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Relationships and Cancer

The diagnosis of cancer or other serious illness has the potential to change the landscape of life. While most couples are able to weather the storm of diagnosis and treatment, it may feel like life has been turned upside down. 

Marital or couple relationships in which one partner has been diagnosed with cancer experience incredible stressors within their relationship. Cancer affects couples physically, psychologically, and emotionally. There are role changes, the language of oncology to translate and numerous caregiving tasks.

Yet, when a couple shares closeness and security in their connection with each other, the relationship can also provide a resource to buffer the effects of cancer for both the individual diagnosed and their partner. The couple becomes a source of emotional support for each other.

It may be difficult to understand how your relationship has evolved over time. Some couples are able to navigate the challenges of life, misunderstandings or hurts and seemingly ‘bounce back’ resolving things relatively easily. Other couples get stuck; stressors and misunderstandings evolve into a pattern of negative interactions and the couple are unable to resolve differences. This fundamentally affects how close, secure and respected you may feel in the relationship.

Relationship counselling can help you heal past hurts, strengthen trust, re-discover intimacy and sexuality and develop a relationship that looks very different to the one that you know now. 

landscape of life provides marriage, couples and relationship counseling using Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). EFT is an approach to couples counselling that works. Research indicates up to 90% of couples that undertake a course of EFT report significant improvement in their relationship and up to 75% of couples recover from relationship distress. Changes in the relationship have been shown to last, even in couples facing significant life stressors.

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Jo has tertiary qualifications in Bio-Medical Science, Counseling and Psychology and more than 10 years experience working in healthcare related environments. Jo was involved in planning the design of the Olivia Newton John Cancer & Wellness Centre and has contributed to the development of resources for Breast Cancer Network Australia. She has co-facilitated support groups for young women diagnosed with cancer for BreaCan and Breast Friends for Epworth Freemasons Hospital in Melbourne. Jo has also been involved in research into the experiences of people diagnosed with breast, lung, prostate and head and neck cancers. Jo has an interest in relationships as a resource in coping with life transitions, especially changes in intimacy, sexuality and identity following a cancer diagnosis.

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landscape of life counselling sessions are held at: 

The Health and Wellbeing Studio
1160 Toorak Rd
Camberwell, Melbourne