How Can a BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 Diagnosis Affect Couples?
Learning that you or your romantic partner has tested positive for either the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutation can leave you feeling overwhelmed, dazed, fearful, frustrated, confused and even angry. There is no single “right” way to react to this reality. You may discover that over time, both you and your romantic partner react to this challenge in different ways. Although it is normal to react to this challenge in a myriad of ways, it is not always easy for couples to understand how to respond to each other’s reactions in healthy ways. This is where BRCA couples therapy can be extremely beneficial. Every couple’s situation is different. As a result, it is important to work with a couples counselor devoted to finding the unique balance of healthy approaches that best suits each individual couple’s needs, priorities and circumstances. At Lindsey Hoskins & Associates, we are committed to doing just that.
BRCA and Romantic Couples – The Basics
It doesn’t take an official cancer diagnosis to rock the foundations of a relationship. Being diagnosed with certain gene mutations that predispose one to specific kinds of cancers can affect a relationship in many of the same ways. BRCA couples therapy can help romantic partners process this reality, plan for the future and work out each individual’s reactions to these issues in the healthiest ways possible. From family planning to medical decision-making, financial considerations to communication issues, intimacy challenges to fear of the future, dedicated BRCA couples therapy sessions can help couples find ways to move forward in proactive and supportive ways. There is no single “right” way to process such a diagnosis. But attending counseling sessions can help to better ensure that your approach is healthy and supports your unique needs and priorities.
Counseling Assistance Is Available
If your relationship has been affected by a BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutation diagnosis, please know that BRCA couples therapy may significantly help you and your romantic partner find healthy ways forward. Not all couples counseling scenarios are alike. Some counselors focus on young couples seeking a way to grow a healthy relationship from the start. Some counselors primarily work with couples struggling with substance abuse issues, empty nest challenges, financial burdens, end-of-life decision-making or infidelity. Navigating your way through a BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutation diagnosis is a unique reality. Seeking out specialized BRCA couples therapy could help to ensure that you are working with a counselor uniquely focused on your relationship’s unusual challenges. Please don’t hesitate to schedule a risk-free initial consultation today. You may discover that you can benefit from this effort even more than you might initially believe you can. We look forward to speaking with you.
Couples in which one member has tested positive for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation may benefit from working with a couples therapist who is knowledgeable about how these mutations may impact couples and family relationships, health, and decision-making.
Testing positive for a BRCA mutation has significant implications for a couples relationship, including intimacy/sexuality, family formation, risk-management decision-making, and communication. Couples may find it challenging to reconcile changing body image with their ideas about how their physical relationship can and should function at various stages. Women who choose to undergo risk-reducing mastectomy or oophorectomy will encounter changes to their bodies that can complicate sex and sexuality. A skilled couples therapist can help a couple communicate effectively about these issues and find compromise and satisfaction. Family formation goals and ideas are often affected by a positive BRCA mutation test. When a woman has not yet commenced or completed childbearing at the time of genetic testing, she and her partner must consider the implications of pregnancy on her own health, as well as the risk to their future children.
Understanding all of the factors and options can be confusing and complicated. But a skilled couples therapist who is knowledgeable about these issues can serve as a guide in understanding each other and making decisions that work for your family. The options available for risk-management for BRCA-positive individuals are complicated and frequently changing. In addition, any decision has serious implications for couples relationships – either presently or in the future. Lindsey Hoskins has worked extensively with both couples and individuals to help them make confident decisions about how to manage their risk in the context of their relationships. Communicating effectively with one’s partner is an important step toward coping and healing together. Emotions can run high when working through the complicated process of genetic testing and decision-making, and having a safe place to explore your feelings together with the guidance of an expert in both couples therapy and genetics can set you on the path toward hope and healing.
Schedule an appointment online for medical family therapy with one of our clinicians or call 240-752-7650.