Dr Russ Hargreaves, Counsellor
I first started counselling in the NHS, working in a busy London cancer hospital and offering emotional support to both cancer patients, their families and bereaved relatives. During that time, I also worked with Cruse Bereavement Care and most recently, worked in the hospice sector with patients approaching the end of their lives. My work is accredited by my professional body, the BACP.
Based in Canterbury Kent, I now split my time between Petals, private practice and working with a charity which offers counselling to people after a traumatic bereavement. You might think this is an odd way to spend my working week, immersed in the pain and discomfort of loss and grief. On the contrary, I meet people on a daily basis who remind me that life is both precious far from perfect, and that anything we can do to pull together and explore our losses has to be a good thing.
In 20 years of counselling, my work with Petals has been some of the most difficult yet rewarding work I have ever done. I am staggered that the loss of a baby, however old and whatever stage in a pregnancy, is still such a taboo subject. Baby loss continues to floor our friends, families and colleagues, often rendering them speechless and apparently willing to talk about anything but the elephant in the room. I am always honoured that the parents I work with at Petals let me into their lives, sharing their losses and working together to imagine a future which is very different to the one they hoped and dreamed of.