An estimated 35 to 45% of cancer patients suffer from psychological distress, yet they have very limited access to specialized psychosocial oncology support services. It is important to make effective psychosocial care more accessible to those who need it.
This is the focus of study of the Groupe de recherche en intervention psychologique et sociale (Psychological and Social Intervention Research Group) directed by Charles M. Morin from Université Laval. One of the group's members, Josée Savard, published a book in March 2010 entitled Faire face au cancer avec la pensée réaliste. This book, which is intended for cancer patients and their families, offers concrete strategies based on the principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy, the most empirically-supported approach for treating the psychological symptoms associated with cancer (depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia).
One of the main consequences of the book is to disprove two widespread beliefs that can have a negative effect on patients: that stress or other psychological factors can cause cancer and influence its progression, and that the mental attitude of the patient has a determining influence on the evolution of the disease. These beliefs have very little scientific basis and create feelings of guilt and anxiety in the patient. Conversely, the cognitive-behavioural therapy presented by the author-researcher aims at leading the patient to a state of realistic optimism in the face of his or her situation.
In addition to receiving significant media coverage for the book, Josée Savard has presented numerous conferences for patients and health care professionals. Many of the latter have integrated the principles explained in the book into their professional practice and recommend the book to their patients. An English translation is underway and will soon be published in the rest of Canada and the United States.
Groupe de recherche en intervention psychologique et sociale
Charles M. Morin, Université Laval
- Jean-Marie Boisvert, Université Laval
- Robert Ladouceur, Université Laval
- Michel Loranger, Université Laval
- Michel Pépin, Université Laval
- Martin D. Provencher, Université Laval
- Josée Savard, Université Laval