Ava's story

When I was 18 I went through a really traumatic period. My parents divorced and I had a very serious car accident. My car was so badly wrecked that when my mum arrived at the scene the paramedics told her that, judging by the state of my car, she should assume I hadn't survived.

Miraculously, I wasn't hurt - I didn't even have whiplash - but emotionally it was awful. I never really felt safe again. I was terrified of going in cars, I had flashbacks, insomnia and panic attacks. I lived like that for years. Doctors offered me sleeping tablets, but no one else seemed to be able to help me.

I came up with my own coping strategies - like being really busy all the time so I didn't have to think. But my boyfriend said that it really was time for me to do something about the anxiety - by then it had been 5 years and I was still having flashbacks when driving, and panic attacks about pretty much anything I wasn't in control of.

As an ICAEW employee, I know I can access caba's services, so I spoke to caba and they said that all their services are free of charge and that they could put me in touch with a counsellor. I opted for phone counselling rather than face-to-face, and agreed to try 6 sessions.

I was nervous, but the counsellor was so good. She didn't push me to re-live anything scary or go to any dark places. She just listened to me and helped me piece together what was going on. She helped me realise that all my rushing around was a way of avoiding getting in touch with myself. She also helped me to see that all the anxiety I was experiencing was around control. My parents' divorce was not at all amicable and I was forced into a situation where I was responsible for my younger sisters. The lack of control I felt around that, as well as the crash, was what I was really having difficulties with.

She taught me very simple techniques - like mindfulness, to help me stay in the moment and calm down. It was amazing, it really worked. It was only during the sixth session that I realised I'd stopped having panic attacks.

The emotional difficulty had really held me back. Seeing a caba counsellor unlocked that for me and I can see changes in every area of my life. I'm driving again now, I can sleep and I spend a lot more time with my boyfriend relaxing. I've started to focus on my strengths and be more assertive. I honestly can say that the 6 sessions have changed me and because of them, I am stronger, happier and have more ambitious goals.

how caba can help

caba supports the wellbeing of past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and their spouses, partners and children up to the age of 25. For advice, information and support please:

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Who is eligible for support?

We support past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and the family and carers of members and students. 

  1. No matter where your career takes you, past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England Wales (ICAEW) are eligible for caba’s services for life, even if you change your career and leave accountancy 
  2. ACA students (ICAEW Provisional Members) who are either an active student or have been an active student within the last three years are eligible for caba's services 
  3. Past and present staff members of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's services for life, even if you leave either organisation. Please note, for former employees, our financial support is only available to those who have had five years continuous employment with either organisation 
  4. Family members and carers of either an eligible past or present ICAEW member, ACA student or past or present employee of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's support. We define a family member as a: 
    1. spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner 
    2. widow, widower or surviving civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    3. divorced spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    4. child aged up to 25. Please note, children aged between 16 and 25 are not eligible for individual financial support 
    5. any other person who is dependent on the eligible individual supporting them financially or are reliant on the eligible individual’s care 
    6. any other person on whom the eligible individual is reliant, either financially or for care 

You can find out more about our available support both in the UK and around the world on our support we offer  page. 

Are your services means-tested?

If you need financial support, we carry out a means test where we consider income, expenditure, capital and assets.  

*Please note none of our other services are means-tested. 

I’m an accountant, but not a member of ICAEW, can you still help?

Unfortunately not. We only support past and present ICAEW members, their carers and their families. If we are unable to support you, where possible we will point you to help elsewhere.

caba has supported me in the past; can I receive support from caba again?

We understand that circumstances change. If we’ve helped you in the past there’s no reason why we can’t help you again. You can contact us at any time. Please call us if you need our help.

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