While carers are busy taking care of others, it is crucial they also look after their own health and self-care.  

As carers settle into their 2024 routines, there are many ways they can stay on top of their own health and wellbeing, so they can continue to bring their best selves to their roles as carers.  

Our Carer Conversations podcast presenter and co-producer Patty Kikos at Carer Gateway, recently spoke with Jack Lawton, a psychotherapist and one of the counsellors at Carer Gateway in Sydney.  

Patty Kikos with Jack Lawton for the Carer Gateway Podcast.

Image: Patty Kikos with Carer Gateway counsellor Jack Lawton

They discussed what carers can expect from counselling sessions through Carer Gateway.  

The counselling and support options available through Carer Gateway

Carers can access six one-on-one counselling sessions every 12 months, depending on their needs. These sessions can be done over the phone, via video link, or in person, and last about an hour. After the sixth session, Carer Gateway provides ongoing support based on the requirements of each individual carer. 

Jack explained that the sessions start with carers and counsellors getting to know each other and learning more about why the carers are seeking counselling support.  

The following sessions are focused on identifying issues the carers are looking to work through, and how they’d like to be more supported to achieve this. The final sessions see carers reflect on everything they’ve unpacked with their counsellor and identify future support they need. 

Helping carers get in touch with themselves and prioritise their health

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are approximately 2.7 million carers in Australia. Burnout is an issue that many carers may face in their roles, given how demanding these roles can be. This is especially true when the lines between personal time and time spent as carers blur, when caring for someone at home. 

For Jack, a key benefit to Carer Gateway counselling sessions is helping carers get in touch with their needs to better prioritise their own wellbeing.  

“People in the caring role, they often have very caring hearts and put others needs first and that can be a lovely thing,” Jack says. “But also, as one carer put it to me once, ‘it’s as if I've got a sign above my head that says, hey everyone, I'm a carer, if you need help ask me.’” 

For many carers, these counselling sessions help them to develop more coping skills and ways to approach setting boundaries between their carer roles and their personal lives.  

“Boundaries come from knowing when you can say ‘yes’ and when you can say ‘no’ to things and having a healthy capacity to do both or feeling balanced in that. That's something we can unpack in counselling and work out,” Jack added. 

In addition to counselling sessions, Carer Gateway also offers peer support workshops and activities, tailored support packages, coaching, online skills courses and access to emergency respite.   

Subscribe to ‘Carer Conversations’ wherever you listen to your podcasts including Apple, Spotify and other platforms. For more information on The Benevolent Society’s Carer Gateway program, call 1800 422 737 or click here