'Dividing the desolation': Clients views on the benefits of a cancer counselling service

Kristine L.S.P. McVea, William C. Minier, Jodi E. Johnson Palensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This paper describes clients' accounts of the benefits they derived from a short course of cancer counselling provided within a humanist framework. Three hundred and two clients who had attended at least one session of a short course of cancer counselling received an evaluation form, which incorporated both fixed-choice and open-ended questions. One hundred and forty two (47%) clients returned evaluation forms; those who had attended more sessions were significantly more likely to do so. Quantitative data were analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows and qualitative data using a thematic approach. Almost all clients indicated that they felt they had benefited from counselling. Analysis of the open-ended questions identified nine main benefits of counselling and four key avenues or processes through which clients derived these benefits. Overall, counselling was seen as helping them to work through powerful thoughts and feelings and so to come to terms with cancer and to regain a sense of control in their lives. The benefits of a short course of counselling which clients identified reflect the aims of humanistic counselling which are not well captured by psychiatric assessments or most standard research instruments. In evaluating cancer counselling services, assessments which include these client-defined outcomes may provide a more sensitive way of gauging the value of counselling to a non-clinic population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-136
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of ''Dividing the desolation': Clients views on the benefits of a cancer counselling service'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this