The first phase of liaison psychiatry was concerned with establishing the need for psychological care in physical health settings and research demonstrated the level of psychological morbidity in medical patients. The second phase has focused on the evaluation of treatments for emotional disorders and cognitive behaviour therapy has been one of the most frequently researched interventions in people with cancer. There is good evidence for its efficacy, particularly when there are significant levels of anxiety and depression. In the past, emphasis on improved screening has helped oncology professionals to identify psychological distress better, but they often feel helpless about what to do next. The limited availability of trained therapists has led to various approaches to the dissemination of psychological therapy skills to health care workers. There have been two main strands to this: in the first approach basic communication or intervention skills are taught that can be used in generic practice, while in the second oncology professionals are taught simple focussed methods to address specific symptoms such as fatigue. These models of dissemination have their own strengths and weakness as research and training methods. This presentation will review the progress of psycho-oncology interventions and share some of the UK experience research and practice in dissemination of these skills.
Stirling as been identified as the Wiley-Blackwell speaker - he will be submitting a paper to the Wiley-Blackwell journal Psycho-Oncology based on this lecture.