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Counselling and Bereavement services

Sarah Kelly talks about finding meaning and learning to cope in challenging times with the support of Bereavement and Counselling support.

By Wendy Sharpe · 26 August 2022

Please note, this is an archive news article from Peace Hospice Care.

sarah kellySarah Kelly is a counsellor at Peace Hospice Care, having first joined in 2006 to gain experience at the start of her counselling career. Here, she talks about how the Hospice has supported her throughout her journey and how important the Hospice’s Bereavement and Counselling service is:

I joined Peace Hospice Care as a volunteer bereavement counsellor to gain necessary counselling experience back when I was first qualifying for one of my diplomas. After around five years, I had a little break and went back to working in the commercial world for some time. Just before Covid struck, I had taken the decision to retire from the corporate world and return to counselling – so I got in touch with the team at the Hospice, and after an interview, I returned as a volunteer counsellor in 2019, working in the Bereavement and Counselling service.

Soon after re-joining as a volunteer counsellor, the Hospice sponsored me through the IAPT programme and I qualified last year. IAPT – Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, is an NHS approved intervention for people with common mental health issues. It is person-centred, short-term experiential counselling which can be life-changing.

I also opted to undertake a higher level of diploma which allowed me to open my own private practice. I now have a blended approach between my private practice and working at the Hospice which provides a good balance to my work.

We are an organisation that cares for patients and families with life-limiting illnesses, and as depression and anxiety are two of the key markers in bereavement, I think it’s so important that we offer this kind of counselling support. Often today, families are scattered and individuals may not have the infrastructure in place to be able to talk to family or friends. So, to have a free counselling service allows them to talk openly in a safe environment, and to explore any of the issues they have, is vital. The emotional rollercoaster people go through with loss and bereavement is immense, and the emotions can be overwhelming. We are there to help people understand why they are feeling the way they are, to be able to cope, and to start to work on ways to help find meaning in the person’s new life and in the lives of those who have now departed.

The Counselling & Bereavement service is hugely varied and we get a lot of referrals and see as many people as we can. We offer warm, person centred counselling and deliver a brilliant service for the community. This is how I see what the Hospice is all about – outreaching into the community and providing somewhere where someone can go, for free, to receive high quality care.

Counselling is all about building relationships with people, and after my career in the corporate world, I saw it as a place where I could give back and get some value in a different way. It grounds me and I value it intensely – that relationship between client and therapist is really unique. Every person that walks in to the room is different, every issue is challenging and to be able to help someone work through that and walk out the door in a better place is hugely rewarding.