Counselling services

Being diagnosed with cancer is a life-changing experience that can affect every aspect of your life, including your emotional health; your relationships with your spouse/partner, friends and family; your ability to work; finances and your plans for the future.

Our counsellors provide a safe and confidential space where you are free to talk about your  thoughts, feelings and concerns following your diagnosis. The counsellors at our practices are social workers by profession and knowledgeable to assist and guide you throughout your cancer experience. These services are available free of charge to our patients and their families.

We offer the following:

  • Individual and family counselling
  • Guidance with difficult conversations for example how to tell your children/spouse/family about your diagnosis and treatment
  • End of treatment counselling focussing on adjustments post treatment
  • Basic, age-appropriate information for children regarding cancer and treatment of a family member
  • Linking with community resources
  • Hospital visits
  • Discharge planning
  • End of life counselling

Please feel free to contact the counsellor at your practice for enquiries or to make an appointment.

PracticeNameQualificationTel numberE-mail address
ABJ WilgersRonelle de KlerkBA (SW) Hons, M Soc Sc (Trauma & Loss)012 807
ABJ WilgersJuanita KrugerBA (SW), MA (SW)012 807
ABJ VereenigingHedri PowellBA Soc Sc (SW)016 421
ABJ KlerksdorpAnita GarbersBA Soc Sc (SW)018 468
ABJ BenoniCecile BoothBA (SW) Hons, Dipl Pall Med, MPhil Pall Med011 422
ACT Pretoria EastAvril de BeerRegistered Social Worker012 993
ACT Pretoria EastVera LepheanaBA (SW) Hons012 993


Complimentary services

Animal-Assisted Intervention in Oncology

A cancer diagnosis and the subsequent treatment come not only with debilitating physical consequences but also with concomitant psychological distress. Animal-Assisted Intervention has been identified by numerous studies as a means for creating a healing environment and enhancing physical and psychological well-being. This complimentary treatment refers to the interaction between a human and an animal and can improve the quality of life.

At the Wilgers Oncology Unit, we offer Animal-Assisted Intervention through monthly visits by Top Dogs Therapy Dogs. Here is some of the feedback from our patients:

"I feel emotionally much better after the visit from the dog.”

It was a great experience. I absolutely love this idea and it’s a good supportive program.

“It is sometimes so hard to be in hospital and being able to see the dogs make it a bit easier.”

“It is really a great way of therapy. I really do believe that Top Dogs are the best.”

“The visit from the dogs distracted me from my pain. It was very therapeutic. It lifted the mood of the whole chemo room.”

“This is a brilliant initiative.”

“It (the dogs) has a calming effect.”

Numerous benefits of AAI are well-documented and listed below:

  • Animals humanize high-tech treatment environments and contribute significantly to an atmosphere of comfort.
  • Dogs create diversions from anxiety-provoking situations and lessen the negative impact of the treatment environment. They enable people to concentrate on the non-threatening.
  • The presence of a dog is a creative tool to boost patients’ emotional state and social well-being and assist in coping with treatment regimes.
  • A contact visit with a dog has been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease depression, relieve anxiety, and reduce pain perception.
  • It improves the mood and emotional well-being of patients and is beneficial to the overall quality of life experience.
  • Dogs in the treatment room create a sense of coherence among patients.
  • Petting the animal is comforting and soothing. The patient experience acceptance as therapy dogs shows unconditional acceptance with their wagging tails and happy faces, regardless of a person’s appearance or unusual manner of speech.
  • The presence of animals in the work environment boosts staff morale and well-being.

The Animal-Assisted Intervention program supports our core values, namely compassionate care, gentleness, kindness, respect, and evidence-based patient care. This program is informed by standard policies for the protection of both patients and animals.

Patients of any age are eligible for involvement in animal-assisted intervention. Patients not feeling comfortable in the presence of an animal or having allergies can simply indicate that they don’t want a visit from our friendly dogs. Patients’ rights are always respected. Care is taken with patients with a low resistance to infection, open wounds, delicate skin, the elderly, or multiple intravenous lines or other medical equipment. We strictly adhere to infection control principles. The dog handler always has sanitizer available, and handwashing is promoted.

All dogs are screened for health and temperament, being non-aggressive and controllable.

The therapy dogs are well-trained with at least a qualification in basic obedience and are house broken. The dogs are always on a leash and accompanied by a dog handler. Therapy dogs are up to date with vaccinations, and kept free from parasites, that is, no fleas, ticks, worms, or skin problems. The dogs are washed at least 24 hours before their visit to our facility.

A visit with a friendly dog may be just what the doctor ordered.

This is an initiative of Wilgers Oncology in collaboration with Top Dogs Therapy Dogs and forms part of our counselling and support services.

Link to AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) below:

Top Dog Website