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Whether you are directly or indirectly affected by cancer our free Cancer Counselling Service offers you an opportunity to discuss your cancer experience and its impact on your life.

Our professional counsellors are experienced in helping people affected by cancer and can help you learn new ways to manage stress, set personal goals and develop ways to achieve them, or find ways to talk to family and friends about your concerns.

You can speak to our counsellors in person or over the phone at any stage of your cancer experience.

You don’t need to be undertaking treatment to attend, as sometimes difficult emotions emerge after treatment has finished.

The Cancer Counselling Service is staffed by counsellors who are eligible for membership of either the Australian Psychological Society (APS), the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) or the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).

Most people will experience strong emotions after a cancer diagnosis, not only when they first hear that the have cancer, but also at various times during and after treatment and.

Your emotions may include disbelief, fear, sadness, anxiety and anger and may even include relief that you have an answer to why you have been feeling unwell. At times, it may feel like you’re on an emotional roller-coaster. There is no right way to feel – having a range of emotions is normal.

Everyone is different, and you need to deal with the diagnosis in your own way. It may be reassuring to know that your reactions are natural, there are different ways to manage the emotional impact, and support is available.

Through discussions with a counsellor or psychologist, you can identify both positive and troubling aspects in your life. You can focus on your goals, your relationships or particular challenges you are facing. Counselling allows you to explore ways of resolving negative thoughts and feelings that impact on your health and day-to-day life.

Counselling allows you to identify, understand and express your emotions, motivations, life choices and behaviours in a safe, objective and confidential environment. It can help with self-esteem, communication and relationships.

Counselling appointments are available face to face at our Eastwood office, or through Telehealth, via video call or telephone support. No matter where you live, you receive support from a counsellor.

Many people find that they cope better than expected with some aspects of the cancer experience, but are surprised by how difficult other aspects turn out to be.

You can access our counselling service at any stage of your experience with cancer.

  • Diagnosis – often an overwhelming time and sometimes hard to believe what is happening.
  • Treatment decisions – it’s common to feel confused and anxious about treatments, side effects and how your life will change
  • During treatment – treatment can be physically demanding and disrupt your usual routine. It may be challenging juggling treatment, as well as dealing with other practical issues such as work, family and finances.
  • Treatment side effects – side effects can make it harder to cope emotionally, while emotional distress may make the physical side effects worse.
  • After treatment – this can be a time of adjustment as you reassess priorities and come to the terms with any long-term impacts. It is common to feel concerned about the cancer coming back, especially when you have follow up tests.
  • Advanced cancer – it can be devastating to be told that the cancer is advanced or has returned after initial treatment.

No, the service is available to carers, family members and close friends. Your emotional reaction may be different to  that of your loved one. As a support person, it is important to look after your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Give yourself some time out and share your concerns with someone neutral such as a counsellor.

  • Please call 131120 and speak to a Cancer Council Nurse. The nurse will ask you some questions to work out whether our service is the one best suited for you at that time. If appropriate, they can refer to our counsellors. Once the referral has been made, one of the counsellors will contact you to arrange an appointment time.

 

  • Ask your GP for suggestions, as you may be eligible for a Medicare rebate for some psychological services.
  • You can also visit psychology.org.au and use the “Find a Psychologist” search to look for a practitioner in your area.
  • Online self-help programs or smartphone apps can help you track how you’re feeling, and most are free to download.
  • Talk to your specialist or treatment team. You may be able to access psychological support through your treatment centre.
  • Talk to someone else who has shared a similar experience, over the phone, face to face or online. Call 13 11 20 to find out more about these options.
  • For 24 hours crisis support call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36.

We're here.

For more information or to make an appointment, call Cancer Council 13 11 20.


Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been shown to be helpful for many people to manage emotions associated with cancer.  There are many aspects of mindfulness – living in the present moment, engaging fully with what you are doing rather than ‘getting lost’ in your thoughts.

You can talk about mindfulness with any of our counsellors.

A Code of Ethics governing each profession is available at:

On March 14th 2013, a Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners came into force, outlining requirements that apply to all counsellors in South Australia, including those in the Cancer Counselling Service.