Meaning-Centered Group Psychotherapy for Patients with Advanced CancerA Treatment Manual

Meaning-Centered Group Psychotherapy for Patients with Advanced CancerA Treatment Manual

William S. Breitbart and Shannon R. Poppito

Print publication date: Aug 2014

ISBN: 9780199837250

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Abstract

The importance of spiritual well-being and the role of "meaning" in moderating depression, hopelessness and desire for death in terminally-ill cancer and AIDS patients has been well-supported by research, and has led many palliative clinicians to focus on the development of non-pharmacologic interventions that can help their patients address these issues. Individual Meaning-Centered Group Psychotherapy (IMCP), an intervention developed and rigorously tested by the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, is a seven-week program based around the work of Viktor Frankl, and which utilizes a mixture of didactics, discussion and experiential exercises that focus around particular themes related to meaning and advanced cancer. Patients are assigned readings and homework that are specific to each session's theme and which are utilized in each session. While the focus of each session is on issues of meaning and purpose in life in the face of advanced cancer and a limited prognosis, elements of support and expression of emotion are inevitable in the context of each group session.