Counselling in Myanmar

Megan Cruise is a trained counsellor with several years’ experience of supporting children with cancer and their families in the UK and beyond following her career with CLIC Sargent and from her voluntary roles in Ghana and Malawi.

After spending the majority of the past year supporting families and staff in Africa with advice on dealing with emotions and expressing their feelings, Megan is now moving to Myanmar where she will lend her skills to the staff and patients at Yangon Children’s Hospital.

“I have visited Asia on several occasions, but I have never worked in Asia. I am keen to explore working within a different culture and to see how counselling and support work can be embedded into the work done on the paediatric oncology ward.

Each country is different to the next in terms of the people, the customs and the way of life. One thing that is consistently different is the language which even changes from region to region within the same country.

I am expecting language to be even more of a challenge in Myanmar. The training I will be delivering to staff and the counselling I will be doing with families will all need to be done through an interpreter.

I will take the time to learn as much as I can about the culture and religion in Myanmar too as this will directly impact my role. By having a better understanding of their way of life I will be better placed to build strong and trusting relationships that are needed when delivering counselling sessions to children, families and staff.

During my three months in Myanmar I will be aiming to deliver my training package to nurses, doctors and social workers whilst also providing counselling support to families. I have been made aware that there is little support for the parents in Yangon Children’s Hospital, so it would be great to help introduce some form of peer support system.

Having spent the majority of the past year volunteering in developing countries, it has made me very aware of how lucky we are in the UK to have access to free healthcare. Knowing that the country in which you are born in determines the level of treatment and care available to you has really struck me and become even more apparent from my voluntary experiences. The availability of cancer drugs can in some cases be the difference between living and dying. However, I have also noticed how in life, the less we have the more resourceful we become.

Hopefully I will be able to ease the emotional impacts of childhood cancer for those people I will meet in Myanmar."

About the author

Megan Cruise

Counsellor and World Child Cancer Volunteer