Illness and Disability
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Heather Mallery AdvDip MBACP, CT Dip MPCH
11th January, 2009
I have worked as a counsellor for the Multiple Sclerosis Society for about six years. I work with people who are both newly diagnosed and others who have suffered with MS for many years. When someone is diagnosed with an incurable illness that is going to affect their lives physically it often has a dramatic effect on them psychologically. This can affect everything from their self-confidence to how they relate to loved ones and their colleagues in the work place. Depression is a common complaint that is often caused by illness and long-term disability. It is difficult getting to grips with the fact that, in the case of MS, sometimes the body is impaired and the sufferer can no longer physically do many of the things that previously were taken for granted.
Finding a way to look positively at the future during illness or with disability, is often difficult. Counselling can provide the support and the guidance to help that person find many ways of altering their lives and mind set to adapt to their new future. This can often take the form of anything from finding a different career to making new friends and altering their social patterns to enable their lives to be fulfilled and motivated.
Over the years I have worked with many clients who have actually changed their working careers and believe that they actually enjoy what they are doing now much more than if they had stayed in the same working enviornment. Others have found that although there are some physical things they can no longer do, they have developped other skills that they would never otherwise have thought of and now really enjoy.
Relationships often become difficult when struggling with ongoing illness and counselling can help both the sufferer of the illness and their partners and families adjust to changes that need to take place.
Illness and disability is a frightening experience but it doesn't need to stay that way. I have worked with people who have transformed their lives and outlook on life through counselling. Often a client has contacted me initially because of their illness or disability but found that during counselling they have addressed many other issues that were affecting their daily lives before. They have then been able to work on all aspects of their lives and emotions which results in a more positive attitude to coping with life in general.
The answer is, don't suffer alone and in silence. Get the help you need and move forward in all aspects of your life, with support and professional guidance. That's what counselling is all about. It's such a small step to take and it can change your life.
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