Clinical Specialties: Cancer Related Distress and Coping with Medical Illness

Throughout his career, Dr. Perez has focused his clinical and research interests on understanding how patients and families cope with cancer and chronic illnesses. He has extensive experience in treating mood and anxiety disorders in the context of medical disease and helping couples cope with relationship distress and treatment related sexual dysfunction. Dr. Perez creates individualized and goal-oriented psychological treatment plans for all phases of illness.

Dr. Perez’s research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and the American Cancer Society; and his works have been published in peer-reviewed medical and psychology journals.

Cancer Related Distress

Cancer Related Distress includes any emotional upset that is linked to a patient’s or loved one’s experience with cancer and its treatment. Dr. Perez has special emphasis in treating patients with breast, colo-rectal, lung, prostate and hematological disease. A variety of personalized protocols are available for medical patients and their loved ones throughout the illness continuum from initial diagnosis to post-treatment. These include cognitive-behavioral therapy, problem-focused goal setting, coping enhancement, and stress management for a variety of cancer-related issues. Treatment plans include options for individual, couple, family, and group therapy depending on your needs.

Coping with Medical Illness

Dr. Perez also provides psychological treatment for distress related to HIV/AIDS, cardiac disease, neurological disorders, diabetes, Fibromyalgia and a variety of other medical issues.

Pain and Symptom Management

Whether your physical discomfort stems from medical disease, treatment side-effects, or an injury that has resulted in chronic pain, Dr. Perez can help you understand the psychological aspects of pain and other symptoms and help you develop strategies to ease the impact that these challenges can have on your life.

Stress Management and Wellness

For many patients stress management is a key ingredient to maneuvering through a medical or general life crisis and its aftermath. Dr. Perez conducts 10-week CBT group therapy protocols that teach basic to advanced thinking, coping and relaxation strategies to manage stress after an illness. These groups are made up of 4-6 patients with similar illness experiences and are offered for patients with breast, colo-rectal and lung cancer, HIV, and advanced-stage disease.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

It is well established that patients with anxiety and depression respond well to Cognitive Behavioral Treatment protocols. Treatment plans include CBT for depression, CBT and interoceptive exposure for Panic Disorder, Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD, exposure and response-prevention for OCD, and worry exposure for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. These protocols are usually delivered via individual therapy sessions.

Relationship Distress

Couple therapy protocols that focus on behavioral and strategic techniques aimed at enhancing communication, problem solving, and an understanding of how individual issues impact relationship dynamics are available for couples who are having difficulties and want to improve relationship functioning.

Sexual Dysfunction

Dr. Perez conducts individual and couple therapy to assist with disruption in sexual function and intimacy due to medical illness and its treatment. For couples who are experiencing difficulties mostly due to psychological or relationship issues there are behavioral protocols to assist with low sexual desire, rapid ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, and painful intercourse.
Also Available:

Psycho-educational support and group therapy for pain, disruption in sexual functioning, and stress management. For non-medical patients Perez & Associates provides cognitive-behavioral treatment protocols for Panic Disorder, OCD, PTSD, depression and other life stressors.
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