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Counselling

We offer a counselling service at Connect for all people living with stroke and aphasia. Harry Clarke, is a trained counsellor who had a stroke in 1988 and has aphasia. The service is free but as a charity we welcome donations to help the service continue.

To apply please complete the downloadable application form below.

Marion's story

Marion Larke was living life in the fast lane, the mother of two sons and a full time legal secretary. She was also studying part time to be a licensed conveyancer and in her spare time she loved to line dance. Having recently lost two stone in weight after joining her local gym with her partner Dave (who was and still is her 'rock' and she thanks him for this), Marion would later describe this time as one of her happiest.

It was at the gym that 'the bomb went off' in Marion's head.  This bomb turned out to be a ruptured aneurysm which needed surgery to be sealed. It was during this procedure Marion had another bleed and five days later had a CVA which led to a six week stay in Oldchurch Hospital Romford recovering. A time Marion would describe as 'very, very scary'.

Back at home Marion found herself having physiotherapy twice a week, a few visits from an occupational therapist and weekly speech therapy sessions. 

It was during one of these sessions that Marion's Speech and language therapist suggested counselling as Marion was having difficulties accepting what had happened to her.  She agreed and was referred to the Connect counselling service.

 

Marion and Harry

Four months had passed since Marion's life threatening illness and from feeling on top of the world, she now felt at her lowest. Every day was a challenge which she referred to as her 'Worzel Gummidge' phase (she had a positive head and a negative one!) No two days were the same because you did not know what head you would wake up with.  Marion felt like her body had been in a battle and she was lying in pieces on the battle field.  It was no help to her when people said 'you are still here' but she found herself thinking 'what life is this?'

Her biggest struggle was with the many emotions she was feeling and the right sided weakness the stroke had left to her body.  

Marion's oldest son Matthew accompanied her to the first counselling session at which Marion produced a note which said 'I want my life back' half way down the page it said 'patience'. Harry's words to this piece of paper were 'you have to have patience to get your life back'. This stayed with Marion.

Matthew remembers quite clearly that first visit to Connect.

'Mum asked me to accompany her to the first of her session at Connect which given the circumstances was the least I could have done. From the first few moments of the meeting it was clear that Connect could offer Mum something more than her family and friends, despite all the love in the world nobody at home could really relate or understand the devastating effect this had had on her. So many of the things that we truly take for granted had been cruelly taken away from her without reason and Harry and all at Connect were able to take a step back, deal with the negativity and then help her slowly to move forward in life. I would like to extend my thanks again to Connect for their care and attention during this extremely difficult time.'

Marion found herself looking forward to her counselling session every week, although this meant a journey into London on the train.  She used to find her head working overtime and she would find herself talking for the hour non stop. Patiently Harry would work through all her negative feelings about life, her sense of loss, and helped her to see that she could still have a life but that it would be a different one.

Gradually Marion felt she was coming out of the dark woods she felt herself in at the beginning of her counselling sessions and at last there was a glimpse of light in the form of a realisation that Marion's old life was now over for good.

Now Marion's next challenge was to find something to replace that busy hectic life with one in the slow lane. Marion's life is now filled with her animals, and she helps to run her local Stroke Club and has volunteered to help in the Stroke Nurses office at the local Hospital.

For Marion coming to Connect was her first step to recovery and to accepting what had happened to her. It helped her to move on and learn to cope with situations that arose in her everyday family life. Living with aphasia will impact on the family as well as the person who has had the stroke.

Marion's partner and parents told Harry that counselling had made such a difference to Marion's recovery and thanked him for his patience and understanding.

The whole family wanted to give something back to Connect and say “thank you” for helping her get her life back on the road and so Marion's son did a 10k run and later Marion's family team took part in the Hydro Active women's challenge (at walking pace) in September 2007.
 

Marion (right) taking part in the London Hydroactive 5k fundraising event for Connect.

Looking back at 2006 Marion still feels raw emotions. 'It is still early days in recovery' says Marion, 'but I am dancing again, and looking forward to the future with my partner Dave, and my animals and my garden. Connect has helped me to cope with my aphasia and really helped me to re-connect with life again'.

'From the first few moments of the meeting it was clear that Connect could offer Mum something more than her family and friends, despite all the love in the world.....'

To apply for counselling at Connect please download this form and return to us. People with aphasia can refer themselves or can be referred by a therapist or GP.

"I have been to Connect three times now and already I am different…..  I am different already. I don't know why but now I am inviting my family around…before - just sitting."

A person with aphasia who visited Connect for counselling

Harry Clarke

Application form for Counselling at Connect (79 kb)