Pediatric Psychologists are usually trained as Child Clinical Psychologists with additional training focused on working with children in medical settings. They interact with Pediatric Oncology patients and their families during both inpatient and outpatient care.
The role of a Pediatric Psychologist within the treatment team is to help young patients and their families cope with the many stressors related to their illness and treatment. This work may take a variety of forms, including:
- Helping to educate patients and parents about diagnoses and treatments in ways that are easily understood by children
- Teaching coping strategies (e.g., relaxation and guided imagery) for dealing with discomfort
- Providing a place for children and their families to express their worries, anger or sadness about their illness, and developing strategies for managing difficult feelings (e.g., distraction, positive self-talk, creative expression)
- Devising behavioral plans to help children who are struggling to comply with treatment demands (e.g., taking oral medications)
- Monitoring developmental and academic progress and helping with school re-entry after extended absences
- Providing support for siblings who must cope with the various disruptions that cancer brings to families (e.g., extended absences of parents, lack of routine and leisure time).
Anne E. Kazak, PhD, ABPP1,2, Mary T. Rourke, PhD1, Melissa A. Alderfer, PhD1,2, Ahna Pai, PhD1, Anne F. Reilly, MD1,2 and Anna T. Meadows, MD1,2
1Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and 2University of PennsylvaniaEvidence-based Assessment, Intervention and Psychosocial Care in Pediatric Oncology: A Blueprint for Comprehensive Services Across Treatment (JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGY Vol. 32 No. 9 October 2007, Pp. 1099-1110) from http://jpepsy.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/32/9/1099