Systematic screening programs on psychological distress, adaptation and evaluation of psychosocial needs have been implemented, following the Joint Commission standards
and the NCCN guidelines.


Our Activities

The new IEO Psychology Unit is the fruit of many years of academic experience dedicated to the decision-making processes by a multidisciplinary team under
the coordination of Professor Gabriella Pravettoni. In particular, over time the research has focused on the study of decision making process in medicine in order to study the factors involved both from doctors’ and patients’ point of view, in conditions of uncertainty and risk, often characterized by an increased emotional burden.

With this background, the Unit promotes a multidisciplinary perspective, aimed at developing a new psycho-cognitive approach for decisionmaking in medicine. In addition to strictly medical matters and biological data, by developing a personalized approach that takes into account the analysis and interpretation of the cognitive components (information needs, preferences, decision-making, beliefs and knowledge about the disease and health), the psychological components (level of stress, anxiety, depression) and the behavioural (lifestyle) components of each patient, we aim to promote patient empowerment and increase participation in the process of care, compliance and satisfaction.

When patients are admitted to the hospital (whether as an in or out-patient), they are asked to fill in a self-evaluation form focused on their emotional state. In non-functional emotional reactions, an interview with a psychologist is recommended.This is a time for in-depth awareness enabling them to shed light on their own reactions and needs. During the interview, the opportunity is explored to embark upon a process of psychological support. Support to the couple and to the family is also offered.

  • Our staff



    Gabriella Pravettoni


    Counseling / The psychological support

    Counseling with the psycho-oncologist is aimed at people who experience a feeling of emotional distress. The interview helps the patient to come to terms with and understand the normal reactions to stress. During the interview, the patient is assisted in the management of emotional distress and in the process of recovery in order to cope with the disease in an active and positive way.


    Individual Psychotherapy
    In the presence of specific psychological discomfort or symptoms which damage the patient’s well-being in addition to the physical illness, and which hinder functioning in important areas of life (work, daily activities, relationships between couples and family members), individual psychotherapy helps the patient to learn and understand their condition and to identify ways of thinking and behavior in order to deal effectively with critical situations. A cognitive process that in addition to promoting greater self-awareness, allows the patient to strengthen self-esteem, rediscover and strengthen their own resources, redefine priorities and facilitate change.


    Psychological support to family members
    The Psycho-Oncology Unit helps family members to deal with the illness of their family member and with the consequences that may ensue in family relationships. This help aims to facilitate adaptation to the disease, in order to improve the quality of life of the members of the whole family.


    Couple counseling
    Cancer affects not only the patient, but sometimes also adversely affects the relationship with the partner. The purpose of couple counseling is to understand the thoughts
    and feelings of both partners in order to activate resources that allow the couple to manage the emotional and practical difficulties that arise.


    Sexological counseling
    The destabilizing impact of a cancer diagnosis, the stress and bodily changes caused by surgical and oncological treatment sometimes radically change the relationship, emotional
    communication and sexuality. Sexological counseling is a helping relationship aimed at the individual or the couple, and it aims to offer support to understand physical, psychological and relational difficulties, and to find out a solution to reduce discomfort.


    Psychological counseling in the genetic field
    Information on the personal risk of developing a tumor often involves a number of changes at a cognitive, emotional and behavioral level. Although the oncological risk does not mean that one currently has a tumor, it is often experienced as an anticipation of the disease. The perception that a woman may have of the invulnerability of her physical state, in fact, collapses, giving way to emotional reactions of insecurity, anxiety and fear that harm physical and mental well-being and change everyday behavior. The cognitive representation corresponding to the thought: “cancer is not there, but it will be” could become pervasive and affect the lifestyle of the woman, her family and social relationships and physical and psychological well-being.


    Relaxation therapy and stress management (Biofeedback, relaxation imagery, conscious breathing)
    Cancer treatments often interfere with the quality of life of patients, not only on the physical plane, but also on the psychological plane. The proposed techniques (individual or
    group) can help patients to increase their effectiveness in managing emotions and stress, promoting a better adaptation to their treatment pathway and the recovery of their physical and mental wellbeing.

  • Working with us


Università degli Studi di Milano


Ministero della Salute Joint Commission International bollinirosa

© 2013 Istituto Europeo di Oncologia - via Ripamonti 435 Milano - P.I. 08691440153 - Codice intermediario fatturazione elettronica: A4707H7