A recent audit of waiting times over a 12-month period showed that the average waiting time for new referrals was less than 10 working days. Delays are caused when insurance companies require a different referral pathway.
All therapies offered are evidence-based and NICE recommended treatments are favoured. Where there is evidence that any of the recommended therapies have not been useful, an alternative intervention strategy is agreed, with reviews built into the treatment protocol to monitor progress.
As a fully qualified and Chartered Clinical Psychologist, patients have a choice of a range of therapeutic modalities, based on presenting needs, past experience of therapy, as well as personal preference. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Trauma Therapy, as well as multi-theoretical, integrative approaches are available. A full assessment and formulation (shared understanding) will inform the preferred treatment modality.
This depends on a number of factors - the nature of the problem, chronicity, motivational factors, available support and funding, to name a few. Typical treatment episodes range between 6 and 12 sessions, but this often depends on the funding options. Where insurance cover is in place, policy benefits and limits set by the insurer will guide the duration of treatment.
Standardised clinical measures are routinely administered to monitor progress, outcome and satisfaction, and these are shared with the individual.
Self-referrals are welcome, but any health provider can make a referral. In the case of self-referral, and as a courtesy, the GP practice will be informed. This will only be done with an explicit agreement in place.
A risk assessment is conducted in all cases and is monitored throughout treatment. Where risk issues are identified the GP practice is informed.
As an independent provider it is not possible to make direct referrals to these services and the GP will be informed about the level of need and the action that is required.
The simplest answer lies in the educational background of these professionals. A psychiatrist has a degree in medicine and a psychologist typically has a doctoral-level degree in clinical or counselling psychology. Psychiatrists will often prescribe and oversee medication, while psychologists don’t and focus more on talking therapies.
Psychological therapy can be a deeply private process that often involves discussion of personal and sensitive issues. The expectation therefore is that information is at all times treated as confidential. This is usually true, but there are exceptions and the limits to confidentiality are explained at the start of consultations.