Group support allows patients to address cancer-related concerns while also receiving emotional support from others with similar experiences. Such social support is known to act as a buffer against the negative effects of stress. Many types of psychosocial group interventions are available to cancer patients and their families, so it is important to first draw distinctions between them and what they aim to offer. Although groups vary in terms of the specific objectives that are emphasised, in this context they all share the overall goal of helping patients to cope more effectively with the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual sequelae of cancer and its treatment. This chapter looks at three types of psychosocial group intervention, namely, psychoeducational groups, psychotherapy groups, and community support groups. The tasks of the group leader include preparing patients for group membership, culture building, and maintaining focus on the cancer. Disruptions to the group range from difficult members to disease progression and loss of a group member. Challenges to the group process include transference/countertransference.
Keywords: group support, social support, psychosocial group interventions, cancer patients, psychoeducational groups, psychotherapy groups, community support groups, culture building, transference, countertransference
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