At St Peter & St James Hospice we offer counselling to everyone affected by life-limiting illness in our catchment area, from diagnosis to post bereavement.
Yasmin, one of our Counsellors, sat down to tell us about how receiving counselling can help someone affected by a life-limiting illness, whether they are a patient, carer, family member, child or friend.
“Counselling offers a space for someone to talk about how they’re feeling, about what is happening to them or someone they are close to and how it might be affecting their day-to-day life. We also work with those who are bereaved, helping them through the grieving process and understanding what that process might be like for them.
For example, with grief, I think people can really be surprised by how it floors them, and they might have an idea that life will just continue as normal, and it doesn’t. Grief presents itself in all sorts of ways, mentally, and physically, and sometimes people just don’t understand what’s happening to them.
We’re here to help them understand that their reactions are completely normal; they are a unique person and will deal with grief in their own way, and that’s ok.
For patients we might see them just after diagnosis. For them, sometimes it’s working through the shock of the diagnosis and what it means for them. Other times, we see patients towards the end of their life, and they aren’t sure what they are feeling, or they want to talk to someone but feel they can’t speak to their family about it. And sometimes it really is just around supporting them through their symptoms, or the impact medications are having on them and how that’s affecting the quality of their life. Other times they may want to talk about their relationships and not their illness at all.
Counselling involves accepting you as you are and allowing yourself to express whatever feelings are coming up for you in a safe and confidential space. It can be a space for people to say things that they can’t say to anybody else. It’s just offering them that opportunity.”