chapter  THIRTEEN
10 Pages

Supervision of counsellors working with seriously physically ill patients

ByGertrud Mander

The counsellors came from various backgrounds. Some had been nurses before they undertook a counsellor training and had the medical knowledge that was useful when dealing with often life-threatening illnesses and with patients on medication for these. The counsellors' task was to function as auxiliary egos pre- and post-operatively, and thus they had an important parental role until the clients were able to face their anxieties and to manage by themselves again. There were clients suffering from HIV whose future was uncertain and was overshadowed by the knowledge that their condition was incurable and life would never be normal again. The counsellors' clients were all contracted for open-ended work, and some of them stayed for years, attached to their counsellors as if they were lifebelts. All supervision in the service was done in groups in order to involve the counsellors in supervising each others' work and learning from each other.