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What to expect

What to expect from us initially

When entering the service for the first time everyone is offered two appointments with a qualified practitioner. These appointments will last up to 45 minutes and are offered both face-to-face at GP surgeries, other community venues, and over the phone. During these appointments, you will be able to discuss what issues you may be experiencing. Our service is able to work with people experiencing anxiety disorders, depression, stress, bereavement and other common mental health issues, we offer short term focussed treatments in line with NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) guidelines. The practitioner may then signpost you to some relevant self-help material, or recommend that you attend one of our psycho-educational courses (more information below).

These appointments are not the start of contracted treatment or “therapy”; they are assessment appointments for you to discuss your issues with a practitioner in order to come to a mutual understanding of what might be the most appropriate, least intrusive treatment. For some individuals these appointments offer enough support, and the second appointment provides an opportunity to review this, and consider whether further treatment would be beneficial. If, following these appointments, both you and the practitioner feel you would benefit from some further support within the service, a referral may be made for further treatment which may be attending one of our courses or engaging in some one to one work.

We will often suggest that a course is attended prior to engaging in one-to-one treatment because this is a good way to learn immediate self-help techniques, and the feedback we receive from course attendees is very positive. If a referral for one-to-one treatment is made, you will be placed on a waiting list for further treatment, we are unable to guarantee when appointments will become available, and this often depends on how flexible you can be with times, days and locations you are able to attend. You can book a further appointment with the practitioner who you saw initially, if you need extra support whilst waiting.

If, during the course of our assessment, or at any point during your contact with the service we become concerned about you being able to keep yourself safe we will need to refer you to more intensive support than we can offer. This may also be the case if your issues are very complex and short term treatment would not be recommended.

Questionnaires

At every appointment, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire. The questionnaire contains measures of low mood, anxiety, and the impact of difficulties on different areas of life. These questionnaires serve two purposes. Firstly, they provide one way for us to monitor your progress and for you to be able to assess your progress. Secondly, our service sends anonymised data to the Department of Health to demonstrate that the work we do helps people, this is part of how we get funded, allowing us to offer the service for free.

What we expect from you

At each appointment, the practitioner will ask you to try and complete something before the next appointment. This may be to read some information, try out a technique, complete a thought/activity diary, or to attend one of our courses. We see the best improvement from individuals who engage with this, it can also help to see whether you would be ready and able to benefit from further support.

Cancellations and Non Attendance

We also ask that if you are unable to attend an appointment that you let us know with at least 48 hours’ notice, this allows us to reallocate the appointment, minimising our waiting times. If you do not attend your first appointment without warning, we will automatically cancel future appointments. If you then want to re-access the service, you will need to phone and rebook appointments. Due to the number of people trying to access our service we may have to discharge you if you do not attend two or more appointments without prior notice.

Courses

Our service also offers a number of free psycho-educational courses. These courses can be booked through our website, or by calling the main office. The courses cover a range of topics including stress, low mood, anxiety, self-esteem, relaxation, sleep, and long term health conditions. These are taught courses and not group therapy, there is no obligation to talk and we do not run any ‘ice-breaker’ exercises. If following a course, you feel you need some extra support, you can book an appointment with a practitioner to discuss this.

We also offer mindfulness courses, these are more practical than our other courses, and there is an expectation to participate in mindfulness exercises, and discussions about these. Attendees may also be asked to introduce themselves, however further personal details do not need to be shared.

If you are unable to attend a course that you have booked please let us know, so we can offer the place to someone else.

Reviews

Following you attending a course, or one to one treatment, if you are still experiencing some difficulties, you will be encouraged to book back in with the initial practitioner in order to review your progress and decide together whether further treatment would be helpful. If you do not book back in within six weeks of completed the course or one to one, we will write to you encouraging you to do so.