The diagnosis of cancer can present many challenges for the child, parents/caregivers, siblings and the extended family (e.g. grandparents, aunts/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.

These are just some of the emotional issues that might arise in a family due to a child’s cancer diagnosis. We recognize that responses may be varied and exacerbated by previously existing dynamics or mental health issues. We encourage client’s to make use of our counselling services so that the best coping strategies can be supported and developed from the time of the child’s diagnosis, throughout treatment and beyond.

About the Counselling Services Offered at the Childhood Cancer Association

The Childhood Cancer Association provides free counselling to all family members involved in the direct care of the child, including extended family, to support you through the challenges, provide a listening ear and assist in developing skills and strategies that will enable you to travel through the cancer experience with greater ease.

Counselling services are conducted by our trained Family Service team - Anna Boynton and Chris Coelle (for further information about the Childhood Cancer Association's counsellors please click here), and adhere to the relevant professional and ethical guidelines utilizing best evidence-based practice, while recognising that every family is unique and tailoring interventions accordingly.   

Counselling is available at the Childhood Cancer Association Office. For those who are unable to attend the office, counselling is available via telephone or Skype.


All personal information gathered by your Psychologist/Counsellor during the provision of the counselling service will remain confidential and secure except where:

  1. It is subpoenaed by a court, or

  2. Failure to disclose the information would place you or another person at serious and imminent risk (e.g. harming yourself or others); or

  3. Your prior approval has been obtained to

    a) provide a written report to another professional or agency (e.g. a GP); or
    b) discuss the material with another person, e.g. a parent, Social Worker or employer; or if disclosure is otherwise required or authorised by law.

Further Information

For further information about counselling please contact the CCA Family Service team directly on 08 8239 2211.

Service Hours

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:

  • Women's & Children's Hospital: (08) 8161 7000
  • Assessment & Crisis Intervention Service (ACIS): 131 465
  • Lifeline: 131 144
  • Kids Help Line: 1800 55 1800
  • Or present to your closest Hospital Emergency Department

Our Services

If you or your family require assistance please contact us today!

Contact Childhood Cancer Association
» Contact us via email
» Or phone us on (08) 8239 1444

Help us make a difference today!

The Childhood Cancer Association is a fully self-funded organisation and therefore relies on the generous support of the community.

Childhood cancer presents many challenges for the child and their family. It affects not only the child but their brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, friends and the whole community.

The Childhood Cancer Association provides support to the entire family.

Please help us make the cancer journey easier for these families!