If I Had Once Been In Their Shoes

As a student of Psychology I have a passion to see people through their problems. I not only feel the desire to help those in need, but I also have the aspiration to improve family and societal functioning within the individual. By working with families or individuals, I have a great responsibility that I do not take lightly. A diagnosis such as cancer would definitely be a staunch obstacle in my life. Although with the difficulties of the illness, and the training that I have received so far in psychology; something positive could definitely come from an extremely life-changing diagnosis such as this.

My research on my type of cancer and even cancer in general would come easily for me with the training that I have already received in college. I think that my resourcefulness of the psychological side of the effects of cancer would benefit me vastly because of the stress that can come along with just being diagnosed with a physiological illness (e.g. iatrogenic labeling) such as cancer. I believe that my efforts in understanding my illness would also be payed-forward in helping others and their families cope with the illness as well.

As long as my body would allow me complete my training I would remain true to what I believe I am here on earth for; that is counseling. Although I may decide to switch my practice to advocate solely for cancer patients and families to help them adjust; as a counselor I would remain objective to the needs of the individual and family’s coping. While providing valuable firsthand input from treatment, and the feelings that come along with the illness; patients and families may be able to truly understand what areas of life they need to work on instead feeling helpless and alone. I will be in better service for those in need, rather than to act as an authority figure of some kind who has no direct experience with the illness. In some areas however; I do understand that it can take more than just observation to aid in recovery. In the case of an individual’s psychological maladaptation of the prognosis; many people need to see just how their “problem” is affecting those who love them too, and have a better understanding that a cancer diagnosis can not only change one physiologically, but also indirectly psychologically.

Honesty and correct methods of treatment for each individual are important to help them see the brighter side of life. Although life may be seen as coming to an end for some, I think I would be able to give an individual and their family what tools they would need to come to an acceptance, as well as, ways to enjoy the rest of their stay. I believe that if I were given a similar diagnosis I would not only be in the right place to help, but with my training in counseling I would also have a history to aide others in the transition between a life that was once knew, and one that is so much different.

When a patient ultimately accepted their diagnosis as a way to provide much needed motivation for them; it could be a great reward for them just to be able to see life from another perspective given the dire gravity of the situation that a cancer diagnosis comes with it. Family life would suddenly be more important to them and they would be better suited for it if they knew just how to communicate their feelings better. On a quest to see lives improved from a psychological standpoint; I, as counselor, would play a small part but the rewards would be great because each accomplished patient would also provide meaning and sustenance to my work.: Especially if I had once been in their shoes.

By: Ebert, Ande

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