Expert Interview- Lesley Mcpherson, counsellor & gestalt therapist

26 Aug 2021

During the diagnosis and ongoing treatment of your cancer, conflict is bound to arise as emotions will be very raw. Managing it will be tricky, as it’s likely that this situation is new to all of those who are involved, including yourself and your loved ones.

I would absolutely suggest that everyone involved seeks out professional advice from a counsellor and/or support group. You don’t have to go it alone. There are many resources available nationwide that are government subsidised and/or free. There are networks, such as Pink Hope, who are there to help all involved.

If conflict arises – and it undoubtedly will – I would suggest that you will have a lot of emotions to deal with. One of which will be guilt, especially if you are the partner or loved one of the person who is unwell.

My advice would be to sit with this – and all the other emotions you are feeling – and let them wash over you. You are experiencing this illness too, just in a different way, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you lash out or snap at someone.

Everyone’s emotions will be running at a higher frequency than usual. Be kind to yourself. This applies to all involved – the person who is unwell and their loved ones. And again, I cannot stress it enough – reach out for help as there are plenty of resources and groups that are willing to assist.

If you are at-risk, or have been diagnosed with cancer, there will undoubtedly be many uncertainties and anxieties that you will face throughout your journey. There are many different strategies that you can implement to help overcome such obstacles, at both long term and key milestones. 

It may also help to seek out a mentor. While I don’t advise comparing your journey, talking to someone who has travelled this path and come out the other end can be a terrific source of strength. Support Groups such as Pink Hope or local breast cancer support groups can be very useful in this regard.