Cancer Support Services
Clinical Psychology for Cancer Patients
The aim of this service is to promote psychological well-being and provide emotional support for people who have been diagnosed with cancer.
The service is provided by a Consultant Clinical Psychologist who is part of the Clinical Health Psychology Team based at the Ulster Hospital.
A Clinical Psychologist is someone who is specifically trained and professionally qualified to help people with a range of difficulties, both emotional and behavioural. They help people of all ages and backgrounds. A Clinical Psychologist is not a medically trained doctor and does not prescribe medication.
For people living with an illness like cancer, it is well recognised that they may also experience emotional problems such as an increase in anxiety, feelings of fear, panic or helplessness. Talking to a Clinical Psychologist can help a person understand and make sense of these feelings and find new ways of coping.
Going to see a Clinical Psychologist does not mean that a person is mentally ill or that the problems are ‘all in their head’. Some of the reasons why someone may wish to use this service include:
- To help them come to terms with changes that may occur in their life after a diagnosis of cancer
- If the normal reactions to a cancer diagnosis such as anxiety or fear become overwhelming
- If they are experiencing psychological or emotional distress connected to worries about treatment, physical symptoms, body image or their future health
- To help them adjust back to everyday life and the recovery process at the end of treatment
Referrals to this service can only be made by a patients Consultant, GP or a health care professional on their cancer care team in the South Eastern Trust.
The South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust also provides a counselling service for anyone who has a cancer diagnosis or is a family member or carer. Dr Karen Doherty is the Cancer Focus NI Counsellor and is part of the Community Palliative Care Team based in Ards Hospital and Lagan Valley Hospital.
The counselling allows space to talk, explore issues and anxieties allowing time to clarify your thought, consider options and make your own decisions.
Cancer Focus NI also offers other services to support patients & families such as Art Therapy, creative writing and family support service, beauty for life, to find out more the website www.cancerfocusni.org