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.
- 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.
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 oncology. 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.
The IKA publishes a quarterly support magazine which features stories from kidney and transplant patients, articles on health and wellbeing, and any news or updates relevant to patients. You can view these by clicking here.
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.