Early stage breast cancer can be stressful and upsetting for both the woman dealing with the disease and her partner. This illness can also place a strain on a couple's relationship. However, couples who are able to provide effective support to one another are more likely to adapt well. Focusing on the couple as a unit can promote effective coping for both patients and their partners. This couples-focused group program aims to improve a couple's functioning as a "team" and provides a supportive environment for couples facing similar breast cancer-related issues. Over the course of six sessions, couples learn support and communication skills, as well as techniques to manage stress and enhance intimacy. Modelling by group leaders and other couples facilitates skill acquisition. With continued use, the skills learned in group can have long-term benefits for couples. This guide, along with the corresponding workbook, provides all the information needed to implement this group program. It contains step-by-step instructions for running the group, as well as sample group leader dialogues, in-session activities, and homework assignments.
The couple's workbook is designed to be shared by both partners as they work together through the program. By the end of the six weeks, couples will be better equipped as a team to cope with the stresses of cancer and the challenges that may lie ahead.