Relationship Support Service
Are you experiencing changes to your relationship with a partner because of a brain tumour?
Do you feel you need support to help start a new relationship or keep your current relationship on track?
If so, you don’t have to try to cope with this alone. We’re here for you.
Good quality relationships matter for our health, even affecting survival and quality of life. But a brain tumour diagnosis can put a strain on even the healthiest of relationships and make it harder to start new relationships.
Our Losing Myself report found that 2 in 3 people felt their diagnosis had a negative impact on their relationship with their partner. And 72% of the respondents said it had affected physical intimacy.
That’s why we’ve partnered with Relate, the leading relationships charity in England and Wales, to deliver a free counselling service for UK-based couples and individuals whose relationship has been affected by a brain tumour.
If someone is looking for practical or emotional relationship advice, I can’t recommend it highly enough to help navigate the tricky ways in which a brain tumour diagnosis can impact on a relationship.
Ed from Kent was diagnosed with a Grade 4 glioblastoma in June 2018 after he collapsed at work. He and his wife have recently been using the relationship service the Charity offers in partnership with Relate to help support him as a husband and father.
“My wife and I had been together for 10 years when I was diagnosed. Until then, our relationship had been so carefree. From day one, we knew that we had a long-term future together and we had a good grasp of what we both wanted that to look like too. However, my diagnosis threw all that into question overnight. We did still get married just nine months later and we soon welcomed our first child after going through IVF.
“The diagnosis really changed how I viewed myself and how I felt that other people saw me too. All of a sudden, I needed help and support to complete what should be really simple tasks. I thought that I had become a burden – someone who needed caring for – and it really knocked my confidence. This resulted in a total lack of interest in the physical side of a relationship.
“The relationship service with Relate was so empathetic. I quickly built a rapport with a professional ear which gave me the confidence to discuss in detail the emotional and practical barriers which were creating the issues in my relationship. We talked openly and real effort was made to understand my situation, offer practical solutions and also understand that sometimes maybe I didn’t want to talk.
“If someone is looking for practical or emotional relationship advice, I can’t recommend it highly enough to help navigate the tricky ways in which a brain tumour diagnosis can impact on a relationship.”
Our free counselling service is here to support you, whether you just want to check in to help keep your relationship on track or you feel like you’re really struggling. And you can access it as an individual or as a couple – it’s up to you.
So if you want support with your relationship, have questions, or simply need a listening ear, contact our Support and Information team today to speak to someone about whether relationship counselling could be right for you.
You can also find out more about our Relationship Counselling Service in the FAQs below or register your interest using our online form.
Frequently asked questions
We know that, sadly, some people in our community have seen changes in their loved ones that have led to them being violent or aggressive, although this is rare.
These changes can seem even more worrying in the current situation, but it’s important to remember that if this is something you’re experiencing, your safety is paramount and the current social distancing (or isolation) rules don’t apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic violence.
If you feel you’re at risk of abuse, remember there’s help and support available, including police response, online support, helplines, refuges and other services.
You are not alone!
Frequently asked questions
Counselling is a talking therapy and a place for you to speak, listen and be heard.
Your counsellor will not forget that you’re the expert on your relationship, but will support you to open up and communicate with your partner. They will help you explore and understand the impact of your diagnosis on your relationship.
Although counsellors don’t provide advice, they can work with you to identify problems you may face and what issues you're able to address.
Then looking at how you can make changes and work towards a more satisfying new normal.
However you identify, whoever you love, whatever your relationship status and no matter what background you're from, our relationship counselling service is here to help you.
Our only criteria is that you need to be an individual or couple whose relationship has been affected by a brain tumour.
So, it’s available to both the person living with or beyond a brain tumour diagnosis and their partner, as well as ex-partners. Single people living with a brain tumour can also access the service.
Sessions can either be attended as a couple or individually. The person with the brain tumour does not have to participate in the counselling, so partners can access the service alone.
We’ve worked closely with Relate over the past year to ensure they have a good understanding of how brain tumours can impact individuals and couples. Our Support Team have provided them with appropriate training about the reality of living with a brain tumour and we’ve shared with them the initial background research we carried out when developing this service.
The counselling service will focus on the impact a brain tumour diagnosis has had on the couple or individual using the service, as opposed to focusing on the brain tumour itself. So it’s not essential for the counsellors to be experts in brain tumours specifically, but we’re confident they know as much as is needed to provide you the best support possible.
Given the complexities of living with a brain tumour, we’ll continue to work closely with Relate to ensure their knowledge and understanding stays up-to-date.
Relate’s UK-wide network of counsellors allow them to offer face-to-face sessions to most service users. They also offer sessions via phone, webcam, live chat or email.
While social-distancing measures are in place across the UK, face-to-face sessions will not be available.
Our relationship counselling service is accessible and can accommodate most difficulties caused by a brain tumour diagnosis.
Your first session will be an assessment and information gathering session that will help your counsellor understand your unique needs.
While Relate will be as flexible as possible in meeting potential users’ needs, if someone is unable to communicate or their cognitive abilities are severely impacted, the service may not be suitable.
If you want to discuss your specific circumstances with us, then call us and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
Relationship counselling can help people at all stages of life after or beyond a brain tumour diagnosis. There are a huge variety of reasons people might come to relationship counselling, some of which we’ve explored in our other relationship resources.
It can help you whether you’ve been diagnosed yourself or you’re the partner of someone who has. It’s a chance to explore how the changes in your relationship have impacted both of you and gives you the space to talk freely about how you’re feeling.
Often, people appreciate the extra support at times of challenge or changes to their situation, for example:
- at diagnosis
- when beginning or ending a round of treatment
- after receiving a new prognosis
- when approaching end of life.
You can find out more about the service by calling our Support and Information Line on 0808 800 0004 (Mon – Fri, 9.00am-5.00pm).
We’ll ask you a few questions to determine whether it’s appropriate for you and if we think relationship counselling might help, we can refer you to the service.
Alternatively, you can fill out our form online to register your interest in the service. We'll ring you back within seven days to make sure we have all the information we need to refer you to our relationship counselling partner, Relate.
Register your interest in our Relationship Support Service
Fill out this form to register your interest in our Relationship Support Service. We'll ring you back within seven days to make sure we have all the information we need to refer you to our relationship counselling partner, Relate.