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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

Cancer in the Couple: Clinical and Ethical Considerations within the Dyad

by Stacey Hart, PhD 5 CE Credits

Research demonstrates that social support received from partners is of critical importance for patients’ emotional well-being during all phases of the cancer experience. Indeed, existing data suggest that support provided by partners is unique and one of the most powerful psychological predictors of cancer patients’ well-being.  This course provides healthcare professionals with an empirical overview of the data on couples facing cancer, with a focus on relationship dynamics and communication strategies associated with individual- and couple-level psychosocial functioning. Further, the course reviews the empirical evidence for psychological and behavioral interventions to improve couple’s functioning and quality of life in the face of cancer. In addition, the course assists health care professionals to consider the impact of gender for cancer in the couple, as well as to provide ethical assessment and evaluation of couples where one individual has been diagnosed with cancer.


This online course is approved for APA CE credit, NBCC CE clock hours, ASWB Clinical CE clock hours, and NYSED CE credit.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • Introduction
  • Psychosocial Needs of Individuals with Cancer: A Brief Overview
  • What Factors Affect Caregiver Burden Among Partners of Cancer Patients?
  • Maladaptive Communication: The Link to Psychological Distress in Couples Facing Cancer
  • It’s Not All Bad: Growing Closer In the Face of Cancer
  • The Role of Gender in Psychological Adjustment to Cancer
  • Psychosocial Interventions Aimed at Couple’s Coping with Cancer
  • Implementing Partner Sensitive Psychosocial Services: In and Out of a Healthcare Setting
  • Ethical Issues in Working with Cancer Couples
  • Web-Based Resources
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Identify three kinds of communication patterns associated with negative psychological functioning in couples coping with cancer
  • Describe three types of therapeutic interventions that benefit couples during cancer diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and re-entry
  • Evaluate three  gender differences and similarities in couples coping with cancer
  • Recognize three ethical issues in working with couples with cancer