Many people feel anxious before their assessment, so you are not alone if you’re feeling this way. The assessment will take about an hour and a half and you are welcome to bring a close family member, friend or partner in with you. The assessment will involve speaking to a member of the team about how you are, what is going well, and what you might be finding difficult (including your thoughts and behaviours around eating). Usually, you will be weighed during the assessment.
Following the assessment, we will send yourself, the referrer and/ or your GP, a written report of the assessment and a care plan for next steps.
Below are some of the different psychological therapies that we offer. These do differ between locations, depending on what the staff skills are in that area. Not everyone will need, or be ready, to see a therapist. This is something our staff will think about with each person, depending on their needs and goals.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a collaborative, time-limited, present focused therapy which looks at problems through recording and mapping out the relationship between an individual’s thoughts, feelings, body symptoms and actions. At times present thinking which brings up past issues and core beliefs will also be explored. This information helps the individual and therapist, work together, to find what is keeping the problem going. Individual’s goals are set which link in with planned challenging of thoughts and changes in actions in and out of sessions to break the problem cycle. CBT models and protocols also guide evidence based tasks; such as experiments around challenging unhelpful thoughts and beliefs, reducing body checking behaviours, introducing regular eating patterns, breaking dietary rules, reintroducing avoided foods and psychoeducation topics related to the problem.
Clinical psychology is a talking therapy, which looks at helping you to make positive changes to your life. These might be changes in behaviour (things you do), changes in your cognitions (the way you think), or changes in your relationship with yourself, or with other people. It is likely to also include exploring some of your past experiences, and how these have impacted on you. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to talk about everything you’ve experienced.
Clinical psychologists have the title of ‘Dr’ but they’re not medical doctors, and they don’t prescribe medication. They will listen carefully to you, and try to help you make sense of your experiences and your difficulties. Together, you will agree the best way to try and support you, and made a plan of action. There are lots of different approaches a clinical psychologist might use to help you make the changes you want to, but they all involve you working together. You will usually be asked to try out different strategies, or reflect on what you’ve spoken about in sessions, at home in between appointments.
Family Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that works with many of the difficulties that children and young people referred to CAMHS experience. The aim of Family Therapy is to help family members to understand each other better and overcome the difficulties they are facing. We see families as a resource to help us treat complex problems, and we also see families benefiting from this too. Families can come in all different shapes and sizes, so who comes to family sessions is up to you to decide. We can still think about family members who are not present in sessions.
Sessions last around one hour and are usually once every two-four weeks. There is no set amount of sessions but we use a special questionnaire to measure progress.
We usually start with getting to know you and your family and will ask how you would like us to work with you and what you would all like to discuss. We think it’s important you feel comfortable with us while talking about things that might be difficult for your family and will do our best to ensure this is the case. We will also explore your family’s strengths and what’s working well for you. Family therapists share our ideas of what can help based on our experience and learning. But we know different things work for different families, and at different times. We want to help you understand each other better and find what works best for you. We see this as a joint effort between the family therapist and the family members.
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)
CFT is a kind of talking therapy. It is particularly useful for people who experience high levels of shame and/or self-criticism. This might include people who find it difficult to trust others, or those who find it hard to show kindness towards themselves, or accept it from others. CFT draws on lots of different ideas and techniques to help you learn how to be more compassionate towards yourself, and to feel safe and capable in a world that can seem overwhelming. It involves learning new skills and trying out different strategies, and practicing these in between each session.