Difficulties frequently arise for children when a family member is diagnosed with cancer. We offer individual support to these children in terms of one-to-one counselling, especially for older children who are able to explore these issues by verbalising their concerns.
Cancer Care West offers therapeutic play skills to complement the support offered to children within our service, following a diagnosis of cancer or a diagnosis within the family. Play therapy uses a variety of play and creative art therapies, including toys, art, therapeutic storytelling, puppets, clay and playdough, and creative visualisation to help children to find a way of speaking about how they are feeling.
With the support of the therapist, therapeutic play provides a safe space, medium and language whereby a child can identify and communicate what they have difficulty articulating, helping the child to identify emotions and explore anxieties, and learn skills to help them cope.
Parents sometimes seek support in terms of advice about how to manage their children at the time of, and following diagnosis. Our team of psycho-oncologists have developed expertise in this area and are available to offer guidelines regarding child management and other concerns that may arise.
CUBS is an online structured bereavement support programme developed for children aged between 8 and 12 years whose parent has died from cancer. Through play and art, children will learn about grief responses and learn how to cope with feelings.
Cancer Care West also offer the CLIMB programme. CLIMB is a programme for children aged five to twelve years who are living with the reality of a parent being diagnosed with cancer. This offers children in this age group the opportunity to come together to explore in a safe way the experience of a parent living with cancer.