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Susan (Susie) Fishwick

Refreshing my training in oncology therapies is essential for seeing my clientsā€™ perspective

understanding your clients Mar 12, 2021

For therapists who deliver complementary therapies to cancer patients through charities and NHS organisations, training updates may be part of the process. However, for those working in private practice it isn’t always so straight forward. For Susan (Susie) Fishwick, a certified lymphoedema therapist and experienced complementary therapist, the imposed lockdown during the pandemic meant time to research quality courses that were affordable, accessible and relevant to her field of work. After all, travelling to Germany as she had planned to for her advanced review was no longer on the cards.

The transformative power of massage

Susie’s path into complementary therapies is an extraordinary one. Having set off on an extended sailing sabbatical with her then-husband and young son, they were shipwrecked in the West Indies two years on when their boat sank in a catastrophic hurricane along with all their worldly possessions.

She said: “We had sold everything, including our home and business to buy the boat and fund the trip; everything we owned was on-board. We, like many others, were homeless overnight.” Not long afterwards, Susie and her son were relocated via a mercy flight to France, where they were classed as refugees, before travelling on to the UK where family and friends helped them to get back on their feet.

The humbling experience of having to rebuild her life from scratch set Susie on the road to a new career training as a complementary therapist. “At the time, I was working in mental health and when a lovely colleague heard about my plight, she presented me with a gift voucher for a massage. It felt absolutely wonderful. Although the experience wouldn’t change my circumstances, it really did help me. Instantly I felt better, more positive and I decided then and there that was really what I wanted to do.”

The most highly trained therapists need support

Susie subsequently trained for a number of years, attending various colleges and training establishments to further her skills.

“I had to pause at one point because working full time, looking after my young son and attending evening classes was just too much, but I got there in the end. It was while working at the highly respected FORCE Cancer Support and Information Centre in Exeter that I became aware of the complex challenges many cancer patients faced if they developed Lymphoedema.”

Susie subsequently invested in her specialist training as a lymphoedema therapist at the world-renowned Föeldi Clinic in Germany (Klose Training), where she experienced some of the highest quality and intense training available in the world.

Today, she remains a passionate clinical and complementary therapist who provides treatments with a mindset that focuses on what is possible rather than what isn’t. Her passion is simple and genuine - she wants to help people to feel better, even if that is providing palliative care.

The patient’s perspective and developments in oncology treatments

“I am extremely grateful for the first class training I was able to access through the Jennifer Young Training Courses”, she says.

“Having completed the Control of Cross Infection in the Post COVID-19 World course, which was excellent, I signed up for the Advanced Cancer Awareness Certificate, specifically to keep myself up to date with more recent developments in cancer treatments including proton and immunotherapy. Having access to the Cancer Awareness Level 1 was a bonus and, as Jennifer referred to it regularly in the advanced course, I decided to complete Level 1 as well, which I found a very helpful refresher course."

Susie’s reasons for revisiting training are important for us all to remember; we all need help to make sure we don’t become complacent, and in her words: “working with cancer patient’s is such a dynamic field, where treatments and approaches are changing all the time, based on the latest research. Patients nowadays are experts and as therapists I think we owe it to them to keep abreast of change. I highly recommend both the course and the product range that has been developed specifically with patients in mind.”

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