Counselling and Support

Counselling means different things to different people. It can be anything from a cup of tea and a chat with a friend to professional counselling. The aim of professional counselling is to improve your quality of life, and help you cope better with the emotional effects of cancer. Counselling can help ease tensions within the family/whānau and find strategies for coping. It’s also a place to go to ‘off-load’ without upsetting your family/whānau.

In this information when we refer to counselling we mean talking to someone who is professionally trained. The counsellor will:

  • listen to what you are saying
  • help you sort through your feelings and worries
  • provide you with insight into how you are thinking and feeling
  • help you express your emotions in your own way
  • help you work out your own solutions to problems
  • will help you adjust to your situation.

To find a counsellor, talk to your GP, cancer care team, or ring the Cancer Information Helpline on 0800 CANCER (226 237).

Spiritual support

Some people find comfort and strength in their spirituality or religion. You may find your cancer helps you find new faith or strengthens your faith, but it may cause you to lose or question your faith. Religious or spiritual leaders can provide hope and support. For more information read the Information Sheet “Cancer and Spirituality” on the Cancer Society’s website.

Support groups and group education programmes

Research into the effectiveness of cancer support groups has found that joining a group can make you feel less isolated, distressed, depressed and anxious. Support groups can also offer practical suggestions and strategies about ways to cope. Support groups aren’t for everyone, but if you are interested in finding out about the groups and education programmes in your area contact your local Cancer Society

“Being with people who had gone through something similar to me made me feel less isolated and alone.” Ryan

Cancer Connect

Cancer Connect is a peer support programme that puts you in touch with a trained volunteer who has had a similar cancer and treatment. This person may be able to offer you practical advice and emotional support. Call the Cancer Information Helpline 0800 CANCER (226 237) for more information.

“Being able to talk with someone who has experienced cancer is a marvellous feeling. With that person I can be completely honest with my feelings and fears.” Sarah


This is an online support facility on their website. This is a forum where you can:

  • post a message
  • read messages from others
  • read a nurse’s blog or
  • email a nurse.

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