Nicole Alberts

Transdiagnostic Internet-delivered cognitive-behaviour therapy for recent cancer survivors: A feasibility trial and examination of clinician perspectives

Doctoral Dissertation Results, Nicole Alberts 2014

This dissertation involved two studies. In Study 1, Wellbeing After Cancer was made available to cancer survivors in Saskatchewan from February 2013 to May 2014. The therapist-guided Internet delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) program was based on the Wellbeing Course, which is a transdiagnotic ICBT program developed and tested by the eCentre Clinic in Australia. The Wellbeing Course was modified for recent cancer survivors who experience anxiety and/or depression. Eighteen individuals who completed primary cancer treatment within the past 18 months received CBT-based online lessons, homework assignments, once weekly contact from a therapist via e-mail or phone, and automated emails. Results of Study 1 showed that symptoms of anxiety and depression improved significantly from pre to post treatment. Participants also rated the program as highly acceptable and identified several program strengths.

Study 2 examined the acceptability of Wellbeing After Cancer and ICBT more generally among clinicians currently working within cancer care in Saskatchewan. Ten clinicians viewed a brief online video and completed a telephone interview regarding their perceptions of the program. ICBT and the program were viewed as acceptable by clinicians, with most envisioning themselves referring clients to the program. Several program strengths as well as areas for improvement were identified. Approval from directors as well as clinician availability and time were seen as factors likely to influence training, delivery, and implementation.

Together, the results of both studies indicate to researchers, clinicians, and healthcare providers that ICBT is a viable avenue for offering mental health services to cancer survivors.