The Importance of Counselling for Carers
When you board a plane the flight attendant instructs you to “put your oxygen mask on first,” before helping others. This is because if you run out of oxygen yourself, you can’t help anyone else with their oxygen mask. Likewise, you can’t help others for very long if you don’t take care of yourself first. Counselling for carers is not a ‘luxury’- it is vitally important means of support that helps to ensure your own wellbeing and that your mental health is kept in check.
Caring for another person can be due to all manner of reasons from health to finances and everything in between. Carers can be any age and be full time, part time or intermittent. Some people find themselves needing to care for a spouse in illness or old age, whilst some children have to care for their parents, grandparents or siblings. Some parents might need to care for children who are physically or emotionally dependent on them well into old age, whilst others might find themselves providing emotional care for individuals whose family are hostile about their gender, sexuality or partner.
Currently there are 6.5million caregivers in the UK (1 in 8 people) and this is thought to rise by 40% by 2037. One thing that all carers have in common, is the reality that their well-being and needs are hugely compromised in favour of the person/s they are caring for.
When you talk to a counsellor you will get the chance to explore your feelings, including your relationship with the person you care for. Counselling for carers offers a supportive, safe and confidential environment to vent any feelings, or grievances, and to develop coping strategies for you. When you speak with a counsellor it is confidential – and what is discussed stays in the room and not shared elsewhere. Counselling provides carers with an opportunity to share thoughts and fears with a non-judgmental professional who in turn will offer acceptance and empathy.
Why Carer Counselling is Important
It is common for carers to have had their situation thrust upon them, often unexpectedly. When retirement dreams together are threatened or cut short, or future plans for a child are proving distorted in reality, it can lead to feelings of resentment or loss.
Caring for someone else can be incredibly stressful. When the wellbeing and health of another person relies entirely on us, we can feel suffocated and under pressure. The constant management of hospital appointments, medication and personal care can be exhausting. One client shared that her husband had become so dependent and attached to her that every time she went to the bathroom her husband reacted catastrophically. This level of constant anxiety and stress weighs heavily on carers and can negatively affect mental health.
The term “compassion fatigue” is used when caregivers begin to develop symptoms as an indirect response to the suffering they witness.
Carer therapy can prove an oasis of calm when your life as a carer is otherwise hectic and stressful. It gives you space to breath, to feel valid, and to finally feel that someone is listening.
Managing Being a Carer
Juggling the responsibilities of a carer with those of everyday life can be difficult. Caring for another person whilst trying to manage work or family life can sometimes be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. For many carers an enormous amount of time is spent thinking about and caring for another person which leaves little time to focus on their own wellbeing.
Emotional-charged decisions are sometimes necessary when you become a carer. Enormous choices about day care, home care, respite, finances or residential care can sometimes cause rifts in families. This discord can cause no end of heartache and pain for those involved, sometimes pulling families apart and causing stress, anxiety and depression for everyone involved.
Accessible Counselling for Carers
When you are caring for someone else you might not have the time to pursue your own career or earn a decent wage due to your responsibilities towards the person you care for. You might have to pay for hospital parking, assistive equipment, increased household bills and so much more. You might need help with finding out what your rights are as a carer, or how to access carer’s allowances.
Your finances might not stretch far, and so counselling might seem a ‘luxury’ that is out of reach. Far from being self-indulgent, finding a professional counsellor who can listen to you and give you coping strategies to handle the stresses of caring can often be a necessary lifeline.
Whilst some love the chance to talk in a safe space away from the home, many carers are restricted on time, can’t ‘escape’, and don’t have much space between work/ caring/life to dedicate time (even an hour a month) to themselves. This is where our online counselling can help. Offering both online and telephone counselling offers carers the flexibility to access counselling at a time and place to suit them.
Here at Simply Counselling we pride ourselves on making our counselling accessible to all so please get in touch and let us see how we can help you.
Our dedicated counsellors are thoroughly trained in helping carers and have many years of experience in offering counselling for carers. Get in touch with our team today to get the support you deserve.