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Counseling and Emotional Support for Cancer Patients and Families

Psychiatrists and psychologists can help support patients, family members, and caregivers through the stress of cancer treatments. We focus on patients who developed mental health issues as a result of their cancer, and those whose preexisting mental health conditions are impacting their ability to engage in treatment.

We typically see patients during their cancer care or within one year of completing disease-specific treatment, for up to 12 sessions (or one year).

Our services can include:

  • Initial, thorough psychiatric or psychological assessment of needs and concerns
  • Ongoing, problem-focused individual, couples or family counseling or psychotherapy, which can include:
    • Emotional support
    • Relaxation training, guided imagery
    • Mindfulness training
    • Specific problem-solving
    • Communication and assertiveness training
    • Specific psychotherapeutic expertise in:
      • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
      • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
      • Cognitive processing therapy
      • Dignity therapy
      • Grief therapy
      • Meaning-centered psychotherapy
  • Management of symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and other concerns
  • Medication management (through psychiatry services)

Scheduling an Appointment

  • UC San Diego Health patients (including all Moores Cancer Center patients): Referrals should come from your oncologist or palliative care provider. Please have them obtain insurance authorization for mental health services, or you may obtain them from your insurer yourself. Then call 858-822-5381 for an appointment.
  • If you are not a registered UC San Diego Health patient, call 800-926-8273 to register. (For more information, see  Request an Appointment.) Then call your insurer to obtain authorization to receive mental health services, and then call 858-822-5381 to schedule an appointment.


  • Some insurance plans use a different carrier for mental health benefits. If this is the case, please check with your mental health carrier to determine coverage and other insurance issues.
  • If your insurance company will not cover mental health services at UC San Diego Health (whether or not you are a registered UC San Diego Health patient), we may be able to work with them to allow you to be seen, given that we offer specialized services. Please start by calling your mental health carrier, but if you need further assistance, call us at 858-822-5381.

In a mental health emergency, call 911, go to the nearest emergency room, or call the San Diego County Referral Crisis Line at 1-888-724-7240.

Contact Us


Meet Our Team

Psychiatrists and Psychologists


La Jolla
  • Moores Cancer Center (outpatient appointments)
  • Inpatient services may also be available to hospitalized patients

Other Services