chapter
6 Pages

Introduction

ByRuth Archer

The search for meaning exercises every human being at some level throughout life. At times of crisis or personal trauma, the need to make sense of what has happened becomes more urgent. The group of counsellors and psychotherapists working with ill people at Westminster Pastoral Foundation (WPF) Counselling and Psychotherapy found that underlying all other issues that arose during the course of a life-threatening illness was a need for each person to discover its individual meaning for them. This meant that the waiting time was less and all concerned were aware of the caseload. The Serious Physical Illness Counselling Service was first set up in the autumn of 1984 at the WPF premises in the Chelsea Methodist Church. As the main WPF model is of once-weekly psychodynamic counselling, this is what was offered to clients. In 1989, a colleague did a piece of research, using client–counsellor couples, on emotional adaptation to serious illness.