PROFILE OF PASYKAF CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST – DOMINIQUE KANARIS
In 1994 after the demise of her husband from cancer Dominique who has a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology and her husband’s doctor, Dr Komatina, decided to offer their expertise to PASYKAF (The Association of Cancer Patients and Friends) on a voluntary basis. Although there was Psychological help in Nicosia and Limassol from 1986 when PASYKAF was first formed, there was no such professional service in Paphos to help patients and their families through traumatic periods in their lives.
During 1994 Dr Komatina, Dominique and members of the PASYKAF staff set about forming the first Day Centre for cancer patients on the island. Starting in rented apartments – over the next few years as their services improved and expanded it was found that a bungalow style house was preferable for the comfort of their patients.
In 1995 they persuaded retired Macmillen Nursing Sister Vi Moran to join them and PASYKAF Home Care Nursing was formed. This service would not only cover Paphos town but also the surrounding villages and Sister Vi could often be seen on her scooter visiting patients in Paphos and as there was little money available a doctor, nurse and psychologist used their own transport or shared a car to visit patients. In time, the first PASYKAF car was purchased through donations
The stigma of cancer, espeically in Paphos was horrendous and people thought it was contagious. Patients were often socially shunned by family and friends and forbidden to come close to children. The word cancer was never used by known as ‘that illness’ or ‘the bad thing’. The first PASYKAF car had to have its logo taken off or otherwise it had to park miles out of the village so that non-one would know that a Cancer Nurse or Psychologist were visiting a patient or family.
Dominique provides emotional support for the PASYKAF nurses and staff and co-operates fully with the hospitals and clinics in the Paphos area as well as PASYKAF Welfare issues. She believes that training is the key to any organisation and regularly participates in speaking to groups on the PASYKAF programme and provides a welcome Tai Chi class for patients and their families.
Dominique, Dr Komatina, the PASYKAF Nurses together with Sally Unsworth (Bereavement Counsellor) and Chris Winfield Training Facilitators with the Samaritans, were instrumental in forming The Cancer Patients Support Group – Train Volunteer Section. CPSG was already linked to fundraising for PASYKAF but needed trained volunteers who, at the request of the PASYKAF nurses, would work alongside them as support for patients and their carers. A course was set up by Sally and Chris in 2006 and by 2008 the first Telephone, Listening, Befriending and Helpline Service was up and running. By 2015 Trained Volunteers numbered 50 men and women who provide support throughout Paphos and its outlying villages.
Clinical Psychology is the scientific study of the theory and clinical knowledge of a person for the purpose of understanding, prevent and relieving psychological distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective and behavioural well-being and personal development in a patient
It requires someone with patience, kindness and understanding, who cares enough to listen to the anguish within a person and the effects they may have on close family and friends. A person like Dominique Kanaris