A Counsellors Story
Team SuperJosh provide a support package around our families going through traumatic and life-threatening illnesses.
We help with a whole range of help options, arguably one of the most important is our counselling support.
To help describe the bigger picture of how our counselling helps, we spoke to one of our team of #SuperJosh Counsellors; Zoe Hanwell-Purves.
Zoe is a qualified Counsellor who has worked with many of our families for over two years. Zoe works across the whole of the North-West visiting families in their homes, at Royal Manchester, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital & Hospices or local hotels, wherever the family feels most comfortable.
Who do you work with?
I am a qualified family Counsellor which means I can work with the whole family, either together or individually. I usually work with the main care giver, which is often (although not always) the mother. If there are siblings involved, we will often set up play-therapy for the kids while I chat with the parents.
Why did you get involved with the charity?
I’m really passionate about counselling and the difference it can make to the lives of those who are suffering a great deal. I am truly impressed with the approach of the #SuperJosh charity, right from the start Dawn (Charity Founder) expressed the need to help these families for as long as they needed that support.
Unlike the NHS, that will often just offer a six-week course of counselling we can, and do, go well beyond that – giving the families access to our support for as long as they need it.
Be it six weeks, six months or further.
Another important part of the #SuperJosh service is the fact that we are available twenty-four-seven. If a family member needs to talk or would like us to come and visit, out of traditional ‘office hours’ we can and will do that. I have been called out in the small hours to visit a family and provide support at their local hospice where their child was a patient.
This all adds up to an amazing service and an amazing charity for people that are truly in need, usually at the darkest times in their lives. I’m proud to be a part of this charity for that reason, it’s wonderful to see what a difference our work can make.
Why is counselling so important?
Even in the strongest and close knit of families it can be tough for family members to open up to each other when they are experiencing severe trauma, such as the terminal illness of a child. Often, they don’t want to open up as they know other family members are experiencing their own journey though the trauma, this is where we come in.
We are able to listen, free from judgement and allow the parent to truly express themselves, often they can experience feelings of failure, as though this has been brought on a result of something they have done or not done. We can work through those feelings providing reassurance and perspective enabling those feelings to subside.
We are highly trained and understand the treatments and protocols that the families will be working through with their child. Understanding the steps, the family is taking on their journey allows us to provide the support they need at each step.
Often a family will need us when they are trying to return to ‘normal life’ picking the pieces up after their child has recovered from a very serious illness. This can be a very difficult time as everything in their lives has been put on hold during their child’s illness; relationships, jobs, self-care all take a backseat and picking that back up again and starting over is not an easy task. Again, we talk through this and discuss coping strategies and provide practical advice.
What message do you have for those thinking about supporting the charity?
The work we are doing is absolutely crucial.
All too often when a child is very poorly their family’s mental health is not a consideration, this can lead to the breakdown of relationships and the break-up of families, all at a time when they need each other the most.
The #SuperJosh charity provide whatever the family need to help them get through this time of severe trauma. There is no time limit on that and no scrimping on the types of support that would help.
There are lots of ways you can get involved and support the charity, find out more.