“There is a lot of advice out there on how to cope financially after retirement, but how do you cope with suddenly being in the house with your partner all of the time? It’s something we may joke about but we speak to people who are genuinely heading for divorce, so we help them to read just to their new roles in the home.
“We also work in partnership with a debt management service – we can help you deal with anxiety related to debt and then transfer you to them for practical guidance.”
What can a caller expect of the process?
“To get started, all you have to do is ring the MCF Freephone enquiry line (0800 035 60 90) and ask to access the counselling service. The person on the other end of the phone won’t ask you what you want to discuss – they will simply confirm your masonic connection and then put you in touch with us.
“You can expect to be sitting in a room with a therapist within a week and a half of your initial call and within 15 miles of your home. If you would prefer, we can speak to you over the phone instead.
“Typically we provide six sessions which may not sound like a lot, but remember that we are focused on solutions. In your first session you will agree with your counsellor what you hope to achieve, and over the following sessions you will work towards that goal.
“The service we provide is different for each person but no matter what your situation, you won’t just be passively reflecting – you will be actively seeking solutions and exchanging ideas and thoughts with your therapist. The vast majority of people say that the therapy has helped them change dramatically.”
Are there any instances where your support isn’t appropriate? What will you do in those cases?
“Immediately after bereavement, no amount of therapy can lessen pain or sadness. We will of course listen and talk to you over the phone – more than once if necessary – but in the short-term we would direct you to other organisations such as Cruse, a bereavement charity that can help you with all of the things that need to be done after someone dies. Further down the line, if you were still struggling with your grief, we would then help you to deal with those feelings through therapy.
“Our service is also unsuitable for those with severe psychiatric conditions, simply because there is other specialist support provided through the NHS. We can, however, support the family members of those diagnosed with these conditions.”
What would you say to someone who is unsure about calling?