LCC Director Julie Sale Edits the June 2015 Edition of UKCP Journal The Psychotherapist

We are very proud to announce that our very own Julie Sale, LCC Director, is the Guest Editor of the June publication of UKCP’s journal The Psychotherapist. This edition focuses on sex and relationship therapy, one of LCC’s specialist areas of expertise. The Guest Editor role involved Julie identifying authors to write articles on themes relevant to sex and relationship therapy and working closely with them to produce contributions that the wider therapy community would appreciate.

Of the project Julie says ‘This was actually great fun and right up my street. My first degree is in English literature and I have always loved writing and reading. Being in contact with so many leading thinkers in our profession and working with them to produce such interesting articles was a complete joy. I sincerely hope that the UKCP community enjoy this edition and find some relevance for their clinical work’.

The journal is free to read online here The Psychotherapist.

If any of the themes of this journal affect you and you would like to speak to a professional do not hesitate to contact us on 01462 674671 or email in complete confidence hello@localcounsellingcentre.co.uk.

For more information on LCC’s services go to www.localcounsellingcentre.co.uk 

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Jo Coker, LCC Director, writes on #CarersWeek

I first met Anne three years ago. She was a very fit 70-year-old woman who lived alone and told me that she was totally exhausted. For 7 years she had been looking after her daughter, Gemma, and 17-year-old granddaughter, Lucy, following Gemma’s diagnosis with aggressive breast cancer. Sadly, her son-in-law found the whole process of the diagnosis and treatment too much to bear, and following a very severe depression, had left the family. This meant that much of the burden of care and finance had fallen on Anne. Increasingly Lucy, as she got older, was helping with her mother’s care and was classified as a young carer.

With Gemma terminally ill, Anne struggled with her emotions as she faced losing her much-loved daughter, supporting Lucy and the sheer physical aspects of Gemma’s illness and care. She told me that the nights were the worst as it was the only time she could think and that sometimes these thoughts were very bleak. In particular she worried about the future and her physical and mental ability to care for Lucy as she got older. Anne said that Lucy was wonderful in helping care for Gemma, but she was concerned about the impact that this role would have on her in the future.

Anne and young Lucy are part of the army of carers in the UK. It is estimated that 10% of the population are carers, though typically it takes two years for people to recognize that they are in the role of being a carer. Carers come from all walks of life, cultures and can be any age, they provide unpaid support to family members, neighbours or friends who otherwise would not be able to manage alone. Their unselfish actions save the country a massive amount of money so it is only right that in #CarersWeek we celebrate their selfless actions and offer some helpful tips on how to cope.

  • Most counties offer local countywide carers support information websites, which have useful information and guidance on benefits, respite care and support groups. As well as social events targeted specifically for those who are caring and who are young carers. There is also psychological support available, so contact them and get some much-needed help.
  • Tell your GP. Very often GP’s do not know a person is a carer. Telling them will enable them to also offer support and practical help.
  • Do not rebuff offers of help. Many people like to help and support carers in their role, so if someone offers to sit while you go out for a few well-earned hours, take them up on it.
  • Think about what you need in life, failing to take care of your needs can lead to resentment, so if a daily walk or swim makes you a happier, better carer investigate how you can accomplish this.
  • Keep healthy yourself! Watch your diet and lifestyle. It is easy to seek comfort through food or drink, have treats but do not become reliant on them.
  • Look after your psychological health. If you need some counselling then seek it out. There are many low cost services, Local Counselling Centre, some of which will provide home visits or online help.
  • Reach out to others in a similar position. They will have tips and will be able to offer support also. Joining a forum can be really helpful and can be done from home.

Anne and Lucy received much needed support and respite from their local carers group and also Macmillan Nurses, who enabled them to care for Gemma until her death. Both were provided with ongoing psychological support and are coping well a year on. Lucy has just started her second year studying Medicine at University and wants to be an Oncologist. It would seem her role as a carer did have a lasting effect, but a positive one!

If you are struggling as a carer contact Local Counselling Centre and speak to one of our specialist therapists. Sessions are available from just £15.00. Contact LCC on 01462-674671

Help! I need someone to look after me! Verity Lewis, LCC Registered Therapist, shares her experiences of being a carer on the lead up to #carersweek

I take care of my elderly mum and am more than happy to do so because I love her and she is inspirational. My mum is over 90 years old, takes millions of medications for chronic conditions (requiring very many hospital appointments), can’t go out on her own, has short-term memory loss and is unsteady on her feet. However, for all that, she is pretty independent – she washes and dresses herself and can cook a meal for herself if required. This detail is relevant only because it places me, firmly on the “light duties” end of the caring spectrum.

But despite my caring responsibilities being so much less onerous than those of many other carers I know how hard it can be to care for oneself at the same time as looking after someone else.

For example, it is really hard to plan – as my mother’s health needs may require an unexpected Dr’s visit. I am constantly re-organising my personal diary commitments for this reason. A recent experience where I was quite ill also showed how sometimes carers need a carer too. All I wanted to do was to lie down and rest and wait for the antibiotics to work. Instead, I spent the night nursing mum, who had brought home an unwanted gift from the hospital in the form of the vomiting bug.

Prioritising someone else’s needs when you are desperate to take care of your own is an all too familiar feeling for many carers. But even here I have an advantage over many – as a Human Givens Psychotherapist I understand what I can do to help myself feel a sense of emotional well-being. I know that if I ignore these things I could become anxious, depressed or develop unhealthy habits.

So how can we carers, invest in our own emotional well-being? In short, and although it may be easier said than done, we can pay attention to our own needs as well as those of the person we care for.

Some of the things that I do include: carving out some private time where I focus on and spend time with myself. Doing this allows me to have a sense of control when otherwise, how my time is spent is determined by my mother’s needs.

I have some fun with others (where people pay attention to me (and where I am not doing all the “attention-giving”); I do an activity I enjoy that gives me a sense of achievement and I stay in contact with friends who accept me for who I am (and don’t just see me as a carer).

While the “how” of paying attention to yourself may often be a challenge, the “what” is fairly simple. And in the long run caring for ourselves makes us better able to care for the people we love.

If you are a carer who needs someone to care for them contact Local Counselling Centre. Sessions start from just £15.