Psychologist Specialty Field: Cancer Psychologist
Career Options in Psychology ,Psychology Specialized Fields: School Psychologist »We’ve promised to cover specialized fields of psychology to help you decide which field is the right option for you. Psychologists can work in a number of different environments as well as industries.Cancer Psychologist
One specialized niche in psychology is that of a cancer psychologist.
A cancer psychologist takes the knowledge and education they have in the field and applies it toward the patients who are dealing with often terminal illness, as well as with the direct family members of the individual. The level of care and therapy necessary will vary greatly from family to family and patient to patient. This specialized field can be very demanding and needs the right type of psychologist who is dedicated to this particular niche.What Situations will a Cancer Psychologist Deal With?
As mentioned, the level of psychiatric care will vary from situation to situation, but some of the things a cancer psychologist can expect to face include the following:
- Dealing directly with the cancer patient regarding their mental and emotional state surrounding the diagnosis, the possible outcome of surgery or different types of therapy.
- Dealing with the cancer patient regarding stress surrounding the side effects of certain treatments and helping them to address and overcome their concerns, fears, and ability to cope with the treatment.
- Dealing with the cancer patient in regards to future plans, family concerns, relationships, and challenges that may be unique to their particular situation.
- Dealing with the family members involved with the patient and their mental state and emotions. This may involve young children, teenagers, spouses, or parents of the cancer patient, which all have different and very complex relationship ties. The family members will have their own set of fears, stress, grief, and even guilt to deal with. The cancer psychologist will be responsible to counsel all involved.
The cancer psychologist must also be up to date, through continuing education, on all the types of cancer treatments currently in use. This includes new medications, side effects, and helping the cancer patient make choices regarding certain types of treatment.
The psychologist may or may not also be directly involved with DNR decisions, end of life choices, and assisting with emotional stress involving these major end of life decisions, should it become necessary.
The cancer psychologist may need to be available to families and patients on a 24 hour, on call basis, especially during critical times, such as the beginning of treatment or surgery.
Most cancer patients do not have a psychological disorder or mental illness, so the cancer psychologist comes into the situation from a medical standpoint at first. Once the psychologist assesses the condition by consulting with physicians and specialists, the psychologist then directly assesses the patient’s ability to cope and determines their level of need.
Cancer can cause problems such as deep anxiety, depression, seemingly bipolar behavior, marriage and family issues, and more. For example, a spouse or child may be dealing with feelings of neglect or even guilt for trying to be happy and move on with their lives. The cancer psychologist will be ready and equipped to deal with and sort out these types of issues with the families as well as the patients.
Most current cancer psychologists will attest to the fact that, more than anything, patients dealing with cancer need a sounding board in order to cope with their current illness.Not all cancer patients have the diagnosis of death, so, as stated, each case is different. If you have the desire and the skills to help families and patients through extremely trying times such as this, a cancer psychologist may be the right choice for you.