Counselling can help carers in many ways. While there is often practical support available for carers, psychological support and help understanding the personal and inter-personal processes difficulties encountered in caring can be difficult to find. As an ex-carer I know that support in this area can make a big difference in the quality of life for both the carer and the person being cared for.
There are several areas where counselling can help support carers
- Providing a confidential and non-judgemental space where carers can voice their emotions and be open about what they want, need and feel.
- Provide reassurance and understanding around the sometimes confusing and conflicting emotions that caring brings up.
- A place to explore how to get one's needs met while caring and explore how to move forward in life, work and relationships.
- A space to explore how caring is affecting personal relationships and family dynamics.
- A place to learn more about how to handle the difficult personal and interpersonal conflicts that caring can trigger.
- Somewhere to talk through the emotions and process of choosing when and how to make the choice to stop caring and move the cared for person into a different caring environment
- A place to grieve for what is already lost and prepare for the possibility of death
There are several strands to my work with carers.
- Psycho-education to help the carer understand the emotions they are experiencing and the possible drivers behind interactions with the person they care for and other family members.
- Support through the complex emotions aroused in caring. Grief, Anger, Depression, Loneliness, Anxiety and sometimes Joy are all heightened by the caring experience. Sometimes culturally difficult issues around money, sexuality, abuse, and power dynamics arise when a family member succumbs to an illness, particularly illnesses like Dementia.
- Support through the decision process around placing the person you care for in a home. This can be a particularly difficult time for carers. Letting go of caring comes with many issues, grief and guilt being particularly prevalent. Family conflict often occurs at this time with non-carer family members becoming involved in the decision without having been involved in caring. There is also the issue of letting go of the often culturally and socially acceptable role of carer and re-entering a non-caring life.
- Managing relationships with other carers. If the condition is progressive, additional help is often needed. Knowing when to ask for help and working out what help you need and negotiating with family members, friends and paid carers to get that help can be a fraught process. Selecting additional carers and managing them is often something that carers are doing for the first time. Having been through this process I understand how emotionally draining this can be. Having someone independent to talk things through with can be a significant help.
I cared for my Alzheimer father for several years until he needed the specialist environment of a care home. If you are caring for a family member with Alzheimers my personal experiences and TA training may be able to help you navigate the difficult processes involved in caring and also help you explore the difficult decisions that inevitably come with the territory.
If you feel you need support please contact me to arrange an introductory session. This session can be over the phone, online or face to face