Along with the physical effects of cancer, the emotional reactions of patients as well as their loved ones are large contributors to the pain that cancer brings. The range of reactions is vast; from fear to anxiety to pity to sadness. Just the mere mention of these emotions is evidence enough that having cancer is an emotionally draining situation, for all involved.
You may know that counselling services exist for being able to cope with these negative emotional reactions that people have – depression being a common one. But that is not the only Psychological effect of cancer. It is also important to keep in mind that having cancer would bring about a lifestyle change as well as possibly bring to the surface questions regarding accomplishment, relationships, sexuality and fulfilment. So generally, not only is there a feeling of fear and sadness, but also a reappraisal of one’s life when they know that the end is near. One’s interactions with their loved ones may be strained, because of the inner turmoil that they go through, in relation to loss and relationships.
Cancer counselling attempts to help one manage these varied and confusing thoughts to the best of their ability, in order to accept their situation and interact with loved ones normally. The entire range of the reach of counselling thus includes;
– Coping with emotional reactions to cancer
– Coping with lifestyle changes and ruminations
– Dealing with family and relationships issues
– Dealing with practical issues of cancer treatment
This last point refers to the manner in which people are aided in understanding and playing an active part in their treatment process – from understanding the treatment they require to having a say in their treatment, to dealing with the large range of potential scenarios.
Another pressing practical issue of cancer care is the financial strain it puts on people. Affording cancer care is no joke.. it may require loans, mortgages or perhaps turning to someone for help. Cancer counselling services are well informed of the different possibilities and offer to direct people in their quest to meet the financial requirements of treatment, which may be too much for some to handle alone.
It is important to keep in mind that cancer counselling is not something that is strictly for patients. Parents, spouses, children and friends of those suffering from cancer are all emotionally affected by the disease to a large extent, in many of the same ways that a patient would be. Counselling may benefit them through one-on-one sessions or sessions in small groups.
It must be mentioned at this point, that counselling does not attempt to cure cancer through positivity and good wishes, as many sceptics might falsely believe. It merely attempts to provide people with support in order to be able to face their situation head on, leading their lives in the best possible manner in which they can.
Sieger, Karen. “About Cancer Counselling”. Counselling Directory, 2013. N.p. Web. Accessed on 12 July, 2014. http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/about-cancer-counselling
“How Counselling can Help”. Cancer Research UK. N.p. N.d. Web. Accessed on 12 July, 2014. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-help/coping-with-cancer/coping-emotionally/talking-about-cancer/counselling/how-counselling-can-help