Cancer Counselling for Individuals and Families
10th June, 2009
Cancer is a family problem, and fraught with a myriad of issues. The challenges of coping with Cancer reverberate through the patient’s extended family... Even to the point whereby stress maybe as great as experienced by the patient.
Cancer can affect families in a number of different ways – most obviously, the shared crisis; sometimes family members’ emotions are bottled up, in order to spare the feelings of the patient….problems may then be unresolved. Being given choice, therapeutic options empowers Cancer patients, helping them through the anxiety and trauma that is experienced after a Cancer diagnosis…indeed, diagnosis is only the beginning…….
Being given a Cancer diagnosis may affect individuals in a variety of different ways, bearing in mind physical: i.e "the pain won’t go away" or "I can’t catch my breath!" psychological: “what’s the point in living ...? or "I’m afraid of dying.." social and spiritual aspects, for example: "I don’t want to upset my family by crying..," "Why me?" or "Does God exist?"
"Now that my treatment was demanding less of me physically and psychologically, and my schedule was becoming more predictable and manageable, I was starting to have the time and mental energy to look beyond the immediate. I couldn’t think clearly though – a fog would descend whenever I tried to think about my situation. I yo-yoed between denial and tentative acknowledgment of my predicament. It was a miserable experience" (Kate Carr 2004)
John Diamond spoke of liberation, in the face of possible terminal disease when he wrote: “The rule is – and the liberating thing about life-threatening diseases is that they allow one to make up definitive rules about them on the fly – that any response to the news of one’s own imminent death is a legitimate one”( John Diamond 1999)
Counselling can play an enormously supportive role to both individuals and families struggling with Cancer at all stages, through diagnosis, treatment, and beyond – whether it may up to the point of death, or indeed having survived the disease, and coping with short or long term side effects of treatment. Counselling can also offer the opportunity to discuss the experience, for example, difficulties upon returning to work as a result of having Cancer treatment, or maybe re-adjusting to changes that treatment has made to their body. (Macmillan publication)
Kate Carr (2004) "It’s Not Like That, Actually"; p.80
John Diamond (1999) C Because cowards get cancer too; p.38
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