February is Psychology Month

February marks Psychology Month in Canada, and at the Children’s, we know that patients and families’ psychological health is deeply linked to their physical health. Our Dr. Geneviève Janveau is one of 20 psychologists whose role is to help patients with chronic illnesses and their families deal with an initial diagnosis and to help them adjust to their illness. For the past two years, she has worked in Hematology-Oncology, helping patients and families who’ve received a cancer diagnosis.

“I have to be very flexible and creative,” says Dr. Janveau. “Sometimes it can be challenging to get a child to open up. But when I’m able to get them to let me into their secret garden and trust that I will be there to help and to listen…that’s the greatest gift. It’s so rewarding.”

Dr. Janveau’s approach can involve play or drawing techniques to help children express themselves so they can face their challenges. A treatment plan is then developed to improve better functioning in their daily life. Other times, she can offer coping strategies to deal with stressful situations. “Another part of my job is to work with a child’s siblings to see how they might be coping with a brother or sister’s illness. And of course, I meet with a child’s parents to help them cope and to empower them so they can help their children.”

Growing up, Dr. Janveau says she knew early on that she wanted to work with children. “There was never another choice for me!” she laughs. “Both of my parents were teachers, and I saw firsthand just how great of an impact they could have on the kids they helped. I am very grateful to be able to do what I do. Kids teach me so much.”