The organization of a counselling service for the families of patients undergoing bone marrow transplant

Giordano Invernizzi, Guido Broich, Cinzia Bressi, Gaia Guggeri, Sara Caparrelli, Giorgio Lambertenghi Deliliers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The organisation of our Counsellig Service for the relatives of patients undergoing bone marrow transplant is structured in various phases. During the first phase, contact is established with the relatives. The therapist introduces himself to the relatives when the patient is hospitalized and enters the sterile ward. The second phase consists in an illustration of the objectives and purpose of the Service. During this phase, two weekly interviews lasting approximately one hour are proposed, plus assessment tests (CFI, Camberwell Family Interview - and MMPI - Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory). A third phase, which is often contextual to the presentation of the Service, consists in the recognition of the needs and suffering of the given relative. Here, the therapist acts as a receptacle for the anxieties and fear of death brought to him by the subject, thus empathetically accepting these states of mind and legitimizing them. Moreover, our model of intervention envisages the formation of support groups for the relatives of patients suffering from blood cancers. A further phase concerns the exchange of information between the two therapists helping, respectively, the relative and the patient, and also with medical and nursing staff. To further the same aims, for a number of years now, our Service has been organising intervention groups for nursing staff working at CTMO. The final phase is counselling, which takes place twice a week. There are two fundamental areas of intervention that must be taken into account for families of subjects suffering from blood cancers: providing information and offering support. From our experience, it emerges that the relatives need to obtain information on organic aspects of the illness and the transplant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2293-2297
Number of pages5
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number3 B
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Bone marrow transplantation
  • Counselling
  • Family intervention
  • Focus psychotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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