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Private Therapy London FAQ’s

Why would I see a psychologist?

There might be many different reasons for seeing a psychologist. You might be going through a particularly challenging time in your life and need some support. You might feel frustrated by the repetition of certain patterns in your life and relationships and wish to understand yourself better and make more helpful choices. You might be suffering from a particular difficulty or set of symptoms and need help with those or have a wish to develop new coping skills. Seeing a psychologist could also be a part of your own process of personal development. Whatever the issue might be, a psychological assessment will help you understand how psychological therapy could be of help and how it might help with your current concerns.

Why should I choose The Chelsea Psychology Clinic?

The psychologists at The Chelsea Psychology Clinic are highly trained clinicians that have years of experience working in the NHS with a range of difficulties from mild to moderate to complex and severe presentations. They also all have specialist training in a range of contemporary therapeutic approaches that have the best evidence base for a range of difficulties. Our psychologists receive regular supervision from experts in the field both from the UK and the US. They engage in rigorous continuing professional development and work with the highest standard of professionalism. Most of our psychologists also hold academic and research positions in a range of universities.

Our consultant psychiatrist is highly trained and a specialist both in the management of psychological and psychiatric conditions through medication but also has the highest level of specialist training in psychotherapy. This allows him to take a holistic approach to your care and to ensure that our team of psychologists is well supported.

What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

A psychologist has studied for a minimum of seven years to acquire their first degree of Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and subsequently a Doctorate in a form of applied Psychology. Psychologists have training in a range of different therapeutic approaches and also in research and evaluation of treatment outcomes. This allows them to take a scientific and informed approach to the treatment of mental disorders and emotional difficulties. Psychologists also have training in a range of therapeutic approaches which allows them to tailor the therapeutic approach to the individual rather than try to fit the individual to one approach. This allows for greater flexibility and a better fit for the diverse needs of different clients.

A psychiatrist is a medically qualified doctor who has specialism in the field of psychiatry. This means that a psychiatrist can rule out the physical cause for your difficulties and also order tests and prescribe medication. This is something that only medical doctors can do. Some psychiatrists have also undergone specialist training in psychotherapy which places them in a unique position to be able to understand both the body and the mind and work flexibly between the prescription of medication and talking therapy.

Why do therapists’ fees vary?

Therapists’ fees vary significantly as they reflect the nature of the training of the therapist. Psychologists are trained to doctoral level and also have experience in multiple therapeutic models. Due to this psychologists’ fees are higher than those of counsellors or therapists.

Do I need a psychologist or a psychiatrist?

Depending on the nature and severity of your difficulties you might need to see a psychologist, a psychiatrist or both. Psychologists are experts in the delivery of range of talking therapies whereas psychiatrists predominantly have expertise in the management of mental disorders through medication. If you are unsure about who you need to book an appointment with, we can discuss different options with you and provide you with more information about what might be the best fit for your current needs.

Is everything I talk about confidential?

Yes, everything you talk about is confidential. The only exceptions to confidentiality are if your psychologist or psychiatrist thinks that you are a risk to yourself or others in which case they may contact other professionals involved in your care such as your General Practitioner. This will always be discussed with you first.

Does my GP have to be informed?

For professional and ethical reasons, it is good practice to have the details of your GP should we ever need to contact them. However, we will not write to your GP unless we have your permission to do so. The only exception to this is highlighted in the section about confidentiality. If you have any concerns about this issue, please highlight them with your psychologist or psychiatrist in the first appointment. We will respect your decision and your confidentiality.

What is your cancellation policy?

Appointments can be cancelled with 48 hours’ notice. This allows us to provide urgent appointments to new enquiries or clients who are waiting to be seen by our psychologists or psychiatrist. If you cancel an appointment with less than 48 hours’ notice the full fee will be incurred.

Can I contact the clinic out of hours?

The main telephone line of the clinic is answered 24 hours a day so you can always leave a message for us which will be immediately passed on by our staff. Depending on the time of day you leave your message it might take a few hours for us to get back to you. We endeavour to deal with all calls and enquiries as soon as possible.

Can I contact my psychologist out of hours?

Depending on the therapeutic approach you are receiving it might be possible to have contact with your psychologist out of hours. This is something that is discussed and negotiated on an individual basis and may vary between psychologists and therapeutic models.

What happens in the first appointment?

During the first appointment you will receive a comprehensive assessment of your current difficulties. We will also take a detailed background history in order to be able to understand you in the context of your life and early experiences. This will allow us to develop a psychological formulation of your presenting concerns. By the end of the assessment which takes mostly one to two appointments we will make a recommendation about what therapeutic approach might be helpful for your difficulties and agree on an initial number of sessions if you wish to begin a course of therapy. Sometimes on the basis of the information you give us during the initial contact we might recommend that you see our consultant psychiatrist for the initial assessment who is subsequently likely to refer you to one of the psychologists.

How many appointments will it take to make me feel better?

The pace of progress and change varies significantly depending on the nature of your difficulties. Some therapeutic approaches we offer are short term so you should be able to notice a change within a few sessions. Other approaches are long term as they address long standing patterns in the individual that have developed in early life. During the initial assessment your psychologist should be able to give you some guidance about what therapeutic approach is most indicated and the likely duration of treatment in the first instance.

I’m not sure if therapy is for me, should I come?

Having an initial assessment will give you a sense as to whether therapy is for you. You are not committed to any further sessions after the first appointment and we often advise our clients to go away and decide if they want to continue with a course of sessions. If you have further questions that you would like to discuss about therapy and whether it is for you, please contact us and we will address your concerns.