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Relationship Support Service FAQs

What should you expect from our Relationship Support Service?

When couples and individuals seek counselling it is usually because something is not working as it did before or as they think it should.

While there are many different forms of counselling, the service we provide in partnership with Relate is a talking therapy. This means it’s a safe place for you to talk, listen, and be heard, as you explore the issues that brought you to relationship counselling.

Rather than giving you advice, the counsellor will help you explore these issues, empowering you to discover solutions and guide you in making any changes that may be needed.

Frequently asked questions

Your sessions will start with an assessment of what bought you to relationship counselling, so that your counsellor can make sure you’re provided with the most appropriate and useful support for what you’re experiencing. 

During your sessions, your counsellor will support you to explore and understand the impact of your or your partner’s diagnosis on your relationships. Your counselling is a place for you to speak, listen and be heard.

Although Relate are the experts on relationships and relational issues, you’re the expert on yourself and your relationships, so the counselling journey is very much a collaborative process.

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 look at how you can make changes and work towards a more satisfying new normal

If you come to Relate as a couple

Following a diagnosis, there will be lots of change in your life, both for you and in your relationships. Our Relationship Support Service can help you explore what things were like before, what has changed and how you would like things to be in the future. Most importantly you will have an opportunity to listen to your partner and be heard by them.

If you come to Relate as an individual

A brain tumour diagnosis often creates a lot of confusion and anxiety about the future, so you may want to explore how you’re feeling and thinking about what your diagnosis means for your future. None of us live completely in isolation and, whatever our relationship status, we are all part of many systems, so looking at those may form part of the exploration stage of the work. Exploring the patterns that exist and have gone before can help inform the decision around moving forwards and changes that can be made, or that we want to work towards making.

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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.

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People accessing the service can have up to 6 weekly sessions free of charge.

If you need to take a break in sessions due to treatment, they can be delayed to a more appropriate time

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Relate counsellors are trained to use psychodynamic and systemic therapy. These two counselling models are the best way to work with relational issues, whether with a couple or an individual who wants to explore their relationships and how they are relating to their partner, family and friends.

Psychodynamic therapy enables clients to find patterns in their emotions, thoughts and beliefs in order to gain insight into their current self. This could involve looking at past family patterns, which would be useful at a time of change. For example exploring and understanding a belief system that now has to be adjusted and looking at how that adjustment could take place.

Systemic therapy focuses on the interactions and relationships in a system. A system can be a couple relationship, the whole family, friends, work, clubs we belong to etc. We all have relationships and connections between us and the others in that system.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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You register your interest in the service by clicking the button below and filling out our online form online. 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.

Alternatively, 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.

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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.

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) or emailing us at support@thebraintumourcharity.org

If you have further questions, need to clarify any of the information on this page, or want to find out more about research and clinical trials, please contact our team:
Support and Information Services
0808 800 0004 Free from landlines and mobiles
Phone lines open Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00

Our Relationship Support Service has been created in partnership with Relate – the leading relationships charity in England and Wales.

A member of our Support & Information Team provides support over the phone to somebody affected by a brain tumour diagnosis

Get support

Contact our Support and Information team to talk to someone about whether our relationship counselling service is right for you.