Seminar to discuss ways of reducing distress in cancer patients
The seminar, led by Nick Hulbert-Williams of the University of Chester and hosted by the Centre for Applied Social Research (CeASR) at Leeds Beckett, is called ‘Interventions to reduce distress in cancer patients: psychological flexibility and the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy’ and will take place from 15:00-16:30 at Broadcasting Place. Places are free but must be booked at http://actcancer.eventbrite.co.uk.
Distress is commonly reported by cancer survivors, and many psychological methods are available to try to combat this, however the evidence for their benefits is inconsistent.
One such method is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). During the seminar, Nick will give an overview of the concept of ACT and why it is a useful tool for cancer patients, presenting the findings of three pilot studies that he has led.
In the first research study, 130 cancer survivors were recruited (three to 12 months post-diagnosis) and Nick and his team explored statistical associations between psychological flexibility – how a person adapts to changing demands - and a range of commonly-reported outcomes in psychosocial oncology -understanding and treating the social aspects of cancer. They found large and significant correlations between these: higher flexibility correlated with lower anxiety, depression, stress and higher quality of life.
The team secondly implemented a 90-minute ACT-based workshop for cancer survivors; from this, Nick will present data collected during a follow-up focus group of seven workshop attendees. Finally, the third study reports findings from survey and telephone interviews with clinical psychologists working in cancer care on their opinions about the suitability of ACT for this patient population.
Dr Laura Ashley, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Leeds Beckett, commented: “Nick’s seminar will be of interest to anyone who is keen to know more about how psychological interventions can improve patient outcomes and quality of life – in the context of cancer and in relation to other illnesses. This seminar comes just ahead of the annual conference of the British Psychosocial Oncology Society which this year is being hosted here at Leeds Beckett University. During the two-day conference in March, academics and clinicians will present and discuss some of the latest psychosocial cancer research from across the UK and Canada.”
Nick Hulbert-Williams is a Coaching Psychologist and Reader in Psychology at the University of Chester where he directs the Chester Research Unit for the Psychology of Health (CRUPH). Nick has been researching the psychological impact of cancer diagnosis and treatment, and the consequences for both patients and their family members, for the past 10 years.
He is currently leading a project dedicated to developing clinically and cost-effective interventions for cancer patients, focusing mainly on those such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.