Effects of short-term existential group therapy for breast Cancer patients

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Abstract

Objectives: Cancer patients who suffer from existential difficulties, including fear of death, isolation, or loss of human relationships, try to accept these fears by exploring the meaning of their life. In particular, early psychological intervention for patients prevents them from psychosocial maladjustment afterwards. Therefore, we have developed the Short-term Existential Group Therapy Program (Short-term EGP) for cancer patients, focusing on relief of existential or spiritual suffering and/or pain. This study aims to statistically evaluate the effects of this program on breast cancer patients within the first year after cancer diagnosis. Methods: Thirty-one patients completed our research program. A ninety-minute therapeutic group session was held once a week for 5 weeks. We performed the above assessments three times: just before and after the intervention, as well as a month after the end of intervention. Outcome assessment included measures of spiritual well-being (SELT-M), Mental Adjustment to Cancer (MAC) and Profile of Mood States (POMS). Results: The SELT-M “Overall QOL” scores were significantly increased after intervention, and these scores were maintained a month after intervention, particularly in those with high MAC “Hopelessness” scores. Subscales of the SELT-M scores were significantly increased after intervention, and these scores were maintained up to a month after intervention. Conclusion: Short-term EGP intervention could be effective in helping patients relieve their existential distress. Some of the treatment effects were maintained a month after the end of the intervention. In addition, Short-term EGP could be particularly effective for those patients who feel hopelessness after cancer diagnosis. Trial registration: Retrospectively registered. University Hospital Medical Information Network (UMIN CTR) UMIN000040651. Registered June 4, 2020.

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APA

Nakamura, C., & Kawase, M. (2021). Effects of short-term existential group therapy for breast Cancer patients. BioPsychoSocial Medicine, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13030-021-00225-y

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