Our team of clinical psychologists use a range of techniques and therapies to help people with cancer and their families adjust to the emotional and psychological challenges of cancer.

Our clinical psychology team works closely with psychiatrists, social workers and music therapists as part of the Psychosocial Oncology Program.

Cancer affects people in many different ways.  Common emotional and psychological concerns include anxiety, fear of cancer recurrence or progression, pain, sleep difficulties, depression, worry about fertility, disfigurement, sexual functioning and the impact that the cancer may have on those around you. Some of the questions people bring when they see a psychologist at Peter Mac include:

  • Why me?
  • How do I talk with my children, partner or friends about cancer?
  • I worry that my cancer will come back - is that normal?
  • How can I get a better night’s sleep?
  • What can I do about feeling low, sad and hopeless?
  • My body and the way I look have changed, how do I adjust to these changes?
  • Is there anything I can do about treatments side-effects like nausea, pain and fatigue?
  • Will my relationship ever be the same again?
  • I’ve been given so much information, how do I make the right treatment decision for myself?
  • Treatment is over, any tips on how I get back to normal or find the new normal?


Our clinical psychology team offer a range of psychological therapies and interventions, such as cognitive behaviour therapy, mindfulness, acceptance and commitment therapy and existential therapy. Our psychologists will adapt their approach to meet your needs. They may offer individual, couple or family consultations.  Our clinical psychologists only use treatments that are effective and safe (evidence-based treatments).

The Psychology Department also provide a specialist Can-Sleep service aimed at improving night-time sleep problems (such as insomnia) for people with cancer.

Appointments with a clinical psychologist are approximately 45 minutes in duration. Your initial consultation will involve a discussion about your cancer situation and impact of your diagnosis/treatment on yourself and your family and friends. People can often benefit from one session alone, while others find that periodic or regular sessions are helpful for them. You do not need to bring anything to your sessions; this is a free service and interpreter services can also be arranged.


The Psychology team has a website, Cancer Mind Care, with useful information about the emotional aspects of cancer, including a tools to assess your needs and get help.

The information in the Cancer Mind Plan is written by cancer psychology experts and people affected by cancer and is tailored based on an individuals answers to the questions in the screening tools.

This project is a collaboration between Peter Mac, the Western & Central Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service (WCMICS), and Gippsland Regional Integrated Cancer Service (GRICS).

Service times

Appointments with a clinical psychologist can be made Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 4.00pm.

Referral information

You can access the psychology service if you have received any of your treatment at Peter Mac. You can self-refer, or you can discuss your situation with any member of your treating team (e.g.  GPs, oncologists nurses, social workers) who can make a referral to the psychology service for you. Once a referral is received a staff member will contact you to discuss your referral and arrange an appointment with the most appropriate clinician. At times, we may recommend other services at Peter Mac or in the community if we feel they are more relevant and suitable for you.

Referrals can be made via the Peter Mac referral page  or by directly contacting the Psychosocial Oncology Program on [email protected] or via our reception during office hours - 03 8559 5220.


Clinical Psychology Department

Phone: 03 8559 5220

Useful phone numbers

Cancer Council, Information and Support: 13 11 20

Carers Victoria: 1800 242 636

beyondblue Support Service: 1300 22 46 36

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Griefline: 03 9935 7400

Mensline: 1300 78 99 78

Kidshelpline: 1800 55 1800


Dr Maria Ftanou