The IKA provides a free, comprehensive and confidential counselling service for those diagnosed with kidney disease, their family members and carers.
The IKA is a national organisation and requests for counselling are received from all over the country. A structure is in place that allows for referral either to the IKA counsellor based at Donor House in Dublin or, if requested and appropriate, a referral can be arranged to a counsellor based in the person’s local area. These counsellors are accredited with their professional body and registered with the IKA to provide this service. Online and phone services are being provided during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Please note that the IKA counselling service is not an emergency service. We do however endeavour to get patients, families and carers who request counselling support placed as quickly as possible with a counsellor.
- The counselling service is open to all those diagnosed with kidney disease, their family and carers.
- Any individual can refer themselves to the counselling service.
- With the person’s permission, nursing, medical or allied professionals can also refer people for counselling.
- Through the IKA counsellor for those who can attend at Donor House in Parkwest, Dublin 12.
- Through a network of nationally registered locally based counsellors.
- Online services are also available.
A few years ago I received my first kidney transplant. Receiving a new organ comes with so many positives I wouldn’t have even believed it if I didn’t go through it myself. Before my transplant I thought once I got a new kidney I would be fine as a kidney was something I needed and wanted for a very long time, therefore, the whole experience would be all positive. So it was completely unexpected when I started to have overwhelming feelings of sadness and guilt and even some pressure to get back to “normal”.
I didn’t like the way I was feeling so looked on the IKA website just to see if they had any information that may help. I saw they had a counselling service and after a month of thinking about it I decided to make an appointment with one of the counsellors. I felt a bit nervous for the first appointment but Aoife was so lovely and relaxed. She made me feel at ease straight away. She assured me it would be confidential and gave me the option to change counsellors if I didn’t feel comfortable. I went every week for an hour and talked, in a relaxed atmosphere, through how I was feeling and what I wanted to change. Aoife helped me to understand how I felt and where the feelings were coming from. Going to counselling helped me to recognise, understand and cope with my own feelings and gave me resources to support myself to work through how I was feeling.
Although it’s hard to make the first step by making an appointment, I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have made. Doctors, nurses, surgeons and of course donors help make you healthy and well but the counselling service at the Irish Kidney Association helped me feel like me again.
You can refer yourself for counselling, or refer someone else (e.g. a patient if you are a healthcare provider). Contact our Co-ordinator of Counselling Services, Aoife Smith, and she will get in touch to talk about setting up counselling: email@example.com or 01 620 5306.
Aoife Smith, Coordinator of Counselling Services
Aoife Smith is a fully accredited humanistic integrative psychotherapist, working in private practice since 2008. She was also a specialist care representative in the healthcare industry for twenty years, during this time gaining invaluable experience working in chronic illness in the form of diabetes, respiratory diseases and pain management. These combined careers have given her a wide range of knowledge both medically and therapeutically allowing her to fully support our patients here at the Irish Kidney Association.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | 01 620 5306