A comparison of adjuvant psychological therapy and supportive counselling in patients with cancer

Psychooncology. 1998 May-Jun;7(3):218-28. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1611(199805/06)7:3<218::AID-PON308>3.0.CO;2-D.


This study compared the effectiveness of two psychological treatments in a group of 57 patients with various types of cancer attending the Royal Marsden Hospital. Patients referred for psychiatric assessment who met criteria for an abnormal adjustment reaction were randomly allocated to either 8 weeks of Adjuvant Psychological Therapy (APT), a problem-focused, cognitive behavioural treatment programme, or 8 weeks of a comparison treatment of supportive counselling. At 8 weeks from the baseline assessment, APT had produced a significantly greater change than the counselling intervention on fighting spirit, helplessness, coping with cancer, anxiety, and self-defined problems. At 4 months from baseline, APT had produced a significantly greater change than counselling on fighting spirit, coping with cancer, anxiety and self defined problems. It is concluded that APT produces greater change in anxiety, adjustment to cancer and use of coping strategies than a non-directive, supportive intervention over an 8 week period of treatment. This difference persists at follow up 4 months after baseline assessment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Attitude to Health
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / standards*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Counseling / standards
  • Depression / therapy
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Person-Centered Psychotherapy / standards
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome