Is my personal information shared with others outside of this service?
At your initial telephone assessment you will be reminded of the confidential nature of our service. Everything you share with our service is kept confidential. Only those in our service who are involved in your care will have access to your personal information. We also use a private secure NHS patient data system that is specific to our service, where we record your personal information. There are exceptions to this confidentiality, when we may have to contact your GP or other relevant services, if you were to be considered at serious risk from others or to yourself, and also if you were considered a serious risk to others.
Will I be expected to go on a course before I get to speak to someone about my problems?
We are committed to ensuring patient choice and will discuss with you the variety of interventions that is best suited for your particular issue(s). People do not necessarily require or need a course, and this is something that is discussed and agreed with you at the initial assessment stage. However, we have found that many people have benefited from attending our courses and have valued the experience of being amongst people with similar issues.
Is there a limit on how many sessions I can attend?
Yes, this varies on the type of treatment agreed. It can be between 4 and 12 sessions depending on the difficulty you need help with. The specific number of sessions offered would be discussed with you at your initial assessment. We have found that most people prefer to get the most benefit from the least number of sessions, whilst others may require more time to see the benefits.
What if I don’t get better after 8 sessions? What if I need more help?
It is true that for some people the initial treatment may not be enough. When this is the case, you will have the opportunity to discuss this with your allocated therapist or practitioner. If another intervention is recommended then, you may be offered this opportunity. However, many people experience further improvement a few weeks or months after discharge, as it gives people time to integrate and consolidate the learning achieved within treatment.
How will I know if the therapist is qualified and trustworthy?
All of our practitioners go through a rigorous interview process to ensure they are suitable, and many are qualified and accredited by their professional bodies. These may include BABCP, BACP and UKCP. These professional bodies hold a UK register of accredited members, where individual therapists are listed and this is open to the public. In addition, all staff are supervised for the work that they do on a regular basis to ensure that they practice in a safe and effective manner.
How good is the type of treatment I can expect from this service?
All types of therapy we offer have an evidence base behind them. There is a great deal of evidence to show that CBT has worked effectively in treating a wide range of emotional and physical health conditions in adults, young people and children. The research has been carefully reviewed by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), which provides independent, evidence-based guidance for the NHS on the most effective ways to treat disease and ill health for the NHS.
Other treatments offered by our service, include: Counselling, Interpersonal Therapy and Cognitive Analytical Therapy. All these have also shown to be effective for particular issues.
Our service is also an IAPT Service (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies), which means that we offer a choice of interventions and follow best practice guidance based on recent research and recommendations.
What can CBT help with?
NICE recommends CBT in the treatment of the following conditions:
- Anxiety disorders (including panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Depression / low mood
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Chronic fatigue
- Chronic pain
- Sleep difficulties
- Anger management
What if I want a diagnosis, is your service the right place?
Everyone who is referred into our service receives an assessment. At this assessment an initial problem statement/summary is established with you. It may fall under anxiety or depression. The intervention that is considered most beneficial for your particular problem is then offered to you. Only medical doctors/psychiatrists and clinical psychologists are licensed to provide an official diagnosis. These professionals are not part of our service as we are a therapy service only. If this is what you are looking for, we recommend that you approach your GP, who can refer you to the appropriate service for an official diagnosis.
Do I have to be on medication to access your service?
CBT can be used in conjunction with prescribed medication, but it is not essential. You can also use CBT or attend other talking therapies without it. Medication can at times help to improve mood and motivation, which may enhance the benefits of therapy.
What if I have emotional or mental health issues, but I also find it difficult to control my alcohol intake or take illicit substances?
We recommend that you first explore these issues with your GP before referring yourself into the service. However, we do not exclude people who consume level s of alcohol above the recommended daily allowance, or if they are consuming illicit substances. However, you would need to be willing to reduce or abstain from these prior to your treatment. There are other specialist services which can help if you find it difficult to control your consumption of substances. We can advise you about this at the assessment stage.
What if I cannot attend all sessions due to child care or work commitments?
You and your therapist will set pre-booked times, which can be anything between 9 am and 5 pm Monday to Friday. The expectation is for everyone to attend weekly sessions if it is a course, CBT or counselling. However, if this is inconvenient for you, you may wish to consider telephone guided self-help instead, which is more flexible and makes it more accessible to people with busy lives. Some courses and telephone treatment can be offered in the evening.
What if I don’t get on with the person I am seeing?
It is possible to discuss it with another member of the team. We encourage that people be as open as possible with the person they are allocated to about their issues and a decision can be made about whether to continue with the same therapist or that you may be allocated another therapist. All our therapists are bound by a code of professional and ethical conduct, and a preference for male or female therapist may be deemed appropriate and hopefully raised at the assessment stage to ensure meeting your needs.
What if I am really wasting your time?
We do not consider anybody who refers themselves into our service as wasting time. It is always a brave step to take to ask for help, and this is something that is valued by all of our staff. It is also very common for people at some point in their lives to experience emotional or mental health issues, which would benefit from professional psychological support.
How long will I have to wait for an appointment?
Initially you will be offered a telephone assessment which is usually booked within the two weeks of you contacting the service. Following that, you will be placed on a waiting list for treatment and this can vary between 6 and 12 weeks, and sometimes more. It is worth knowing that courses may have shorter waiting times than one to one treatment. Whilst you are waiting for treatment we recommend that you approach your GP for support if required. Alternatively, you may also want to consider low-cost private counselling or psychotherapy.
Do you offer appointments at weekends?
Our normal working hours are Monday – Friday from 9am – 5pm (excluding Bank Holidays) however, we do offer some appointments, therapies and groups during the evening.