What is Clinical Health Psychology?
Clinical Health Psychology is a specialist team within the Psychological Therapies Service. We work with adults who are living with health conditions which impact on their mental wellbeing and quality of life. We cover a wide range of health conditions, with some of our psychologists specialising in the following conditions: pain, diabetes, cancer, neuropsychology (see below), functional neurological disorders, and physical rehabilitation. Some of our psychologists have a broader remit with understanding of a wide range of health conditions.
- CBT explores how thoughts, attitudes and beliefs influence emotions and behaviours specifically related to health conditions.
- ACT promotes being open, present and doing what matters. These areas can be challenging with persistent health conditions as individuals often limit their behaviours, ruminate on the past and struggle to see a future. ACT working can aid acceptance and introduce a better quality of life.
- CFT uses techniques from compassionate mind training to help people develop their capacity to experience warmth, safeness and soothing. This can support better self-care of physical health conditions and is and is particularly helpful for people who experience self-criticism.
We also work alongside our colleagues in other teams providing psychological input, for example the Scottish Type 1 Education Programme (STEP) group for newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetes focused on adjustment and wellbeing.
As with other health conditions, some common emotional difficulties experienced by people with a neurological condition include low mood or depression, anxiety, fatigue, frustration or anger, sleep difficulties, and difficulties adjusting to your condition. We will work with you to help you understand and manage these difficulties with the aim of improving your overall quality of life. This work might be done individually or as part of a group. These options will be discussed with you at your first appointment. For details of the types of therapeutic approach we use, see What we do.
You may also be referred for a cognitive assessment (an assessment of your memory and thinking skills). For further information about this, please see the section below.
What to expect when you attend your first neuropsychology appointment
Your first appointment can last between 60 and 90 minutes (this information will be included in your appointment letter). We usually ask you to bring someone with you to this appointment. This can be helpful, as someone close to you may have noticed changes that you haven’t been aware of, especially if you are experiencing problems with your memory or thinking. With your permission, we will ask both of you to tell us about how your condition impacts on you and any issues you have been struggling with.
What is a neuropsychological assessment?
The assessment is a measurement of your ability to do a number of different mental tasks and covers areas such as memory, concentration, language, visuo-spatial abilities, problem solving and planning. These types of thinking skills are often affected by brain injury or illness and the assessment can help determine your strengths and weaknesses. This can be useful in order to plan a rehabilitation programme or to inform any adaptations you might need to continue in your employment. Sometimes an assessment may be requested to help make a diagnosis.
Neuropsychological assessment procedure
The formal assessment will usually be carried out over one or two sessions, following your initial appointment. You will be asked to complete some pencil and paper tasks, as well as answering some questions. You will be given breaks if you need them. Afterwards, your tests will be scored and your psychologist will arrange a further appointment to explain the results to you. You will have the opportunity to ask questions at any time.
Telephone Number: 01324 614 387
Opening Hours: 8.30am-4.30pm Monday-Friday
If you are concerned about somebody who may be at immediate risk out with these hours, contact either your local GP surgery, NHS 24 (dial 111) or go to your nearest Emergency Department.
If you are seeking immediate help with mental health problems, use one of the above options, or contact a counsellor at Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87) or at the Samaritans (08457 90 90 90).
NHS inform also provides helpful information regarding specific health conditions, alongside links to other organisations.
For further information regarding health conditions that some of our patients are living with, the following websites and resources may be helpful.
Diabetes UK – is a helpline for emotional support and provides an open forum for advice for individuals with diabetes.
Tel. 0141 212 8710 (Mon – Fri 9am to 6pm)
Headway – provides support, information and local services to survivors of brain injury (including stroke) and their families and carers
Tel. 0808 800 2244
Macmillan Cancer Support – provides support for those diagnosed with cancer and their families, including free access to an online community and an online chat service.
Tel: 0808 808 0000 (Mon – Sun 8am to 8pm)
Neurosymptoms.org – a website providing information and advice on Functional Neurological Disorders
Carers Centres – Carers Centre provides information and support to carers of all ages.
NHS Inform Self-help guides – Both physical and mental self-help guides can be found at NHS Inform