"Certificate Course in Psycho-oncology:
Theoretical Foundations and Core Psychotherapeutic Skills "

Jointly organized by the Department of Clinical Psychology, Queen Mary Hospital,
the Clinical Health Psychology Program of the Department of Psychiatry,
The University of Hong Kong.
Supported by a grant from the Cancer Centre, Queen Mary Hospital

Course Objectives

(1) By completing the course, frontline staff serving cancer patients would become better equipped with update scientific knowledge on psychosocial assessment and care of cancer patients during all phases of their illness.

(2) The course aims to provide an impetus for the build-up of an essential mass of health care professionals skilled in psychosocial interventions to foster a caring and holistic treatment culture for our cancer patients.

(3) Through interactive workshops, lectures, case presentations and discussions, and clinical attachment with experienced psychologists, participants will gain first hand clinical exposure, develop skills and flair in managing the psychological and emotional condition of cancer patients to complement their physical care. At the end of the course, participants are also expected to be successful in developing confidence in broad areas of psychological assessments and effective psychotherapeutic skills for use in routine ward and clinical work with cancer patients.

Target Participants/Intake

  • Doctors, registered nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, medical social workers and other suitably qualified health care professionals are welcomed.

  • Priority will be given to: (a) participants currently providing cancer care services; (b) endorsement from departmental supervisors; (c) colleagues working in the Hong Kong West Cluster, Hospital Authority.

  • Class size is limited to a maximum number of 25.

Structure/Format of the Training

The course involves the following modules:

A. Clinical Teaching - ten workshops will cover the following topics: foundations of psycho-oncology, basic assessment and therapeutic skills, foundations of psychological assessments and intervention, psychological adjustment to having cancer and facing treatment, common psychological and psychiatric manifestations in cancer patients, breaking bad news, therapeutic communication, enhancing patients' coping during all phases of the cancer experience, positive psychology in cancer patient care, basic cognitive behavioural therapy, supportive psychotherapy, crisis intervention, group treatment, stress management for families, handling difficult patients and families, suicide risk assessment and prevention, palliative care, bereavement and loss, care for carers, stress management for service providers, and community resources for patients and families. These workshops will take place on Tuesdays from 4 - 7 p.m. Workshop dates are March 6, 13, 20, 27; April 3, 17, 24; and May 8, 15 and 22, 2007.
B. Clinical Case Rounds - participants are expected to attend and actively participate in the case rounds of the Department of Clinical Psychology for case discussions and sharing on case formulations and intervention strategies. Participants will be divided into small groups and attend four case rounds from April to November 2007. The rounds are normally held on Wednesdays from 4 pm to 6:30 pm.
C. Clinical Attachment - participants would be attached to clinical psychologists at work and participate actively in assessment, case formulation, treatment planning and psychological interventions with patients. Participants will be divided into small groups and attend four attachment sessions from April to November 2007. The attachment sessions are normally held on Tuesdays from 2 to 5 pm or Wednesdays from 9 am to 12 noon.
D. Clinical Practicum - participants have to record one clinical interview with a patient and present their work in class or clinical case rounds. Supervision will be provided by the clinical psychologists leading the group. The presentations will be scheduled on Sep 4, 11, 18, 25; Oct 2, 9, 16, 23, & 30, 2007. Participants are expected to attend all the sessions.
E. Group Project - In groups of about five people, participants would work on a specific clinical area of their interest relevant to their work with cancer patients with help from a supervisor. The project will be presented in class near the end of the course. The presentations will be scheduled on Nov 6 and 13, 2007.

Assessment -

a. Clinical Practicum - performance will be graded on the basis of the quality of the interview and presentation.
b. Group Project - the quality of the project and presentation will be assessed
c. Written Examination - participants will sit for a written examination consisting of short answer questions in which their overall understanding and ability to integrate what they have learnt in the course will be assessed. The examination is scheduled on Dec 4, 2007.
d. Viva - participants' clinical skills will be assessed with write-up case scenarios where participants would need to present their views on the clinical problems, areas to be assessed, psychological formulations, and strategies for providing effective psychosocial care. The viva is scheduled on Dec11 and 18, 2007.

Course Duration, Dates and Venue

  • The course will commence on 6 March 2007 and will last until December 2007.
  • The venue will be at 2/F, Cancer Centre, Queen Mary Hospital.

Time schedule of the modules in 2007:

  Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Clinical Teaching 10 sessions, Tue 4-7 pm              
Clinical Case Round   4 sessions, Wed 4-6:30 pm  
Clinical Attachment   4 sessions, Tue 2-5 pm or Wed 9am-12n  
Clinical Practicum             9 sessions, Tue 4-7pm    
Group Project                 2 sessions, Tue 4-7pm  

Teaching Staff

The teaching staff consists of 4 clinical psychologists (Professor Peter Lee, Dr. Amy Fung, Ms. Lina Wu, and Ms. Damaris Hung) from the Department of Clinical Psychology, Queen Mary Hospital, and the Clinical Health Psychology Program of the Department of Psychiatry, the University of Hong Kong. Guest teachers with relevant clinical expertise and experiences will be invited as appropriate.


Participants who have completed all modules of the training, fulfilled the course requirements with a minimum attendance of 80% of the Clinical Teaching and Presentations, and successfully pass the examination will be awarded a certificate granted by the Department of Clinical Psychology, Queen Mary Hospital and the Clinical Health Psychology Program of the Department of Psychiatry, the University of Hong Kong.

Course Fee

The certificate course is subsidized and sponsored by the Cancer Centre, Queen Mary Hospital. The participant needs to pay a fee of $5,000 upon successful application.


The completed application form (word pdf) should be sent to:

By Mail:

The Department of Clinical Psychology, J301, Queen Mary Hospital, 102, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong

By fax: 2855-3730

Deadline of Application: 22 December 2006

Note: In the event of over-subscription, applicants may be asked to attend a selection interview. Successful applicants will be notified individually through email at least two weeks before the course commencement date.


Please call Ms Cheung or Ms Hung at 2855-3051, or email to cheunkma@ha.org.hk for enquiries.

Note: The organizers reserve the right to change the dates, content and format of the course as required, without advance notice.