Professional counselling and therapy
Coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis can be a stressful time involving a range of emotional, social and psychological changes. Adjusting to these changes can be a huge challenge for the person with cancer, as well as those around them. Lifehouse provides the following support services for those affected by cancer (including their families and carers) during this stressful time.
Our psycho-oncology service provides a range of counselling and therapeutic support services to help patients, carers and their families who are having difficulties associated with a cancer diagnosis, treatment, survivorship or palliative care.
Some ways we can help:
- Counselling for grief, loss or interpersonal concerns.
- Managing ongoing emotional distress.
- Dealing with reactions to illness such as anxiety or depression.
- Coping with treatment issues such as a fear of needles.
- Pain management strategies.
- Dealing with body image and sexuality concerns.
- Navigating complex relationship dynamics.
- Talking to children about cancer.
Our psycho-oncology team is staffed by counsellors and clinical psychologists who have experience helping a wide range of people affected by a diagnosis of cancer. You can contact the team on (02) 8514 0025.
Clinical psychologists provide psychological treatment and support for patients, their carers and families who may be experiencing distress from anxiety, panic, phobias, depression and other adjustment issues related to living with cancer.
- Dr Toni Lindsay (doctorate clinical & health psychology) – Clinical Psychologist
Toni Lindsay is a Clinical Psychologist who has been working in the field of oncology and haematology for approximately eight years. She completed her training in clinical psychology in 2009 and has been working at RPA/Chris O’Brien Lifehouse ever since. Toni works with patients of all ages, including children and adults, but has a particular interest in working with adolescents and young adults. Toni regularly attends professional development activities to keep up to date with changes in practice, and is the chair of the adolescent and young adult group at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. Toni works with a range of therapies including cognitive behaviour therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy as well as existential therapy. She is currently the Acting Team Leader for the psycho-oncology service.
Psychiatrists are also available to assist those who require intensive treatment or medications to manage high levels of distress, depression and anxiety.
Our Psycho-Oncology counselling service provides psychological treatment and support for patients, their carers and families who may be experiencing distress from anxiety, panic, phobias, depression and other adjustment issues related to living with cancer.
Social workers also provide emotional support through counselling and other services. They can also help with practical issues like accommodation, transport, legal and financial matters, and accessing community and government support.
Helping young people with cancer
Sarcoma and the Adolescent and Young Adult team
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be stressful at any age, but for our younger patients it can raise a particular set of questions. Will I ever be okay? Am I the only one?
At Chris O’Brien Lifehouse we have a special Adolescent and Young Adult team that works with people between 15 and 29 years old to help them adjust to the changes a diagnosis can bring.
One of the more common cancers of people in this age group are sarcomas, a group of cancers that start in the bones or the soft tissues. While it only affects around 1% of adults with cancer, it is much more prevalent in younger people and our Adolescent and Young Adult team sees many of our sarcoma patients.
The most frequently asked question our sarcoma patients ask is, did I do something wrong to cause this? And the answer is no; it does not come from eating the wrong food or from not exercising enough. Also, and really importantly, when our young patients ask this question it gives them an opportunity to explore some of the issues around it, from reactions to the illness such as anxiety or depression to dealing with body image and sexuality concerns.
The questions our young patients ask might start out the same but the discussions will always be different. The members of our Adolescent and Young Adult team are expertly trained to help.