The diagnosis of cancer can present many challenges for the child, parents, siblings and the extended family (e.g. grandparents, aunties/uncles, cousins etc). It may create a sense of uncertainty and helplessness, or perhaps leave you feeling anxious and/or depressed.
Your normal ways of coping may be tested; you might experience increasing worry, have difficulties sleeping or not feel quite yourself. These responses may also be intensified in the event that a child passes away and as the grieving process begins. These are all normal responses to having a child or family member with a serious illness, however at times the feelings may be overwhelming and therefore additional support may be helpful.
For country families, the separation from your extended family and country community as you stay in Adelaide for treatment may be very challenging. Once your child's treatment is finished and/or maintenance treatment begins, the transition back into your own home and local community, away from the hospital and the support networks that you have developed in Adelaide may also be difficult.
Along with some of the aforementioned responses, the loss of a child to cancer may also bring with it a variety of responses from withdrawing from others, to relying closely on different support services. It is perfectly normal to cycle through many different emotions. Feelings of sadness, frustration, anger, denial, guilt and even relief can all be typical of those who are grieving. Even when people know this, however, there are those who may not recognise when their emotions are making a major impact on their lives, or may feel unable to cope. Counselling can help people work through their grief, resolve any lingering conflicts and come to terms with life without their child.
About the Counselling Services Offered at the Childhood Cancer Association
The Childhood Cancer Association provides free counselling to all family members, including extended family, to support you through the challenges, provide a listening ear and assist in developing skills and strategies that will enable you travel through the cancer journey with greater ease. Counselling services are conducted by our trained Family Service team Denise Ellis, Anna Boynton and Kate Travers (for further information about CCA's counsellors please click here). Counselling is available either at the CCA Office or via telephone or Skype for those who are unable to attend the office.
For further information about counselling please speak to your Social Worker at the Women's and Children's Hospital or contact the CCA Family Service team directly on 8239 2211.
Access to the Family Service Team and Counselling services are available Monday-Friday 9am-5pm (closed on Public Holidays).
Please note that the Family Service Team is not an out of hour's service. If you are in need of emergency or crisis care service please contact one of the following: