If you are referred to a psychologist or psychotherapist, it doesn’t mean you are ‘going mad’. In simple terms, you may be feeling frightened, sad, desperate, overwhelmed or that you are just not coping. In these situations, psychological therapy can help you to understand your situation better, work out new ways of approaching difficult emotional situations and how to change long term thinking and behaviour. You may also be referred, by your doctor or nurse, for a more detailed assessment of your mental health problems to understand the cause of your difficulties. This will help to clarify the diagnosis and inform a treatment plan.
Our psychologists and psychotherapists work closely with other professionals in our medical and psychiatric teams. They concentrate on talking and listening treatments; working with you as an individual or including family members or carers. Psychological therapy provides you with a safe confidential space to talk about your feelings and problems and can help you to make changes in your life.
We offer a range of different psychological therapies including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), couple and family therapy (FT), psychodynamic psychotherapies and advice on how to understand difficulties and develop better ways of coping. We run groups for people who experience depression, anxiety, memory problems and for carers who may be struggling with the demands of their role. There is no ‘one size fits all’ treatment and it may take time for you to be able to see any changes.
People who are experiencing significant cognitive or memory difficulties may be referred to a psychologist for a more detailed neuropsychological assessment.
We have two psychology and psychotherapy teams who work across Croydon and Lewisham and Lambeth and Southwark, seeing people in hospital at home or in local clinics. Each team is made up of registered psychologists and psychotherapists who are experienced in working with people aged 65 years and over and who have moderate or severe mental health difficulties, memory and other cognitive problems or dementia. Sometimes we see younger people who are experiencing memory problems more commonly seen in later life.
What’s the difference between a psychologist, psychotherapist and a psychiatrist?
Psychologists look at how people think and act. They are concerned with all aspects of behaviour, thoughts, feelings and the motivation behind them. A clinical psychologist will have undergone a doctorate level of applied psychology training and are skilled in specialist assessment techniques.
Psychotherapists are mental health professionals with specialist training in a specific type of talking therapy with individuals, groups, couples and families. It is not counselling. All our psychological therapists are registered to practice.
Psychiatrists are also mental health professionals who have completed medical training and specialise in mental health medicine.
Are psychological therapies helpful?
Yes. We specialise in providing therapies that have a good evidence base for the treatment of mental health. Everyone who is seen for psychological therapy by our service is asked to complete a measure of their ‘emotional wellbeing’. Of those who complete this measure, over 80% reported some benefit or improvement.
We also ask people who use our service for feedback about their experience. We receive many comments and here are two examples:
Feedback from a carer
“My therapist was very helpful and helped me understand myself and not feel guilty about John's illness and it is not my fault. I am very happy to try and get along better now that I see her. I now feel good about myself. She helped me a lot”.
Feedback from a patient
“ My therapist was a very skilful person. I found her to be empathetic, kind and understanding. She helped me feel safe at times when I particularly needed this. She also helped me realise what I could do and manage at a time when I felt very vulnerable. It has been a valuable experience”.
There are opportunities to take part in research studies into psychological interventions which can help us explore new treatments.
For more information about our Psychology and Psychotherapyservice, contact and staff details, visit our service finder.
If you have any questions or would like to receive any of our information leaflets, please telephone:
Croydon and Lewisham 020 3228 9316
Lambeth and Southwark 020 3228 2265