Childhood adversity may take many forms, including: physical, verbal and sexual abuse; physical and emotional neglect; rejection and abandonment; witnessing domestic violence; drug and alcohol misuse in the home; chronic ill health of self, siblings or care-givers; medical trauma; bereavement; parental separation and divorce; unpredictable care-giving or living arrangements; experiences of the care system; the ‘privileged abandonment’ of boarding school; bullying, within and outside the home; pressure to ‘achieve’; chronic loneliness.
Suppressed fear, anger, grief, loneliness and other forms of emotional pain associated with such childhood experiences can have lifelong physical and psychological repercussions, affecting our relationship with ourselves and our relationships with others.
I am experienced in working with clients affected by cancer. As a volunteer counsellor with the charity Sunflowers in Liverpool, I have supported patients, survivors, family members, carers and the bereaved.
I understand that it may be hard to talk about the complex and often traumatic experience of cancer diagnosis. Moreover, medical specialists are not necessarily experts in the psychological challenges of living with and beyond cancer - often a difficult, ongoing emotional process, and one which may deeply impact closest relationships.
Later life brings many challenges yet older adults’ mental health is often overlooked. Depression, anxiety and loneliness are common yet fewer older adults get the support they need compared to younger age groups (BACP, April 2020).
My work with older adults includes bereavement and other losses, reflections on past experiences and life choices, fears about illness and death and the challenges of living meaningfully in the second half of life.
I have undertaken research into the menopause and Female Midlife Transition, a complex stage of life when hormones fluctuate, bodies change and illness may set in. This is a time when children leave home, relationships may break up, parents may die and job and other opportunities may feel limited. We may lose hopes and dreams and we may have cause to reflect on our life choices and past experiences as we worry about our future. The world may treat us differently too - ageist attitudes can undermine confidence and render us undervalued or invisible in a world where youth is revered. Any of these can leave us feeling confused, overwhelmed, anxious or sad and counselling can offer a non-judgmental, empathic space in which to explore these feelings and address evolving needs.
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