Benefits of Counseling
Here is an article that I really like! Since I have spent the past thirty years counseling women with breast cancer, it is always good to read about the value of these interactions. There are many reasons why it is often more helpful to talk with a therapist/counselor than with family or good friends. When you are struggling with breast cancer, one of the more important ones is that you always worry about burdening the people who love you. You don't have to protect your therapist and can feel free to say absolutely anything. One caveat: It is just as important to identify a therapist who is well-informed about breast cancer and its treatment as one whose style is good for you and who takes your insurance.
The Benefits of Counseling
Counseling can be a way for someone to better understand and resolve a pressing issue or concern. Counseling can also help explore longstanding problems unrelated to the disease that may have come to the surface during the cancer experience. Read more ways that counseling can help people with cancer and those who care about them.
Counseling can greatly benefit a person with cancer; however, it is hard for some people to ask for professional help. A person may worry that seeking help for emotional distress shows a weakness or failure to handle one's own problems. Some may also discount the importance of seeking support because of a strong sense of needing to be independent and self-sufficient. People living with cancer are often focused on their medical needs, and they may feel they don't have the time, money, energy, or need to care for their emotional needs.
Seeking outside, professional help is not a weakness. In fact, it shows the willingness to take care of oneself and find helpful ways to respond to challenging situations. Counseling is designed to help a person develop healthy ways to understand and respond to emotional needs and concerns. Counselors don't solve problems, but they provide a safe environment where a person with cancer can talk about his or her concerns. Because counselors are removed from the situation, they provide a helpful, outside perspective.
How counseling helps
There are many ways professional counseling helps a person with cancer. Counseling can be a way for someone to better understand and resolve a pressing issue or concern. Counseling can also help explore longstanding problems unrelated to the disease that may have come to the surface during the cancer experience. In addition, counseling may clarify and prioritize emotional needs that have taken a back seat to other needs and responsibilities.
Here are some ways that counseling can help people with cancer and those who care about them:
- Learn ways to help cope with the cancer diagnosis
- Feel less overwhelmed by the disease and more in control of one's life
- Explore the meaning of the cancer experience
- Manage difficult feelings, such as sadness, depression, and anxiety
- Manage cancer symptoms and treatment side effects, such as pain and fatigue
- Learn how to communicate effectively with the health care team
- Address relationship and financial concerns that are causing distress
- Explore options and get feedback about important decisions
- Talk about concerns after completing cancer treatment
- Learn about community cancer resources
- Learn how to help others understand and adjust to the changes cancer has brought to the family
- Explore and resolve issues related to body image and sexuality as they relate to cancer
When counseling is needed
Counseling may be recommended to deal with emotional distress. While it's normal for a person to have emotional distress while coping with cancer, it's important to seek professional help when the distress is long lasting and interferes with the ability to carry out daily activities. When searching for a counselor, it is important to ask whether the counselor has worked with people with cancer before. Select a counselor who understands the issues and challenges unique to this situation.
Types of counseling
There are different types of counseling services available to help a person with cancer cope with and manage distress. The type of counseling a person chooses may depend on personal preferences and financial resources. Here are some general descriptions of different types of counseling:
Individual counseling is a one-on-one interaction with a counselor to talk about specific feelings, thoughts, and problems that a person is struggling with. The counselor will listen attentively, express caring concerns, ask questions, and offer feedback.
Family counseling includes members of the immediate family and is based on the idea that a person is greatly influenced by his or her family's belief system and culture. A family counselor will help the family look at a situation from a different perspective and try new ways to help and support each other.
Couples counseling is between two people, usually spouses or partners. The counselor listens objectively to both participants and helps identify how specific thoughts and behaviors may contribute to conflict between the couple. Couples can learn new ways to help and support one another during times of stress.
Group counseling is when a group of individuals with similar concerns meets together with a trained counselor. The counselor leads the group sessions and provides support and guidance.
Effectiveness of counseling
Professional counseling often helps a person feel gradual relief from emotional distress, develop more self-assurance, have a greater ability to make decisions, and enjoy an increased comfort in relationships with others. If counseling isn't offering these benefits, it may be helpful to consider whether the topic of discussion, the kind of therapy, or the counseling relationship is working. Talk about the concerns with the counselor, and if necessary, explore other therapy options that may be a better match.