gms | German Medical Science

64th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

26 - 29 May 2013, Düsseldorf

Implementation of psychooncological interventions in patients with brain tumors

Meeting Abstract

  • Dorothee Wiewrodt - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Münster
  • Ralf Brandt - Persönliches Training Brandt
  • Walter Stummer - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Münster
  • Monika Wigger - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Münster

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. 64. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie (DGNC). Düsseldorf, 26.-29.05.2013. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2013. DocDI.10.07

doi: 10.3205/13dgnc257, urn:nbn:de:0183-13dgnc2575

Published: May 21, 2013

© 2013 Wiewrodt et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: Brain tumor patients and their families suffer from anxiety and uncertainty especially at the time of diagnosis. Initially, mortal fear is predominant, and in later course of disease treatment and tumor related problems take over, i.e. irreversible neurological deficits, self-worth issues, mood imbalances, physical weaknesses, or concentration disturbances. These problems have a major impact on daily life, and individual treatment options are limited.

Method: During the initial psychooncological counselling the several interventions were offered and the patient had to decide, whether he would accept one ore more of the following supportive therapies: 1. Psychooncological and/or psychotherapeutic counselling at the university clinic as inpatient or outpatient. The setting could be arranged individually (i.e. personal, couple or family counselling). 2. Art therapy on the ward at bed side or, for ambulatory patients only, at the Malwerkstatt Muenster (fixed group, every two weeks for 6 months). 3. Personal physical training at home (twice weekly up to 6 months).

Results: During the first nine months, 59 patients participated in the program, and 441 sessions were performed: 204 counselling sessions (range 1–14, 59 patients), 37 art therapy sessions at bed side (range 1–7, 9 patients), 62 art therapy sessions at the Malwerkstatt Muenster (range 4–11, 7 patients), 138 personal training sessions (range 1–42, 9 patients). All participants (100%) experienced increasing satisfaction, lust for life, and positive incentives for every day life. In detail, they enumerate ad 1, counselling: improved ability to deal with conflicts and difficult tasks, reduced anxiety due stress relaxation techniques; ad 2, art therapy: exchange and communication with fellow sufferers, "brain jogging" through drafting exercises, improved creativity, courage making new experiences; ad 3. personal training: reduced lack of confidence, courage to challenge the limit of physical activity, forgetting the illness during training.

Conclusions: Patients with brain tumors used supportive therapies during all periods of disease. The practicability of all interventions was verified. All participants benefited and improved various daily life issues. Patients attending art therapy or the personal training could reduce psychooncological councelling sessions.