Children & Young Adult Counselling
Navigating bumps in the road is all part of normal family life, but can anything be harder than telling your children that you or someone close to them has cancer? How much do you tell them and how might it affect them?
At Wessex Cancer Trust, we understand that cancer can have an impact on your entire family. Alongside our support for adults, we offer free, professional counselling for children and young people affected by cancer to help support them through this difficult time.
Cancer is hard to deal with at any age, but for children and young people, it can be particularly challenging. Counselling can provide an opportunity for them to talk about their feelings and develop a way to cope with what is happening. It’s normal for a parent to want to protect their child, but not opening up at all or not giving them the space to articulate their feelings could be damaging. Likewise, if you do talk to your child about cancer, you may need to be prepared for the fact that they start to hide their feelings because they want to protect you and don’t want to show you how they’re really feeling.
Counselling can be helpful in many situations, including:
- For a child or young person who has a family member with cancer.
- For a child or young person who has recently lost a loved one and is grieving
- A child or young person who has cancer themselves
In our Centres, your whole family can be assured of a warm welcome. All of our counsellors abide by The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy’s Ethical Framework for Good Practice, so you’re in safe hands.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is counselling?
Counselling is a way of exploring feelings in a safe, supportive environment. We usually talk about the issues that your child is facing and sometimes your play equipment or crafts materials to help express themselves.
How can counselling help?
When a child or young person can express and understand their feelings they begin to feel empowered, their self-esteem grows and they become more able to cope with difficult life situations like a cancer diagnosis in the family.
What will happen during a session?
The sessions will last around one hour, but this depends on individual needs. During this time the counsellor will build a trusting relationship with the young client. By building this trust, the child or teenager will start to open up and begin to understand their emotions.
Do you tell me about my child’s sessions?
The sessions are confidential for the child, although the counsellor can tell you how your child is getting on. In agreement with your child this may include advice for you to help support him or her at home. You can contact us with any questions or concerns throughout your child’s counselling.
Where will the counselling take place?
Childs counselling is currently available at our Cancer Support Centres in Chandler’s Ford and Bournemouth, where we have specialist facilities. It may be possible for older children to be seen in our other Centres.
For more information
Sometimes it can be easier for children to talk to someone outside of the family and we’re here to facilitate that. Talking to a counsellor might seem a bit scary but we approach it very gently and help the family decide whether the time is right and what sort of support might be best for them. Children aren’t there to be ‘fixed’ or project managed but supported in a way that helps them make sense of their emotions, and we’re very proud to be able to do that here.Clare, children's counsellor at our Chandler's Ford Centre