Boost For Patient Counselling Service

The physical effects of cancer treatment are well known, but what can be harder to understand is the psychological effects which a patient might experience.

Each year 13,000 new patients are referred to The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, and just as each cancer is unique, so is each individual’s experience of treatment.

Clatterbridge employs two consultant psychiatrists and a patient counsellor who work as a team to provide support for patients who may be struggling to cope during their treatment. Recently, we have provided funding for a further part-time counsellor and we would like to introduce to you the newest member of the counselling team, Helen Forbes…

Clatterbridge: Helen, you’re new but you’re not new…

Helen: That’s right. I have worked at Clatterbridge for over 30 years, starting out as a radiographer back in 1991. Recently, I decided to try a new path so left and studied for a Masters in Psychotherapy, and here I am – back again but this time as a patient counsellor.

Clatterbridge: And are you enjoying the new role?

Helen: I love it, it is one of those jobs which is hugely demanding but also hugely rewarding. To be helping someone at what is often the most difficult time of their life – or sometimes at the end of their life is a real privilege.

The most important thing is to treat each patient as an individual and to give them a safe and confidential space for them to explore their challenges. For some patients it might only need a few sessions, others might need twenty or more – thanks to the charity, that support is there if they need it.

Clatterbridge: How are patients referred for counselling?

Helen: It could be a nurse, a consultant, or anyone who notices that a patient is struggling. The patient will come to see us and we will work with them over the course of a number of appointments to try and understand their challenges and improve their mental health.

Without the Charity support our capacity would be much reduced and some patients simply wouldn’t be able to access the service, so it really is wonderful to have my role funded by donors.

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