For conflicted people who are having a hard time processing their chaotic emotions, counseling is always the best solution in controlling and responding to the demands of life in healthy, non-destructive ways.
But don’t expect counselors or therapists to solve your problems for you; it doesn’t work that way. Yes, “It’s true that therapy isn’t for everyone and it’s not a magic cure. You still must be proactive and be willing to do the work to improve your situation.” Daisy Chow, LPC, NCC said. They do, however, provide a safe space for people who are going through a rough time, who want to air out their concerns. Counseling is also finding a trained professional to provide unbiased feedback and suggest effective treatment modalities. For this reason, cancer patients are recommended to seek help from counselors who specialize in oncology cases.
Cancer patients can choose from different forms of counseling based on their preferences, finances, and needs. The common counseling types are:
- Individual Counseling
For cancer patients who want a more private conversation, individual counseling is the best option. Usually, there are those who are more comfortable sharing their grievances, situations, and emotions with just the counselor. But Elana Schechtman-Gil LMFT reminds everyone that “The foundation of therapy is based on the relationship you build with your therapist. When seeking someone out it’s important you feel comfortable with them ”
During individual counseling, the counselor will ask a couple of personal questions, then he or she would listen to what is being shared, express concern, and offer feedback. Feedbacks would also include suggesting treatment methods that can help with the person’s mental health.
- Group Counseling
Technically, group counseling consists of a number of people who have similar problems that meet together to share and discuss situations that pertain to that particular issue. Most of the time, counselors will initiate the discourse then after each member has aired out their thoughts and feelings, guidance and support will be provided. The good thing about group therapies is that cancer patients who feel lonely or are leaning towards depression would realize that they are not the only one fighting a difficult battle. Group counseling provides insight and comfort from its members. “By building a list of people that you trust, with whom you can talk to in times of need, you allow yourself a strong sense of not being alone.” David Klow, a licensed therapist explains.
- Family Or Couples Counseling
Cancer patients are not the only ones who are mentally and emotionally affected. People who are surrounding them, especially partners and family members, also suffer from the effects of the condition on their relationship and connection. During family or couples counseling, the counselor would allow everyone to speak up and share their experiences or whatever pent-up emotions they have. Counselors are keen on finding out specific reactions and thoughts that increase the level of stress and conflict between members of the family.
Issues Tackled During Counseling
People often wonder how counseling can help with their issues especially those who are struggling with the effects of cancer. Some of the problems or challenges that are tackled during sessions are:
- Exploring what cancer has taught you
- Determine ways on how to cope with the diagnosis to make patients feel in control and less overwhelmed
- Contemplate on workplace strategies and issues
- Manage symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment
- Help develop coping mechanisms for anxiety and depression
- Learn effective communication with the medical team
- Address concerns about finances and relationships
- Teaches the patient’s family how to adjust and understand routine changes caused by a cancer diagnosis
When To Ask For Help
The feeling of despair and distress are normal reactions to the realization of a cancer diagnosis. But if the feeling does not go away after a couple of weeks, counseling must be taken into consideration. Seeking professional help is vital for cancer patients’ mental health and also necessary in learning effective ways to cope with the condition and not interfere with life’s routines.
Remember, you always have the option to ask for help especially if you feel hopeless and helpless. Living life with cancer is challenging, but if you know where to turn to, you’ll find comfort amidst the condition.