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Healthcare (Basel). 2016 Aug 1;4(3). pii: E48. doi: 10.3390/healthcare4030048.

Illustrating the Multi-Faceted Dimensions of Group Therapy and Support for Cancer Patients.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, 401 Quarry Rd., Stanford, CA 94305, USA. jgieseda@ucalgary.ca.
2
Department of Oncology, University of Calgary, 2202 2nd St. S.W., Calgary, AB T2S 3C1, Canada. jgieseda@ucalgary.ca.
3
Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, 2202 2nd St. S.W., Calgary, AB T2S 3C1, Canada. jgieseda@ucalgary.ca.
4
Department of Oncology, University of Calgary, 2202 2nd St. S.W., Calgary, AB T2S 3C1, Canada. ynbrande@ucalgary.ca.
5
Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, 2202 2nd St. S.W., Calgary, AB T2S 3C1, Canada. ynbrande@ucalgary.ca.
6
California Pacific Medical Center, Breast Health Center, 3698 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA. kronenc47@gmail.com.
7
The Wellness Community/Cancer Support Community, Research & Training Institute, Cancer Support Community, 4100 Chamounix Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19131, USA. mitch@cancersupportcommunity.org.
8
Veterans Administration Medical Center Martinez, 150 Muir Rd., Martinez, CA 94553, USA. Matthew.Cordova@va.gov.
9
Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, Palo Alto University, 1791 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304-1337, USA. Matthew.Cordova@va.gov.
10
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, 401 Quarry Rd., Stanford, CA 94305, USA. stwirbutt@comcast.net.
11
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, 401 Quarry Rd., Stanford, CA 94305, USA. vickieychang@gmail.com.
12
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, 401 Quarry Rd., Stanford, CA 94305, USA. hckhome@pacbell.net.
13
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, 401 Quarry Rd., Stanford, CA 94305, USA. dspiegel@stanford.edu.

Abstract

In cancer support groups, choice of therapy model, leadership style, and format can impact patients' experiences and outcomes. Methodologies that illustrate the complexity of patients' group experiences might aid in choosing group style, or testing therapeutic mechanisms. We used this naturalistic study as a beginning step to explore methods for comparing cancer group contexts by first modifying a group-experience survey to be cancer-specific (Group Experience Questionnaire (GEQ)). Hypothesizing that therapist-led (TL) would differ from non-therapist-led (NTL), we explored the GEQ's multiple dimensions. A total of 292 patients attending three types of groups completed it: 2 TL groups differing in therapy style ((1) Supportive-Expressive (SET); (2) The Wellness Community (TWC/CSC)); (3) a NTL group. Participants rated the importance of "Expressing True Feelings" and "Discussing Sexual Concerns" higher in TL than NTL groups and "Discussing Sexual Concerns" higher in SET than other groups. They rated "Developing a New Attitude" higher in TWC/CSC compared to NTL. In addition, we depict the constellation of group qualities using radar-charts to assist visualization. These charts facilitate a quick look at a therapy model's strengths and weaknesses. Using a measure like the GEQ and this visualization technique could enable health-service decision making about choice of therapy model to offer.

KEYWORDS:

cancer; community; emotional expression; psychotherapy process; support groups

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