The University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCCCC)
The University of Colorado Hospital (UCH)
The Hematologic Malignancies and Blood and Marrow Transplant Program (BMT)
The University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCCCC) is the Rocky Mountain region's National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. UCCCC is located on the world renowned Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO, which has been called the largest biomedical campus in the West. UCCCC encourages and facilitates close cooperation and communication between basic scientists, translational researchers, clinical investigators and social, psychological and other behavioral scientists. As a psychology intern you will have opportunities to work with adult patients, caregivers, families, and healthcare providers affected by all types of cancer throughout the cancer journey. The psychosocial care of Oncology patients and BMT recipients takes place in our outpatient Cancer Center clinics, the Cancer Center Infusion Center, in our specialized BMT Infusion Center, and in the UCH Inpatient oncology unit. All are conveniently situated adjacent to one another. This care can include individual, family, couples, and group therapy options. Health psychology and behavioral medicine assessments will be included in training. The multidisciplinary oncology teams include a psychologist, social workers, nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, consultants from other services, chaplains, nutritionists, as well as physical and occupational therapists. UCCCC and the BMT program, in particular, identify psychosocial oncology as an integral aspect of the multidisciplinary approach to cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship.
- Gain experience in the role of a psychologist on a medical team.
- Learn how to collaborate within and contribute to a multidisciplinary team.
- Gain knowledge about the field of psychosocial-oncology and related evidenced-based interventions.
- Learn to conduct health and behavior evaluations, as well as create reports of their findings.
- Increase their knowledge and skills for treating psychological, social, and behavioral issues which occur during the cancer experience.
- The psychology intern will learn consultation skills for working with a multidisciplinary team and provide appropriate psych-social collaboration.
- The psychology intern will gain competence in administering health and behavior evaluations to assess for mental and behavioral health issues in an adult population affected by cancer.
- The psychology intern will decide on appropriate, evidence-based interventions and provide psychological and behavioral health interventions in group, individual, family, and couples modalities.
- The psychology intern will observe physicians and nurse practitioners during clinics to learn about medical oncology, hematological malignancies, the blood and marrow transplant process, and multidimensional treatments of cancer and side effects.
- The psychology intern will participate in weekly multidisciplinary team meetings that include all members of the team to gain a sophisticated conceptualization of patients being treated with blood and marrow transplants, including test results, choice of and response to treatment, and further recommendations.
Health Behavior and Psychological assessments: The intern will conduct semi-structured psychosocial intake assessments with newly diagnosed cancer patients and transplant candidates. They will also perform regular follow-up assessments of post-treatment quality of life.
Psychotherapy: During the course of the rotation, the intern will conduct psychotherapy with oncology patients undergoing treatment for cancers at different stages of severity. The intern will also provide support to family members and caregivers and co-lead support groups, as appropriate. Psychotherapy will be provided in outpatient and inpatient settings, as needed.
Educational activities: The intern will participate in weekly inpatient or outpatient multidisciplinary meetings. The intern will attend weekly supervision sessions. The intern will attend weekly educational seminars offered on Tuesdays or Fridays. During the rotation, the intern will present an in-service to the medical staff and/or patients on a topic of interest.
Additional Opportunities: Interns are encouraged to identify additional goals of their training. Opportunities exist to participate in a small research study; shadow the Palliative Care team; shadow an oncology social worker, nurse, or nurse practitioner; and program development and evaluation.
The range of issues and problems that arise for patients and their family members when faced with a serious, life-threatening illness often requires eclectic therapeutic approaches. In general, the goal is to promote healthy adaptation to the illness and optimal functioning of the patient and family. Cognitive-behavioral, existential, biopsychosocial and family systems theoretical approaches are commonly used to conceptualize and treat patients.
- Brief and long-term psychotherapy
- Adult individual psychotherapy
- Couples & Family psychotherapy
- Group psychotherapy
- Supportive psychotherapy
- Psychoeducation and Multidisciplinary
Adults referred to the UCCCC have a diagnosis of cancer, which vary in type and stage (severity) of disease. The program attracts and treats patients from a range of ages, ethnic and racial backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, and from rural and urban settings in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.
Weekly supervision is provided to the intern for psychosocial assessment and psychotherapy cases. A developmental approach is used: initially the intern will be given reading material about the cancer diagnosis, treatment and transplant process and will follow the psychologist and other team members to promote understanding of the treatment process and the medical environment. Then, the intern will be assigned his/her own patients to follow. At least one hour of scheduled supervision is provided weekly to discuss cases and process one’s experiences.
Jennifer Caspari, PhD (Counseling Psychology, University of Denver, 2011). Areas of expertise/interest: Psycho-oncology. Specifically, providing evidence-based assessment and psychological intervention (e.g., CBT, existential and meaning making techniques) to cancer patients with specific focus on allogeneic and autologous stem cell transplant recipients and their caregivers. Dr. Caspari’s overall clinical goal is to reduce distress and improve quality of life for patients and caregivers throughout the cancer trajectory.
Benjamin Brewer, PsyD (Clinical Psychology, University of Denver 2008). Areas of expertise/interest: Psycho-oncology. Specifically, providing evidence-based assessment and psychological intervention (e.g., CBT, existential and meaning making techniques) to cancer patients with specific focus on allogeneic and autologous stem cell transplant recipients and their caregivers. Dr. Brewer’s overall clinical goal is to reduce distress and improve quality of life for patients and caregivers throughout the cancer trajectory.