Bach remedies and Action Cancer, Belfast

6 of the 7 BFRPs who work at Action Cancer 24th January 2013

It’s nearly two years now since Action Cancer in Belfast, Northern Ireland, started offering Bach flower remedy consultations to clients.

Mainly financed through donations and corporate sponsorship, Action Cancer aims to support patients who are going through treatment, and to improve the quality of life of people in Northern Ireland who have been affected by cancer.

The Therapeutic Service team uses Bach remedies alongside other approaches such as aromatherapy, reflexology, guided meditation, counselling and many others. All the therapies are self-referral services and treatments are available free of charge.

The person chiefly responsible for introducing the remedies to Action Cancer is Lorraine Brill BFRP.

"I joined Action Cancer as a Complementary Therapist in autumn 2007," she told us. "From the very start I was keen to see Bach remedies introduced to our list of therapies. I recall promoting the remedies even at my interview!

"I qualified as a BFRP in 2002. After attending the Bach Foundation Teachers Programme at the Bach Centre in 2003 I spent the following year perfecting my lesson plans and delivery, and since 2004 I’ve been running approved Level 1 courses in the Belfast and Lisburn area.

"The team of staff at Action Cancer were keen for me to take them through a Level 1 course, so I approached the Head of Therapeutic Services to ask for permission to host a Level 1 at Action Cancer.

"I offered the course to local therapists and to all the staff in the building at work. Over the years I’ve seen a wide range of skilled staff attend training, from clerical office staff to managers.

"After my own Level 1 courses I would invite Nancy Hynes BFRP from Londonderry to come and deliver a Level 2 course to my students. Since 2009, Nancy and I have run several courses in this way and today 19 members of staff at Action Cancer hold Level 1 certificates and 9 have completed Level 2.

"By September 2010, two counsellors and one complementary therapist started their practitioner training with the aim of introducing Bach as a treatment option within the organisation.

"As a charity working in cancer care, we had to develop policies and procedures for the use of the remedies, which would form protocols for working and ensure consistency across the organisation as well as equality of access to the service.

"The Head of Professional Services and I travelled to the Bach Centre in February 2011 and spent an afternoon with Stefan Ball where we discussed the working policy and clarified a few points.

"The next day we travelled to Nelson’s in Wimbledon to witness first-hand the bottling and quality-control processes in place there.

"On our return to Northern Ireland we updated and completed our policies and procedures document, which was presented to the CEO, and later to Action Cancer’s Committee of Management, for approval.

"I was delighted when it was finally accepted and our insurance was updated to include Bach therapy. It was such an exciting day when I was told I could finally use the remedies at work, synchronistically at the very time that our three therapists were just qualifying as Bach Foundation Registered Practitioners."

Action Cancer continues to host Level 1 and Level 2 courses at their main office. There are now 7 fully-qualified BFRPs working there. Four of them are Complementary Therapists, including Lorraine, two are Counsellors and last, but certainly not least, the Head of Professional Services went on to train in all 3 levels and has just qualified.

"Over the first year, 100 of our clients have chosen to use the remedies," Lorraine says.

Evaluating the therapy

When the remedies were introduced in April 2011 Action Cancer's Research and Evaluation Officer developed a short questionnaire to measure their effectiveness.

"Although numbers are currently still small," Lorraine says, "in all cases the level of negative emotion perceived by the client decreases after using the system.

"At present we find several remedies used more frequently than others among cancer patients, in particular remedies associated with an over-active mind and with tiredness.

"The Bach practitioners hold bi-monthly Bach team meetings to discuss and share our experiences. Recently we've introduced presenting case studies where the therapist will discuss remedies clients have chosen and their effectiveness. It’s great for team bonding. I’m proud of the whole team who have worked hard to see the remedies introduced into the organisation."

To find out more about Action Cancer and their work, go to their web site at www.actioncancer.org.