City Research Online

Counselling psychology and cancer

Jones, P. (2009). Counselling psychology and cancer. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


Psychologists are increasingly being employed within cancer and palliative care settings in order to provide specialist psychological services for patients and families. Clinical nurse specialists working in these settings are considered largely responsible for assessing patients and carers for psychological distress. To date no research exists exploring the relationship between these two professional groups and only minimal research exists examining how nurses undertake psychological assessments. Considering the significant psychological distress experienced by those with cancer both these areas are worthy of investigation. This qualitative study investigates what understanding and expectations cancer and palliative care clinical nurse specialists have of cancer psychologists. It also investigates how these nurses assess patients and carers for distress. Ten clinical nurse specialists working in an acute NHS hospital were individually interviewed using a semi-structured interview format. The resulting data were systematically analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis leading to the identification of twelve master themes. The findings suggest that despite a generally good understanding about the role played by psychologists, clinical nurse specialists would welcome greater openness and transparency. The findings also indicate that although clinical nurse specialists are undertaking psychological assessments no standardised process to do this is in place. These nurses also report a large emotional burden associated with their roles. On the basis of these findings a number of recommendations have been made. These include ideas for improving the understanding of the role played by psychology in cancer care, suggestions for formalising some aspects of clinical nurse specialist training, ways of creating a more standardised assessment process amongst clinical nurse specialists and finally strategies for reducing the emotional burden on these nurses.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
Text - Accepted Version
Download (33MB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login