Supportive Care at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center
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Psychological Services

To help patients cope with the psychological impact of cancer, Joan Karnell Supportive Care Services offers psychological support services as an addition to standard medical care. Therapy is conducted primarily by clinical psychology interns and post-doctoral fellows from Pennsylvania Hospital's Department of Psychology. In addition, a staff psychologist is available to meet with patients.

The therapists have an impressive range of training and experience in working with varied populations - adults and children, individuals and families, patients with chronic physical illness, patients with severe mental illness, and patients from differing cultural and ethnic backgrounds. They are capable of providing a range of skills and knowledge to help individuals adjust to a diagnosis of cancer.

Psychological services include:

  • individual therapy
  • family sessions
  • therapy with young children (of cancer patients)
  • relaxation training
  • hypnosis
  • assessment of key problem areas
  • couples therapy
  • group psychotherapy for breast cancer patients
  • hospital visits

Within these services, our therapists have developed relaxation techniques to reduce patients' nausea and vomiting, used hypnosis in post-surgery recovery, helped patients explore and better understand how their past impacts the present and how their hopes for the future shape today.

Our therapists are aware that one's sense of identity, self-understanding and unique personality can get lost in the context of suddenly being diagnosed with cancer. We work to learn about patients beyond the medical diagnosis - to find the person amidst the fears, doubts, and confusion of dealing with cancer.

Questions addressed in therapy include:

  • What are the strengths you call upon to confront cancer on both a physical and emotional level?
  • How can you best understand the reactions of family and friends?
  • How do you communicate your needs to family and friends?
  • How do you handle losses associated with cancer?
  • How do you adjust to life after cancer?

For more information about our professional support services or to schedule an appointment with a psychologist, call 1-800-789-PENN (7366). You can also request an appointment online.


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Need an appointment? Request one online 24 hours/day, 7 days/week or call 800-789-PENN (7366) to speak to a referral counselor.

Related Links
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800-789-PENN (7366)
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Encyclopedia Articles about Cancer




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