chapter  Six
28 Pages

Complementary cancer care

ByLawrence Goldie, Jane Desmarais

The diagnosis of cancer, conceived of as incurable, is commonly perceived as a death sentence, and it produces a tremendous trauma in the individual sufferer. It is so traumatic to be diagnosed with cancer that it is no surprise that sufferers can become depressed, despairing, even suicidal, and increasingly, physicians are being urged to think about the psychological impact of the disease. The cancer patient can easily become a stereotype in the eyes of those who care for him. A psychotherapeutic approach, by contrast, refuses to categorise patients in this way and procedures involve adaptation to rather than classification of the individual. The psychotherapeutic approach, in contrast, sees a patient as a unique personality whom it does not attempt to classify. The patient has an idiosyncratic view of the world, and by listening, the therapist is given an entree to this world view. The psychotherapeutic process should be attentive to both dramatic and subtle shifts in perspective.