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The Voice of People With Breast Cancer


Living with Breast Cancer

Emotional Well-Being


There are two main forms of professional therapy for depression and other mental health illnesses: psychotherapy and psychiatry.

Psychotherapy is a treatment for mental health problems and emotional challenges. It can involve a structured conversation between the therapist and client that seeks to help patients understand their feelings and cope better. Psychotherapy can be brief and take only a few sessions, or it can last for months or years. A psychotherapist or counsellor is not able to prescribe medications. In Canada, psychotherapy or counselling is a service that is not covered by provincial health plans. Most insurance benefits companies cover a portion of these fees and may require a referral from your doctor.

Pay attention to how well the therapist listens and how comfortable you feel with her. Then you can decide if you want to continue with her or to seek out another therapist.

Psychotherapy can be helpful at all stages of your breast cancer journey.

For a diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer, it can help you to adjust to being a cancer patient and to face the initial shock, grief and denial, as well as depression and anxiety.

When treatment ends, psychotherapy can help you adjust to life after breast cancer. Issues at this stage include dealing with the fear of recurrence, facing your mortality, and coming to terms with unaccomplished life goals and the pressing need to address them.

Psychiatry is different from psychotherapy in that a psychiatrist is a medical doctor who can prescribe medications to aid in the treatment of mental illness. In order to see a psychiatrist, you must be referred by your doctor. A psychiatrist’s fees are covered by provincial and territorial health plans but the medications they prescribe may not.

Visit the Canadian Mental Health Association for more information on treatment for mental health illnesses. 

The Canadian Cancer Society has a database that can be used to find local support services in your area. You can access it below:



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