In this guide, we’ll cover the different types of counselling for dementia carers, therapies available, why this might benefit you, and other forms of support on offer to carers in the UK.
Caring for a person with dementia can be an incredibly challenging time. Dementia is a complex condition that, as you may already know, progressively worsens over time, which means carers are constantly dealing with new challenges, behaviours, and concerns.
If you are a carer for someone with dementia and feel in need of additional support, counselling services and therapies may be of great help to you.
How can talking therapies help carers?
Caring can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but there’s no denying that it can also be an isolating, stressful, and challenging time. It’s easy to get burnt out as a carer and need a break – but it’s also natural to feel guilty towards the person you care for when you feel that way, even if you’re completely deserving of some respite.
Talking therapy can help provide an outlet for the challenges you are facing, gain some new ways to deal with the challenges you’re facing, and manage stressful thoughts/situations.
Where to get counselling as a dementia carer?
If you think you could benefit from counselling as a dementia carer, your first port of call should be your GP. They will be able to act as a signposting service, referring you to the relevant organisations to receive counselling that is appropriate for your situation.
You might also want to consider reaching out to your local social services department, who can arrange a carer’s assessment to assess whether you need additional support such as respite care or financial help.
What types of counselling are available to me?
There are many different types of counselling that may be available to you. These could include:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a talking therapy that aims to help you understand the links between your thoughts and feelings and your behaviours – then using that understanding to make more positive changes to how you deal with certain situations. This can be extremely helpful to a number of people – including people with dementia and dementia carers.
Psychotherapy is an umbrella term for a number of talking therapies. In general, a psychotherapist will work with you to help you understand how your personality and experiences influence your reactions to certain situations, your behaviour, and your thought process.
This type of counselling can help you feel less anxious in your current circumstances, and feel more equipped in your role as a carer.
There are a number of support groups for dementia carers all around the UK, providing an invaluable support network to carers who are all going through the same thing. Group therapy can be fantastic for helping you find a group of people that can empathise with your experiences and reduce the isolation you may face as a carer.
What to look for in a therapist?
If you are going to have counselling sessions in any form, it’s paramount that you are comfortable with your therapist. The relationship between you and your therapist is extremely important in order for you to get the most out of your sessions, so take your time and make sure you have chosen someone you connect with.
A few things to look for when finding a therapist include:
- Have an informal chat before signing up to see if they seem suitable for your needs.
- Make sure they are accredited by a professional body (this should be the case if you are referred by your GP)
- Check that their practice is regularly audited for safety and industry standards
- Ask if they have a document outlining their approach, confidentiality, responsibilities, session length, session price, etc.
Other forms of support available to dementia carers
Our guide, Support for Dementia Carers, covers a number of other support services available to you – from online forums to financial help and in-person training.
Other guides you may find helpful: