Welcome to our counselling service for cancer patients. We understand that a cancer diagnosis can bring forth a range of emotional challenges. Our counsellor is here to provide you with the support, guidance, and tools you need to navigate the emotional and psychological aspects of your cancer journey.

Understanding the Emotional Impact of Cancer:

A cancer diagnosis can evoke various emotions such as fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, and uncertainty. At our counselling service, we recognize the importance of addressing these emotional challenges. We are dedicated to helping you cope with the unique psychological aspects that cancer brings and promoting your overall well-being.

Our counsellor, Lesley, offers specialised counselling and therapeutic support to help patients, carers and families who are experiencing difficulties associated with cancer diagnosis, treatment, survivorship or palliative care. Lesley’s area of expertise is breast cancer counselling, where she will focus on loss and grief, bereavement, trauma, relationships, body image and sexuality related to cancer.

Services Offered:

1. Individual Counselling Sessions:

Our individual counselling sessions provide you with one-on-one support tailored to your specific needs. Our compassionate counsellors are trained to address the emotional impact of cancer, helping you navigate the complexities of your journey, manage stress, and develop healthy coping mechanisms. A diagnosis of cancer changes your life. It brings significant physical, emotional and social changes for you and your loved ones. You might find some of these easier to deal with than others, and nobody’s journey is exactly the same.

Experiencing feelings of isolation, anxiety or fear are very common when dealing with cancer. Sometimes these can be overwhelming and the changes and challenges you are faced with might seem like too much to cope with alone.

Seeing a counsellor in these difficult times gives you someone to talk to who has the expertise to help navigate this new territory and explore your feelings. As someone outside of your family and friends, a counsellor has the perspective, experience and training to know how to listen and respond to your troubles. It can also be comforting to speak to someone who understands what you are going through, so you don’t have to feel lost or alone.

2. Family/Couples Counselling:

Cancer can impact more than just the person who is diagnosed. If you are supporting someone who is living with cancer, counselling can provide a space for you to speak openly about what is going on. Counselling can help you figure out how to cope with emotions such as fear, anxiety and grief. You can discuss new challenges such as communication issues, isolation and adjusting to changes in family dynamics.

The New Normal:

The ‘new normal’ is a phrase many cancer patients and their families use to describe adjusting to life after a diagnosis. If you have just had a diagnosis, chances are your expectations, anxieties and priorities in life have undergone some changes or been shaken a little. This can be the same for friends and family of someone who has been diagnosed. There are practical changes, too. Medical appointments, tests and treatments can become a big part of your regular schedule. If you have started treatment, you might also be dealing with side-effects or physical changes in your body. There might be additional financial or legal concerns you did not have before. All of this takes adjustment and it can sometimes be too much for a person to adapt to these on their own and settle into the ‘new normal’ of life with cancer.

Even after treatment has ended, you may not return to life as it was. Treatment forces your body through many changes and unfamiliar situations in ways you might never have expected. It is a significant experience. You could feel like a different person with a changed perspective, and there is nothing wrong or even unusual about that. Just know you’re not alone.

Here are some ways cancer might affect your life where I have the training and experience to help you face these issues.

Body image

Cancer changes how people look and how they feel about their body. When someone first gets a cancer diagnosis, they might feel like their body has betrayed them, or they disassociate from it because it has become ‘a stranger’. Cancer can even just affect body image through the physical changes of treatments like chemotherapy, with hair loss and weight gain.

People who have breast cancer or have already undergone treatment might think differently about their body after a mastectomy. This is a dramatic, permanent change that leaves the body visibly different afterwards. However, it is still possible to love this body as much as before, in spite of the changes, or even because of them. If you have experienced any of these feelings, I can help you build a new and positive relationship with your body.

Sexual intimacy

Cancer can affect sexual wellbeing. This could be related to the body image issues, but there are other physical, psychological and emotional factors that can be at work. The diagnosis and treatment of cancer can be incredibly stressful, and this can affect intimate relationships. If someone is undergoing a treatment cycle, depending on the specific course of treatment they may feel less physically well or have lower energy. Chemotherapy and hormone therapy can also cause bodily changes like vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex. A combination of these factors can lead to a lack of sex drive or interest in physical intimacy. These effects can even continue after treatment is over. This is normal. Because it can impact both partners, Lesley offers both individual and couple’s sessions.

Loss and grief

Grief is natural response to loss, and there are a number of reasons why someone may have these feelings during their cancer journey. It can be about loss of an old life, loss of time spent being ill or in treatment, loss of a ‘healthy body’ or even the loss of life opportunities and the things cancer made someone miss out on. For some, treatment might have caused the loss of fertility or, in the case of breast cancer, one or both breasts. Feelings of grief can happen at any time during or after the diagnosis and treatment process.

Grief can also be experienced by family and friends. As a result of the cancer-related stresses, family, friends and carers may suffer from depression or anxiety. People who are close to someone with a cancer diagnosis may feel like they should keep their feelings inside, be strong for their loved ones and not burden them, or like their own grief doesn’t matter as much. It can be a struggle to know how best to support loved one through this difficult journey. This is why we also offer counselling services for family, friends and carers of those diagnosed with cancer.

If you have any questions, please reach. We will happily answer all your questions and we are here to help. 

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