Many cancer patients seek counseling to help them deal with the emotional burden of the illness. Counseling often helps them cope with cancer by giving them a place to express their feelings. The purpose of this study is to compare three types of individual psychosocial treatment programs for people with advanced cancer: “meaning-centered” counseling, “supportive” counseling, and “enhanced usual care.”
Meaning-centered counseling is intended to teach cancer patients how to maintain or even increase a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives, despite cancer. Supportive counseling is intended to help patients cope with cancer by giving them a place to express their feelings. Enhanced usual care is intended to offer patients referrals and resources that are matched to their individual needs, in addition to the care they are already receiving at MSKCC.
In this study, researchers will compare the benefits of these three approaches. Patients will be randomly assigned to one of the three treatment types. Those who received counseling will meet with a counselor for one hour once a week for seven weeks. Those who receive enhanced usual care will receive referrals based on their individual needs. All participants will complete questionnaires about their experiences before the treatment begins and up to 15 weeks later.