Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy

Clinical Section

A Support Group for Breast Cancer Patients: Development of a Cognitive-Behavioural Approach

Maggie Watsona1, Debbie Fenlona1, Gillian McVeya1 and Maria Fernandez-Marcosa2

a1 Royal Marsden NHS Trust and Institute of Cancer Research

a2 University of Madrid


Cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety and depression in cancer patients when provided within the context of individual sessions. We describe the application of a cognitive behavioural model to a group therapy context. This represents a novel approach to the psychological treatment of cancer patients. Fourteen breast cancer patients attending the Royal Marsden Hospital were included in an assessment of treatment outcome pre-and post-group therapy. Outcome was assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) Scale and a study-specific visual analog measure relating to perceived efficacy of the therapeutic techniques. Rationale and organization of group therapy is described along with the preliminary pilot study results.


Reprint requests to M. Watson, Psychological Medicine, Royal Marsden NHS Trust, Downs Road, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5P6, UK.