When living with cancer, it’s often easy to forget your mental health and wellbeing when your body is coping with medical care and the things involved with cancer treatment. We’re a firm believer that looking after your mental health is paramount during your cancer journey, so in celebration of Mental Health Awareness Week, we caught up with Claire Francis, a counsellor and life coach behind Counselling with Cancer. Based in Leatherhead, Surrey, Claire sets out to listen. motivate and support you during and post your cancer diagnosis.
Tell us a little about yourself…
Having grown up in a vibrant and diverse market community in South London and surrounded by people from all walks of life, I’ve always seen that life is ‘real’ so I wanted to choose a profession that helps me to continue connecting with people. I’ve dealt with a lot of my own struggles in life by myself and had many of those real life experiences; in return this has helped me to become a more experienced Counsellor and professional Life Coach, which has given me an invaluable perspective on Life. Of course everyone is different and has their own personal challenges and everyone’s challenges are unique to them. I am here to offer you a confidential relaxed space in leafy Surrey, via telephone or over the internet, where I am able to listen to you in a non-judgemental way and be real.
What services do you offer people living with cancer?
As well as a volunteering for Macmillan, I also run my own counselling Private Practice. With the current circumstances, I’m offering online and telephone counselling to anyone who comes into contact with Cancer, being patients, members of the family, friends etc. Working with Macmillan, I’ve had first-hand experience and I’m also in touch with the NHS and working with their patients. My training is constantly up to date and I’m a registered member of the BACP.
How are you funded?
The services that I offer through Macmillan are free, but as I am currently not funded, I do charge for anyone who comes through private practice but the first consultation is free and fees can be negotiable based on needs and requirements.
What’s the most rewarding thing about the work you do?
The most rewarding thing about my work is helping people in a profession I love. When they come to the end of their counselling and they feel different, especially when it’s a natural ending, you feel your work is done and they are in a much happier place and in the moment.
What would you say to those who are considering getting in touch with you but are nervous or apprehensive?
It’s a nervous time speaking to a counsellor, some say they are full of fear and not sure how they feel speaking to a stranger. I offer a comfortable and non-judgemental approach and all I can say is give me a try and face that fear, my clients have always given me good feedback so I must be doing something right. There are lots of testimonials on my website.
And finally, what are the values of your work?
The values of my business are: To have a happier life both mentally and spiritually