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Counselling for siblings



 

"When a child or young person is diagnosed with cancer the whole family is affected by the diagnosis. Siblings are a huge part of a family dynamic yet are often the last ones to be supported or heard."

 – Sasha, Redkite Social Worker

 

Social worker Sasha

 

 

Redkite Social Worker Sasha talks about the benefits of face-to-face counselling sessions and support for siblings of children and young people diagnosed with cancer.

 

What do you enjoy about working with siblings?

The siblings I support are usually teenagers or young adults; their responses are natur ally different to those of children. But regardless of age, there are some common themes that come up.

 

It’s often the first time that someone has acknowledged how they are feeling, that they have valid feelings and losses too. Siblings are often referred to as the invisible mourners, often unseen and unheard – second place to their parents. They can feel disenfranchised by this as a result. Supporting and listening to siblings is a way of validating their role in the cancer experience.

 

Listening to them is empowering for them, giving them a voice and allowing them to express their concerns and their feelings, giving them the support that they so rightly deserve. 

What are some common themes that come up when you talk with a sibling?

There are a range of emotions that siblings can feel when they talk about their diagnosed brother or sister. These include, but are not limited to: guilt, anger, jealousy, loss, fear and confusion. 

What would you like siblings to know?

Counselling for siblings

Everyone in the family is affected by a cancer diagnosis. This is really tough on you too. Redkite are here to support you through this experience. 

What are the benefits of face-to-face counselling? Why would you recommend face-to-face counselling?

For teenagers and young adults facing a sibling’s cancer, a face-to-face counselling session is a completely private and confidential setting. It allows you to engage fully and explore different aspects of your experience, situation and feelings.

It’s an environment that lends itself towards talking

 freely and openly, in a way that’s often not possible with family and friends.

 

Face-to-face sessions take place in a safe and secure space. You can take time out from the day to concentrate on your needs and thoughts, away from distractions. The addition of non-verbal communication, such as body language, can be reassuring for many people. It’s also a good way to get away from the home or hospital environment.

 

To find out more about support for siblings of all ages, and free counselling options, contact us on 1800 REDKITE (1800 733 548) or support@redkite.org.au