What’s the difference between a Clinical Psychologist and other psychologists, counsellors or therapists?
Clinical Psychologists are highly trained professionals, with a minimum of six years academic training. “Clinical Psychologist” is a protected term. This means that you have to have the proper training to call yourself a Clinical Psychologist. Other titles like “Psychologist”, “Counsellor”, or “Therapist” are not protected terms, so anyone can use them and they don’t offer the same guarantee about levels of training. All Clinical Psychologists are regulated by the Health Care and Professionals Council (HCPC). This means we all have to work in a safe and ethical way with our patients, and evidence our ongoing commitment both to working in this way and to our continuing professional development. For more information on this check out the HCPC website.
That is not to say that there are not many brilliant, well-trained, and ethical practitioners out there who use the title of counsellor or therapist. They may charge different amounts for sessions, which might fit better with your budget. It is important to check that they are accredited with some form of professional body. This gives you confidence that people are working in a safe and effective way and they have the right training. Look out for membership of organisations like the HCPC and the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy).
What will happen at my first appointment?
Your first appointment is an opportunity for your Clinical Psychologist to understand what help you are looking for. They will probably ask lots of questions about your current difficulties. They will also ask you what your goals are for therapy. At the end of this appointment, you and your Clinical Psychologist will be able to make a plan for going forward.
What will happen to the information I give you?
The information you give us is held in strictest confidence. This means that we don’t share it with anyone else without your permission. Some people worry that we will inform their GP that they are seeing us. While we collect your GP’s information, this is so that in a medical emergency we have those details available. Otherwise, in normal practice we don’t inform your GP that we are working together unless you ask us to.
What will happen when I contact you?
We respond to all enquiries as soon as we can. Depending on how much information you have provided we may need to ask some clarifying questions, or if we can answer your question quickly we will do so! If we need more information, we may arrange a brief telephone consultation with you so that we can discuss your needs in more detail, and we will always follow this up in writing for your own records. This allows us to make sure we know what support you are looking for and for everyone to be clear about the service we have agreed to provide.
If you have contacted us to enquire about therapy, we will arrange a time to call you for a free 20-minute telephone consultation. This is an opportunity for us to get an idea of what help you are looking for, and helps us to identify what support would benefit you most. We may recommend working with one of our Clinical Psychologists, or we might suggest other organisations in your local community that could help. This is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have about our service. At the end of this phone consultation, you should be clear on any next steps.
What happens if I don’t get on with my Clinical Psychologist?
In our experience, this is very unlikely to happen! However, as in all walks of life, sometimes a relationship just doesn’t ‘click’. You are in control of your therapy, and if you do not want further appointments, you don’t have to book any. However, if you feel able, we would like you to contact us if this happens. It might be we are able to resolve any concerns you may have. We might also be able to offer you sessions with another one of our Clinical Psychologists.
What if I have a complaint?
We hope that you will be fully satisfied by the service provided by LINKAT Psychology. If you have a complaint, in the first instance we would ask that you contact us so that we can try to address your concerns and remedy the situation.
If, however, you feel our response has not satisfied your complaint, you can contact our regulating body – the HCPC – who will investigate further.