Onco Life Hospitals

Professional Counsellors: An Emotional Support, A Positive Difference


“When I was diagnosed, I was amazed by how little I knew about cancer and how unprepared my family and I were. Thank God for Counselling – it gave me the strength to carry on.” – Sumitra Basu, Cancer survivor

Cancer. Right from the time a patient is diagnosed with it, it intrudes upon his or her mental balance, in ways one can’t fathom. The symptoms and side effects aren’t just physical, but emotional and psychological as well. This impacts not just the patients but also those who are close to them. While doctors and physicians can look into the physical aspects, there’s yet another support system that cancer patients can look up to – the Cancer Counsellor, who helps them navigate and deal with this emotional roller-coaster in an effective manner.

When it comes to best-in-class Cancer Treatment in Pune, Onco Life Cancer Centre has always been at the forefront of both treatment and counselling. Our counselling department plays a key role in integrating patients with their relatives, care providers as well as other patients and survivors of cancer.

What is Counselling?

Counselling is a process where a therapist and patient engage in a one-to-one interaction. The therapist enables the patient to talk about the issues or emotional difficulties bothering them. Through this process of expressing thoughts and feelings which are often difficult and filled with anxiety, sadness and concern – the therapist is able to understand the patient better and propose a way of dealing with the changes brought about by cancer.

How should a Counsellor be?

It is critical that the Cancer Care Counsellor is compassionate, non-judgemental, understanding, full of emotional warmth and last but not the least, honours confidentiality. So if you’re looking for a Cancer Specialist in Pune, ensure you also check on the Counselling Department’s credentials. At Onco Life Cancer Centre, you’re assured of only the best services from the best-trained professionals.

How can Counselling help?

Coming to terms with cancer is terrifying for both the patient and the family. The patient feels that he or she doesn’t want to burden your family and friends with their problems and fears. The family is unable to understand how to help the patient, without making him or her feel like a ‘sympathy case’. Anxiety, fear and hopelessness envelope the patient, which are detrimental in effective oncology treatment. Is there a way out? Yes. Does the patient have to face everything on their own? No. Counselling can help.

Professional Counsellors are highly experienced and capable professionals who help cancer patients and their families deal with the many emotional issues that cancer can cause. They are trained to listen to the patient and respond to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual problems they may face. Research shows that counselling can help patients manage the irrational beliefs and negative thoughts that are an automatic response to the disease. A lot of it also influences the compliance to the treatment.

There’s also evidence that certain methods of counselling can help people deal with certain phobias like, the fear of injections or being confined to a small space during an MRI scan. Adaptive mechanisms help cope with cancer diagnosis, as well as control the mind and thoughts. It can also help manage cancer treatment side-effects, such as perceived pain, chemo-induced nausea, vomiting and fatigue.

Apart from this, counsellors also address issues like financial problems, relationship issues, body imagery, sexuality, intimacy, cancer myths and misconceptions, concerns about what comes post-treatment and fear of recurrence and existential issues.

What happens in a Counselling session?
At Onco Life Cancer Centre, we always create a safe and confidential environment during the counselling session. The patient is encouraged to express difficult feelings that may be confusing or stressful to him. This act of focusing on uncomfortable emotions or experiences in a non-judgmental space enables our patients to see things more clearly and encourages positive changes in them, so as to help them gain control over their lives.

What should you look for in a Cancer Counsellor?

While there are no official rules or regulations regarding the level of training a Cancer Counsellor needs, it is highly recommended that you check to see if your therapist belongs to a relevant professional organisation that specialises in cancer care. At Onco-Life Cancer Centre, the counselling department plays a crucial role in creating seamless interactions between patients and their families, care givers and the society at large. Some of our services include pre and post counselling for chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and bone marrow transplant, as well as group and individual counselling, family and couples counselling, survival counselling, preventive and lifestyle-change related counselling, comprehensive breast care counselling and tobacco cessation counselling.

Ultimately, what’s important to remember is that talking may not be able to heal physical illness, but it can help the patient come to terms with what’s happening around him or her. So, if you or your loved one needs professional counselling, never hesitate to look for help. We’re always here for you.

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