Becoming a therapist was the positive thing that came from my own cancer journeyFeb 05, 2021
Following her own experience with cancer, therapist Anita Constable decided to train as a therapist and offer nurturing treatments that other cancer patients could benefit from. Here she explains how her cancer awareness training has helped her to support others, and why she wants to reassure other therapists of the incredible amount of good the power of touch can provide.
Which courses did you do and why?
I did the Cancer Awareness course in 2019, and loved it, so I always intended to do more. Then, last year, I did the Control of Cross Infection in a Post Covid 19 World qualification and also attended lots of Zoom meetings throughout summer 2020, which were incredibly reassuring.
I have experienced cancer and benefitted from therapies from my local Aurora Wellbeing Centre, which gave me confidence before and after my mastectomy surgery in 2017. I wanted to share that wellbeing with others going through a similar thing, and I thought it was important to have a written qualification to show that I knew what I was doing and that clients were safe with me.
What did you find helpful?
All of the information and support from Jennifer was incredibly helpful. The practical knowledge as well as great empathy was incredibly healing for me in itself. It verified my feelings about everything that I had gone through. That was a positive for me as an individual as well as therapist.
Was there anything that surprised you?
I was the only one on my course at the time who had been through cancer themselves, and it was the sense of understanding that I experienced from Jennifer that really touched me, as well as how she was able to convey that to other students.
I was also really aware of how nervous the other therapists were about any potential for hurting the people they were supposed to be supporting. It’s a real relic of traditional training to teach that, and it’s a shame. As someone who has been on the other side of oncology massage, you really just want to be touched and cared for and accepted for all the lumps and dimples you may have.
So, Jennifer’s training is incredibly empowering and meaningful for therapists who by nature want to offer that care.
Has the training improved your confidence?
Yes, both personally and professionally. I had a real sense of wellbeing myself from learning more, and it improved my confidence about going back to work post-Covid amongst all the fear that’s been generated. You can do the training at your own speed, which was really important to me, but it was the support that you get that really made an impact.
Has it improved the confidence of your clients?
I haven’t been able to practice since March 2020 due to all the lockdowns, especially as many of my clients are over 60 and are almost all vulnerable. However, I had a call after the first lockdown from a client who is 94 asking when he could book me in and I told him about the cross infection control qualification and that really did have a positive impact – I am looking forward to getting back to practicing again!
How do you find your clients benefit from the treatments?
I think they benefit both physically and mentally. After reflexology I had someone say they feel like they’re walking on air. Most come to me by word of mouth and I also volunteer through the Aurora Wellbeing Centre near us. When someone is having their therapy it’s a safe place for them to be themselves. They can cry, laugh, accept therapy and they don’t have to keep a stiff upper lip for family and friends. When you’re going through cancer, that’s so important and therapy allows you to have that space.
What’s your most popular treatment and why?
It’s definitely reflexology because it provides holistic well-being, and it’s a far less invasive treatment for people, especially my older clients, some of whom are in care homes. A couple do like their backs massaged as well.
Are you diversifying or changing your business at all in 2021?
I decided to retrain in this field following my own cancer journey because learning more and giving therapy to individuals was beneficial for me as well as them – it’s a lovely exchange of care. Becoming a therapist was a positive thing that came from my cancer. Then Covid came along and changed plans. I have experience supporting adults with individual needs and challenges and have been asked to go back to my place of work to provide therapies there, which I am looking forward to.
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