“It takes away the silence, and allows the child to talk about Mammy again, or whoever it may be. They feel listened to, and less afraid,” explained the Cuisle Centre’s Stella Moran.
The Cuisle Centre in Portlaoise provides support for families whose lives have been touched by cancer, and now they are offering a new programme for children and young adults.
‘Beyond Words’ is an expressive arts therapy for children aged 5 to 19 years whose family member has had a diagnosis or who have been bereaved by cancer.
Ms Moran, director of services, said that it was important to remember the children during these challenging times.
“The programme uses expressive arts therapy, where the children can connect and share their story. Children are more willing to talk and express their feelings through art than with normal counselling,” she told the Leinster Express.
The centre provides the opportunity for children to meet others of the same age, to chat, play and feel supported. They soon realise that their thoughts and thinking processes are normal.
“We try to make counselling more fun and creative. Through art we can explain about losing hair, or they can show us what was most frightening for them,” she said.
During the therapy, the children may be asked to draw their family.
“One child drew lots of cups of tea, because that’s what she remembered from the wake. We have picked up on that, and that’s why we set up these programmes, to remember the children,” she said.
The Cuisle Centre has seen an increasing number of younger men and women in recent years.
“Younger people are accessing the centre more and more, people with young families, and this is why we need programmes like this. It’s very helpful for the parents to know how their child is coping,” she said.
Therapy for children whose family member has had a cancer diagnosis takes place on August 18 and 19. Therapy for children who have been bereaved by cancer takes place on August 20.
For bookings/enquiries contact the Cuisle Centre on 057 8681492.