Subject 563-802 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 25.000
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 5 hours of lectures per week for 12 week, 9.5 hours non-contact study time per week for 12 weeks, one compulsory intensive weekend workshop per year of 20 hours. (Total hours per semester: 194 hours)
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Nil
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:

Subject Overview:

Psycho-Oncology covers the psychological and social processes present in patients with cancer and their families. The subject is divided into 4 units:

  1. General psycho-oncology;
  2. Communication;
  3. Psychiatric disorders in oncology;
  4. Bereavement with emphasis on grief and its management.

The subject combines seminar discussion led by experts on the topic under review, comprehensive reading materials reviewing the relevant literature and experiential communication skill development exercises, including role plays with simulated patients.

Assessment: 25%: Clinical Case Report about a patient and family (or significant others) where major psychosocial issues have been present (Max: 3,500 words) - Due week 5; 25%: Clinical assessment of communication skills in dealing with a designated situation being experienced by a (simulated) patient - To be conducted at the residential weekend; 50%: Written Assignments (Total: 5,500 words) - Due weeks 10 and/or 12. Hurdle Requirement (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory): The communication skills component of the assessment is considered to be a crucial aspect of the subject and therefore has been designated a hurdle. Communication skills and practical skills and applications will be developed and internally assessed at the intensive weekend workshop through role plays and practical exercises.
Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts: Recommended Reading Materials: A course outline will be provided.

Recommended texts:

  • Holland, J.C. (ed) (1998). Psycho-Oncology. Oxford University Press. Oxford;
  • Holland JC, Lewis S. (2001). T he Human Side of Cancer. Quill, New York;
  • Breitbart W, Holland J. (1992) Psychiatric Aspects of Symptom Management in Cancer Patients. American Psychiatric Association;
  • Kissane D W, Bloch S. (2002) Family Focused Grief Therapy. Open University Press, Buckingham.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

This subject is designed to enable students to:

  • describe the process of psychosocial adaptation to stressors and losses for all age groups, at all stages of the illness;
  • recognise the common psychiatric disorders that occur in oncology and palliative care and describe the appropriate treatment options;
  • describe the outcomes generated by a variety of communication styles and be able to demonstrate effective communication skills in stressful settings;
  • demonstrate knowledge of the systemic principles present in families, multi-disciplinary teams and communities;
  • demonstrate critical thinking in discerning myths from science in considering psychosocial aspects of causation and management;
  • be knowledgeable about issues relating to dying, grief and bereavement.

On completion of the subject, students will be able to:

  • understand the process of psychosocial adaptation to stressors across all ages, be able to recognise maladaptive adjustment (including psychiatric disorders) and be skilled in treatment;
  • demonstrate effective communication skills in stressful settings;
  • understand systemic principles present in families, multidisciplinary teams and communities;
  • understand broad principles of thanatology and bereavement with an emphasis on the existential aspects of grief and its supportive management.

Related Course(s): Graduate Certificate in Psycho-Oncology
Graduate Diploma in Psycho-Oncology

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