our services 

Our aim is to raise awareness, provide information and compassionate funding. Here are some of the ways we can help

Without Wing’s Counselling

Central to Without Wing’s ethos is the belief that support and compassion are primary needs for sufferers of autoimmune arthritis, not secondary. This need is also recognised by the Department of Health, who have acknowledged that presently, within the Manx NHS, there is a ‘service gap’ for psychological support for people living with life changing diagnoses. Learning to live with autoimmune arthritis can be particularly lonely and stressful, with some reports suggesting that up to 40% of sufferers also have a diagnosis of depression.

Looking after your emotional health might seem a daunting – or even an impossible prospect when faced with a serious chronic health condition, but making the decision to seek support when you need it can make all the difference when it comes to thriving, not just surviving.

Without Wings are therefore delighted to be in the position to offer fast access and excellent quality counselling for sufferers of autoimmune arthritis – and their loved ones if necessary, in recognition that these illnesses can affect the whole family. In addition to this, we hope to soon be in the position to offer a courtesy home visit to every person facing diagnosis and also counsellor led group meetings. Our counselling service is in conjunction with the wonderful Lisa Lowe Centre and is fully funded by Without Wings, the Manx Autoimmune Arthritis Trust.

Without Wing’s ever evolving relationship with the Lisa Lowe Centre is something we treasure deeply. In recognition that taking that first step through the door and asking for help is often the hardest, the Centre prides itself on being homely and friendly, with sessions taking place in the beautifully renovated old school house in Tromode. Via their highly trained and well-respected counsellors, they are perfectly equipped to help you with such issues as:

  • Coming to terms with your illness
  • Defining and reaching wellness goals
  • Overcoming fears or insecurities
  • Coping with stress and trauma
  • Separating your true personality from the mood swings caused by your illness
  • Identifying triggers that may worsen your symptoms
  • Improving relationships with family and friends
  • Developing a plan for coping with crises

Meet Cathy

Cathy, who grew up in the Isle of Man, is a BACP Registered counsellor – which means she subscribes to a professional body and work within a national set of principles. She cut her counselling teeth working in areas of significant hardship in North Liverpool, and through that realised many difficulties can be relieved through stronger communities, structured group work and face to face support.

She is delighted to find herself working for the Lisa Lowe Centre and can offer a wide range of therapeutic interventions to suit a variety of challenges and make a difference. Her colleagues would say she has a good sense humour and warm and engaging manner. Cathy is also a keen walker and loves exploring Celtic spirituality, especially Celtic drumming

“The impact of talking therapies never ceases to amaze me which allows me the privilege of being part of people’s lives.”

Catherine Wareing MA – Lisa Lowe Centre Person Centred Counsellor

The Lisa Lowe Centre is an established Island based organisation that provides full-time psychological services for people affected by mental health issues. The service follows UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance and is led by a consultant clinical psychologist. Therapies are provided by experienced and registered psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors.

Counselling Testimonials

I was referred to the Lisa Lowe Centre by local autoimmune arthritis charity, ‘Without Wings,’ to help me come to terms with a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2016. The support I have been given has been life-changing and I am incredibly grateful that I have been able to access this incredible service. I have been supported to fully understand and research my condition. I have been given help to understand what it means, how to manage the varying levels of pain and how not to define myself by the limitations of an illness
John H*

Walking into the Lisa Lowe centre when I have been feeling anxious and depressed has been a joy – everyone knew my name from the beginning – I cannot put into words how wonderful it was to be a part of this when my world felt as though it was falling apart.

Lisa S*

Complementary Therapy Support

Living with autoimmune arthritis conditions and chronic pain can be intensely stressful – which nearly always has a negative impact on everything and can lead to escalating autoimmune issues as well as a worsening of the illness itself. Complementary health support such as healthy eating, reflexology, reiki, cranio-sacral, light (not sport) massage, acupuncture, homeopathy, meditation and many more, are therefore often invaluable when it comes to helping sufferers feel calmer, more supported and better in control of their health. Without Wings can offer discretionary funding towards the cost of any short programme of treatment with an accredited practitioner.

Disclaimer: these services are designed to complement, not replace your medical regime. Always check your unique situation with your main healthcare provider before embarking on a complementary health programme. An index of local practitioners who will be supporting our Complementary Health Fair in March 2018, will soon be available on our Information page. Without Wings does not necessarily endorse any of these services.

How Complementary Therapy Helped Me

“The stress of my illness – of the pain and not being able to use my body efficiently was making me very unhappy and I started to develop severe headaches. Cranio Sacral therapy was amazing. I hadn’t noticed how tense I had become and the sessions were very relaxing – which I honestly hadn’t expected. I felt a huge sense of relief every time I went and the headaches began to improve. Emotionally, the sessions were very supportive and helped me feel much, much stronger.”

Catherine P*

Short Term Home Help

When you are at your worst, or after, for example, surgery, it can often be impossible to manage those small tasks that help keep your home comfortable and in order. This can be even more stressful if you are confined to your home for that period when you are most without your physical ‘wings.’

Without Wings can therefore offer discretionary short term funding support for services such as cleaning or gardening. Regarding gardening: Without Wings can also help you liaise with government agencies if, in extreme circumstances, your garden has been highlighted by the commissioners and you are unable to tackle the issue due to your autoimmune arthritis health limitations.

Physical Aids

Autoimmune Arthritis can have many hidden expenses. For example, special kitchen equipment might be required to help you chop and prep veg or you might need bath aids, joint support bandages or equipment to help you pull on your socks and shoes when you are at your very worst. NHS physiotherapy and occupational therapy might be able to provide you with some equipment, (it’s always best to get their advice first anyway), but occasionally they can only advise what equipment you need to purchase. Without Wings can offer discretionary funding towards the purchase of such equipment.

How PA’s Helped Me

“I was having difficulty preparing meals for my young family due to the severity of the illness in my hands. Without Wings helped fund a piece of equipment for the kitchen that does this for me. It has taken a huge amount of stress out of mealtimes and means I am able to cook healthier food and not rely on just sticking frozen meals in the oven. Without Wings were so friendly and helpful. This charity is a brilliant resource for people with these illnesses.”

Linda C*

Rehabilitation Activities

Keeping yourself moving is an essential requirement with autoimmune arthritis: ‘use it or lose it’ is a useful thing to remember when considering your joints! Weight bearing activities can also help maintain bone density which can be a particularly serious issue for people reliant on steroid intervention. However, it can also be difficult to know how to move efficiently, especially if you are in pain or have limited joint mobility or other complications. It is therefore very important to liaise with a good physiotherapist to find out a recommended programme of rehabilitation.

A good physiotherapist might be able to offer a programme themselves, or they might suggest other activities. Without Wings can offer discretionary funding towards activities such as swimming, yoga, pilates and private rehabilitation gym work. We have also built up a good relationship with the National Sports Centre who are able to offer advice/ rehabilitation services that between us, can be fully funded. 

How Rehabilitation Helped Me

“Without Wings have been a huge support to my son, who was diagnosed with JIA when he was just a year old, he is on Methotrexate and suffers with Polyarticular arthritis. My son broke his femur early this year which was related to his arthritis. I felt it was very important for him to strengthen his muscles as much as possible before he started school so Without Wings donated some money to pay for swimming lessons. My son is doing much better now with a mix of exercise that suits him as well as medication that is really working for him.”

Hannah M*

*All names have been changed to protect anonymity