What to Expect
Welcome! This might be the first time that you have contacted a professional for support or it might be that you are looking for something new. This is a guide to what you might expect when you get in touch. My approach is personalised, we decide together on your goals, and how we might address those needs, evidence based, structured and focused on the here and now and future (with acknowledgement of how past experiences may have impacted on current experiences). We review regularly and typically agree a number of sessions to start that can then be extended on review. This is based on what you are looking for, my clinical experience and the NICE guidelines for health professionals.
Schedule an appointment
The first thing to do is to send me an e-mail requesting an appointment. If you would like to arrange a brief 20 minute telephone call to see if I am the right person for your needs, I can arrange a convenient time to contact you. If I think that a different type of support might better suit your needs I will help to signpost you and recommend an alternative. I will then offer you my first availability and we will try to arrange a time that suits you, where you can have some privacy. I will send you a contract, registration form and my terms and conditions to complete and return. If we decide to engage in a course of work together we will make a regular appointment time. I appreciate that particularly at the moment there are likely to be alot of competing demands so if a particular time isn't working for you we can try a different time.
What will happen at my first appointment?
The first appointment is an opportunity to introduce ourselves and for you to decide if you would like us to work together. It is an opportunity for you to find out more about what I offer and how I work and if this fits with what you are looking for. For me, it is an opportunity for me to find out a little more about what you are looking for and to set some goals for our work. Assessments usually take place over two sessions I will ask you about your current needs and some background history. I may send you some questionnaires (psychometric assessments) relevant to our assessment via email that you can return to me via email. For younger people involvement of the school may be helpful and it may be important to gather information from other sources as part of your assessment and at these times the assessment may involve more sessions. I can communicate with other professionals by telephone and online by secure system.
Deciding to work together. How many sessions will I need?
After the initial assessment we will set a plan together. This will be determined by your needs, what you would like to address and how we decide to work together. As a Psychologist I make a formulation (a 'road map') of your present needs, how they emerged, what contributed, what factors are helping and what things may be contributing and how we plan to address these. For some this will be thinking about systemic factors and where appropriate, family members or carers may be involved. I can also communicate and co-work with other health and education professionals as may be appropriate and helpful.
If you require a report
I will ask your consent to write a brief letter to your GP after assessment, informing them that we are working together. Should you require a full assessment report, a full referral (over and above a brief letter) to another service then I can provide this and it will be charged at my hourly rate for reports (see Fees).
This may be a new experience for you, or it may be something that you are very familiar with using with friends, family or colleagues. I can provide full written instructions and can send you a video guide written by Psychologist colleagues to introduce the software and can answer any questions you may have. It may be a good idea to practice using the software with a friend if this is something you are unfamiliar with before our appointment. I can send you any worksheets, questionnaire measures and tracking sheets via email and we can also use live 'screen sharing' where helpful.
It is important that you find a private space to hold our sessions where you will not be interrupted. It is preferable for this not to be in your bedroom or a private space but somewhere that you would be happy to invite guests. It can be helpful to have your device plugged in to avoid losing battery where possible and also if you are plugged into the ethernet rather than running from wifi this can improve the quality of the connection where possible. Make sure that you have good lighting and that it is not too noisy. Treat the session as you would an in person appointment, perhaps bring a note book and pen, ensure that you are dressed and ready, bring a glass of water and make yourself comfortable.
Security and Privacy
Communication with others
It may be helpful to communicate with others to gather information as part of an assessment or as part of or plan to best address your needs. This might include offering sessions jointly or to carers. It might include communication in writing or by telephone to other health professionals or it might involve liaison with school. This will always be done with your consent. If however I am concerned about any risk to you, out to others I may have to make this communication to appropriate services as required by my professional and ethical guidelines. Wherever possible this will be in discussion with you.
I am not able to provide support between sessions and do not provide a Duty or Crisis service, so complex needs and risk concerns may be better supported within a multi-disciplinary team who can provide these additional services.
If however, we are working together and I am concerned about your risk, or any risk to others then I will discuss this with you and together we will come up with a safety plan and seek the most appropriate support. This may include communication with your GP, advising you to attend A&E and referrals to other services should this be required.