing Cancer CareComplementary therapy and support$
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Jennifer Barraclough

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199297559

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297559.001.0001

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Counselling: Distress, Transitions, and Relationships

Counselling: Distress, Transitions, and Relationships

Chapter:
(p.127) Chapter 12 Counselling: Distress, Transitions, and Relationships
Source:
Enhancing Cancer Care
Author(s):

James Brennan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297559.003.0012

Healthcare policy is increasingly regarding cancer as a chronic illness and recognising that unprecedented numbers of people are living with the disease and all the psychological distress associated with it. ‘Supportive care’ encompasses diverse challenges — from pain control and psychological and social care through to spiritual support. Central to all professional attempts to ameliorate suffering is the therapeutic relationship with the client or patient, most explicitly used in the fields of counselling and psychotherapy. Both cancer patients and those close to them are in transition, in the sense that their core assumptions about the world have been violated or discredited, and with time they will feel compelled to adjust them. These core assumptions are summarised under five headings: life trajectory, attachments, control and self-worth, the body, and existential-spiritual. The most powerful active ingredient in counselling is the client–counsellor relationship. If counsellors are able to observe how the client relates to them (the transference), they may gain valuable insights into the clients' attachment style and their other relationships.

Keywords:   cancer, counselling, psychotherapy, transition, client-counsellor relationship, transference, cancer patients, attachments, life trajectory, self-worth

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