The application of cognitive existential couple therapy (CECT) for men with early stage prostate cancer and their partners: lessons and results from a randomised controlled trial (#210)
Men diagnosed with prostate cancer (PCa) report increased psychological distress and a deterioration of self-reported relationship function in the months following diagnosis. Our pilot study of CECT, a manualised six-session program delivered by mental health specialists, established that this tailored couple therapy is acceptable and valued by patients and their partners and demonstrated potential for reduced psychological distress. The current RCT aimed to test the efficacy of this novel approach.
In excess of 60 couples facing a diagnosis of PCa within the previous 12 months were enrolled and randomised to receive medical treatment as usual or CECT. All participants completed measures of psychological distress, marital function and coping pattern before and up to 9-months after CECT. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sub-set of couples who were enrolled in the intervention arm about their experience of CECT.
Data collected from the couples enrolled in the RCT will be presented, including enrolment and retention figures achieved, and practical lessons learnt about recruiting men and their partners into a specialist mental-health intervention. Current completed quantitative longitudinal results will also be presented alongside some qualitative reflections of the subset of couples who completed CECT.
This study is the first to report the efficacy of a specialist mental-health intervention for couples in the context of early-stage PCa. This cohort appears amenable to an appropriately designed intervention and these findings have important implications for encouraging advocacy for routine psychological support for all couples facing a PCa diagnosis.
Acknowledgement of Funding
This RCT was funded by beyondblue.