Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Table of Contents 
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 230-231

Handbook of Psychotherapy in Cancer Care

Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India

Date of Web Publication8-Jan-2013

Correspondence Address:
Santosh K Chaturvedi
Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Chaturvedi SK. Handbook of Psychotherapy in Cancer Care. Indian J Palliat Care 2012;18:230-1

How to cite this URL:
Chaturvedi SK. Handbook of Psychotherapy in Cancer Care. Indian J Palliat Care [serial online] 2012 [cited 2021 Jun 16];18:230-1. Available from:

Authors: Maggie Watson & David Kissane
Publisher: Wiley Blackwell Publishers, Chichester, UK
Year: 2011
Pages: 266
Price: Rs. 3050.00

This book has been developed as a part of International Psycho-Oncology Society's educational strategy. This has been edited by two very experienced and learned professionals, one a clinical psychologist and the other a psychiatrist, both consultants and teachers, who have been in the field of psycho-oncology more than a couple of decades. The book is of specific interest for those involved in cancer care and palliative care.

The handbook is divided into four sections - Individual models of therapy, Group models of therapy, Couple and family therapies, and Therapies across the life cycle. The section on individual models deals with the common and popular ones like the supportive psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT), and others like the mindfulness interventions and relaxation therapies. It also has important discussions on dignity therapy which is useful to deal with existential and psychosocial distress in the terminally ill. Dignity therapy has an important role in palliative care and for dying patients.

The section on Group models of therapy has described the commonly used methods like supportive expressive group therapy and short-term psycho-educational interventions. Meaning-centered group psychotherapy is a relatively newer model, which has good usefulness in the palliative care settings and for the terminally ill. The section on couple and family therapies elucidates therapeutic methods which are not commonly discussed or used, though these are important. Professionals managing cancer prefer not to talk about issues related to intimacy, marital, sexual, and couple issues, though these are significant for the individual and the couple and have a major impact on their quality of life. The chapter on focused family therapy in palliative care and bereavement is another chapter which would definitely interest professionals in palliative care settings. Grief and bereavement are common and difficult situations, and this chapter gives adequate information on therapy following bereavements.

The last section discusses therapies across different stages of life, like for children and adolescents, elderly, parents, and genetic counseling. The last chapter on reconstructing meaning of loss and in bereavement would be appreciated as useful by any professional caring for a cancer patient.

The handbook is rather short as compared to other encyclopedias on psychotherapy. The editors have collected selective themes. All the authors and contributors are well-known professionals in the field of psycho-oncology, including palliative care. The chapters have been divided and subdivided systematically. Case histories, dialogs, and pictures illustrate the descriptions periodically. Tables, figures, and boxes give key information at a glance. Each chapter also discusses the evidence in support of the models of psychotherapies. Good number of references in each chapter indicates that the chapters have been well researched.

The handbook is quite practical, though theory well supports the therapies. It is likely to help in teaching about psychotherapies as well as to practice it. It is a comprehensive resource book for researchers on such therapies. For professionals involved in palliative care, this book has all they would need, and more. The book has a definite western focus, and a chapter or sections on psychotherapies for cancer in other parts of the world would have added to the richness. Some discussion on cultural aspects and cross-cultural adaptations of the therapeutic models would have made the book globally acceptable. Though priced suitably for libraries, it may be a trifle expensive for individuals. It definitely is a book which must be kept in every cancer center and palliative care units, and would be read by physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers and psychiatrists, and palliative care professionals.


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Online since 1st October '05
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