To help patients cope with the psychological
impact of cancer, the Joan Karnell Cancer Center
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
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
Psychological services include:
- individual therapy
- family sessions
- therapy with young children (of cancer patients)
- relaxation training
- 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
- How do you handle losses associated with
- 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.