What is a clinical psychologist?

There are many different professionals who work in the health sector and there is understandably confusion about the differences between us.  Broadly speaking, the profession of clinical psychology aims to reduce psychological distress and enhance the promotion of psychological wellbeing (British Psychological Society).

A clinical psychologist completes an undergraduate degree in psychology, gains work experience and then applies for doctoral-level university training programme with evaluated placements to achieve the qualification to become a Registered Practitioner.  The training is extensive and enables clinical psychologists to assess and treat a range of difficulties drawing on many different approaches. 

Importantly, clinical psychology is an “applied science”, which means that what we do and how we do it is grounded in research and is supported by evidence from studies evaluating the efficacy of the approaches.  Clinical Psychology is a legally regulated profession and we are bound to maintain our Continued Professional Development and receive regular supervision to practise. 

When can I book an appointment?

I currently offer appointments during the day on a Monday and run an evening clinic on a Tuesday. Depending on my availability around my NHS work, I can offer sessions on a Thursday.

What can I expect from an initial consultation?

When we first meet, I will aim to find out more detail about the issues that are causing you difficulty.  I will also take a few essential contact details for you.  Following this assessment, I will then offer you an initial psychological understanding (or a “formulation”) of your concerns which leads us into discussing the treatment options available. 

It is really important you are happy with the services you receive and I will check with you that I have explained your options clearly.  If you decide you wish to meet with a different professional, I can support you to find someone who matches your needs. 

What is your privacy policy?

I take protecting your privacy very seriously and I follow the strict Code and Conduct of Ethics set out by the British Psychological Society (BPS; 2018). During our assessment and therapy meetings, I will take notes which will include personal and sensitive details about your life. The assessment and notes are used solely for the delivery of a therapy service to you. Your therapy and personal information are stored securely in locked cabinets and encrypted electronic devices.

Your information will not be discussed or released to a third party without your
explicit, written consent, unless required by law. Your information regarding treatment and diagnosis may be provided to an insurance company. Any data will be sent to third parties securely. 

What if I need to cancel or reschedule my appointment?

In the event that you are unable to keep an appointment, I ask for at least 48 hours notice.  A cancelled appointment with less that 48 hours notice will be charged at £45.

A missed appointment without notice will be charged at £90.

What if I need urgent help or support?

I am unable to provide you with emergency help.  If you are concerned about your safety or have any other urgent concern, you can contact your GP or the out-of-hours NHS service on 111. There are also a number of cafés called Safe Haven across Surrey, which you can access for emotional and crisis support during the evenings and weekends. Please see their leaflet for further information and where to find them. 

Alternatively, if you need between-session support, you can contact a Freephone support line such as the Samaritans (116 123, 24 hours a day, throughout the year) or SaneLine (0300 304 7000, open 6pm-11pm daily).

How will my confidentiality be protected?

Confidentiality will be maintained within the codes of my regulatory and professional bodies. Confidentiality does not apply where it would mean that I, as your psychologist, might break the law or where withholding information means I would breach the codes of ethics. Confidentiality may be breached if I consider there is a risk you may harm yourself or others. In such exceptional circumstances, where there is concern for your well being or that of others, it may be necessary to seek help outside the therapeutic relationship. In such an event where I am considering breaching confidentiality, you will normally be consulted first. 

Information but no identifying information will be shared with my supervisor who is also accredited by the BPS and regulated by the HCPC. You may wish to discuss further limits or exceptions of confidentiality. I will explain the parameters of confidentiality in full before we begin our work together and ask you to sign a form to confirm you understand. 

Can I have access to the information you hold about me?

You have rights relating to the information I hold to verify the accuracy or to ask for them to be supplemented, deleted, updated or corrected. You have the right to request a copy of the information that I hold about you. If you would like a copy or some or all of your personal information, please email me via the contact details stated in this agreement. Information will be provided to you within 30 days. You may ask me to correct or remove information you think is inaccurate. You have a right to request the transfer of data to another individual or company. I want to make sure that your information is accurate and up-to-date, so please advise me if your contact details change.

How long will you store information about me?

Your information is kept for the time necessary to provide the therapy service requested, however outside of this I will hold your details and session notes for a period of 7 years following the end of treatment to comply with legal obligations that are placed upon me by my insurers. In the case of a child under 13 then records will be kept 7 years after they reach the age of majority (18).  After this date, all data will be securely deleted.