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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2001 September;42(3):223-30

language: Italian

Oncological patient's coping strategies: the role of psychotherapeutic approach

Malta V., Mollichella L.


In spite of new possibilities of prevention, therapy and recovery of many tumors, the diagnosis of cancer still brings to patient's mind the idea of death. The emotional impact of this diagnosis provokes an existential crisis that develops in four stages: shock, reaction, elaboration and reorientation. This paper analyses the patient's feelings in these four stages, trying to distinguish normal reactions from pathological reactions and stressing the importance of the personality characterizations and individual coping strategies. Patients with personality disorders, with insufficient psychological defends and rigid behaviour schemes, are at risk for psychological complications. It is important to identify patients really need a psychological or psychiatric approach in order to reduce psychic sufference, improving the coping strategies of the disease.

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