Psychology researchers from the UMCG have received funding worth €1.1 million from the Dutch Cancer Society KWF. Maya Schroevers was awarded a prestigious personal grant of more than €500,000, which will enable her to spend six years working on her own line of research into recognizing and treating depression in people with cancer. Furthermore, she and fellow-researcher Joke Fleer have been awarded a grant of €600,000 to study the effects of treating depression in cancer patients.
Schroevers and Fleer are setting up a number of research projects to study the needs of cancer patients with depression and to explore ways of identifying people in need of help. They will look into the effectiveness of mindfulness training and cognitive behavioural therapy as means to reduce the incidence of depression among cancer patients. The main focus of the study is to work out which of the various treatment options are of the most benefit to which people. It is hoped that this will lead to what has become known as Personalized Medical Psychology; the knowledge acquired results in a wider range of customized care, which focuses specifically on the individual concerned, the symptoms and his/her care requirements. The researchers think that this refinement will bring about important improvements in the psychological care offered to cancer patients.
In addition to working as a researcher and lecturer, Dr Maya Schroevers is also a clinically trained healthcare psychologist, who specializes in mindfulness training; a new type of therapy used to treat depression. She has been on training courses in the Netherlands, the UK and the US taught by the people who developed this therapy. Mindfulness training is usually given in groups, but Schroevers and Fleer have spent the last few years developing a new individual version, which dovetails perfectly with the medical psychological care provided in hospitals. Both Schroevers and Fleer work in the Health Psychology section of the Department of Health Sciences of the UMCG.
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