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Hematology and oncology psychology and health psychology

Psychology and health psychology for hematology and oncology patients

Managing a chronic illness can be difficult – from following complex treatment plans and medications – to coping with the mental health impact of a new diagnosis. Our team is specially trained to provide mental health support throughout a child’s care plan for cancers or blood disorders. Our psychology providers are an important part of the care team and work together to make sure we are caring for the whole child and family – not just the illness. We do this through support groups, therapy, special activities and more.

In addition to caring for children at CHoR, the team provides its unique health psychology services to hematology and oncology patients at other hospitals across Virginia that do not offer these important services.

How are families involved?

Mental health services are most effective when patients, parents and other caregivers are active participants in the care plan.

What psychology services are provided?

Our team provides a variety of services, including:

  • Treatment of anxiety, mood, attention issues and executive functioning
  • Treatment adherence and self-management
  • Non-pharmacological pain management strategies
  • Parent and sibling support
  • Parent training and behavioral management 
  • Managing acute or chronic life stressors
  • Parent-child relationship dynamics
  • Medical coping:
    • Adjustment to medical disorder
    • Ongoing support with illness and/or hospitalizations
    • Support with medical procedures
    • Pill swallowing
    • Needle phobia
  • Psychological and neuro-cognitive assessments to provide recommendations for improving academic and vocational success

Where are services provided

We mainly provide services in the outpatient Children’s Pavilion, but we are sometimes able to provide inpatient care as well. We also offer virtual visits through telehealth from the comfort of your home on your smartphone, tablet or computer.

What to expect when seeing a psychology provider

Initial assessment: This will include a comprehensive review of current difficulties, possible contributors and treatments tried thus far. Your family will receive a tailored treatment plan following this initial assessment

Follow up: We’ll provide treatment recommendations, which may include short-term, problem-focused treatment and interventions aimed at improving one or more targeted goals and outcomes. The number of follow-up treatment sessions typically ranges from one to 20.

Who provides psychological services?

  • Dr. Jennifer Rohan Ph.D., director of the Division of Hematology and Oncology’s psychosocial clinical care and research, is a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in pediatric psychology and health psychology. She works with patients who have chronic illnesses like cancer, sickle cell and other blood disorders.  She also provides services to siblings and parents. Dr. Rohan supervises the psychology fellows and Master’s level clinicians delivering care.
  • Psychology fellows and Master’s level psychology clinicians: These team members have expertise in pediatric psychology and health psychology and work with patients with chronic illnesses across the lifespan. They also provide services to siblings and parents of patients with chronic illness. 
  • Pediatric psychologists and psychology trainees: These team members have special training and expertise in working with children, adolescents and young adults with medical conditions

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