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Title: Influences and experiences of a UK independent cancer support service
Author: Cockshott, Zoë
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 6621
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2011
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Background: This study investigated influences and experiences of use of a UK Independent Cancer Support Services (ICSS), with a focus on how its use corresponds with the attempts of cancer patients and their families to manage the psychosocial impact of cancer. Method: A case study approach was used to investigate use of an ICSS providing counselling, complementary and creative therapies to cancer patients, families and carers. ICSS clients (17), non-clients (7) and therapists (6) took part in semi- structured interviews discussing influences on and experiences of use of the service. Interviews were analysed using thematic and narrative analytic approaches. Findings: Clients' experiences of the ICSS appeared to centre around a sense of sanctuary and emotional support, arising from a 'safe' opportunity to talk in a way that is under clients' control and through an ethos and atmosphere which conveys a sense of value and personal control over therapy. These experiences often did not reflect clients' initial reasons for coming to the service, which suggested more varied approaches, with many clients initially reporting problem-solving reasons for coming. Barriers to use of the service included concerns about legitimacy of use of the service, especially from family/carers, and discomfort with the emotional support-based ethos of the service. Discussion and Conclusion: Although the predominant experience of the ICSS was one of emotional support, many clients seemed initially reluctant I unable to identify a need for such support. I suggest that the ICSS provides an environment and relationships which enable clients to feel more comfortable with this kind of support. The use of an ICSS is a nuanced and dynamic process reflecting the shifting and multi-faceted nature of the psychosocial impact of cancer and the complex discourses regarding how to manage it.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available