Who are your services for and other general questions
Do you work with people under 18?
The only part of our service that works with people under 18 is our Child Health Psychology team – please see their service page for more information and links to other services for those under 18.
Do you work with people over 65?
Yes. Our adult services are available to anyone over the age of 18, and there is no upper age limit.
Does where I live affect what services I can access?
Unfortunately this is the case for some of our services; however we can sometimes offer you a service if you are able to travel to a different area of the county. Please see our 'where to access our services' page to see which services are available in each area.
How can I be referred to your service?
Please see the individual service pages for referral routes for each service.
Is it okay for me to come and see you even though I don't have a mental health diagnosis/ issue?
Definitely! We understand that there is a strong mind-body connection, and that living with difficult physical symptoms (or having a medical diagnosis) can cause changes to your mood. Although this is normal and understandable, we will help you to understand the link between your physical health and mood and to learn ways to lead a happier, healthier life.
Where do you work from?
We work from a range of buildings and rooms across Cumbria and North Lancashire. These include GP practices, NHS buildings such as hospitals and clinics, and community centres.
We try our best to ensure that these places are accessible and on a main transport route; however this is not always possible. Please let us know when you are making an appointment if you have any accessibility needs (e.g. can’t use the stairs or need wheelchair access).
What is an ICC?
An Integrated Care Community (ICC) works together to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the community. We will do this by:
- Joining up health and care services to work better together
- Providing more care out of hospital where possible
- Supporting people to have information about their health conditions
West, North & East Cumbria has been divided into eight ICCs based on groups of GP practices and their patients. By understanding the challenges that each area faces it is hoped that the community can work together with health and care organisations to improve the health and wellbeing of local people.
Do you make home visits/ what if I cannot get out of the house?
Generally we don’t provide home visits; however some of our services do see people at home depending on their needs, you can discuss this when you are put in contact with a team/ practitioner.
Can I make an appointment out of office hours?
Generally, our services run from 9-5 Monday to Friday, but sometimes we may be able to offer you an appointment out of office hours.
How long does a session last?
In most cases our 1:1 sessions last 45-90 minutes, and group sessions 1-2 hours.
How long will you work with me for?
This will depend on your individual needs, and will be a joint decision between you and your clinician.
Will my session be confidential?
Please see the confidentiality section on each of the service pages.
What happens after I have finished attending a Living Well with Persistent Symptoms Group?
You will be given a review appointment at which you can discuss whether you need any further support from our service.
If I have been in your service before can I come back?
After you have been discharged, you can return to our service through the normal referral route for the specific service you wish to return to. See the service pages for referral routes.
What services do you provide and what type of staff are in the team?
What is a Living Well Coach?
Living Well Coaches work within our Persistent Physical Symptoms Service (PPSS), Wellbeing Service (WBS), and Familiar Faces Service (FF).They will work with you on issues that may be getting in the way of you living a happy, healthy life. This involves helping you to set goals, and supporting you to achieve these. They may also give you information about other services that may be able to help you. Please see individual services pages for more information.
What is a Psychological Practitioner/ Therapist?
They will offer you talking therapy to help you to improve your mood and to understand how your physical symptoms and your mood are linked. They work across all of our services, so please see individual service pages for more information about their roles.
What is an Occupational Therapist?
Our occupational therapists work purely within the Persistent Physical Symptoms Service.They will help you with practical activities to increase your quality of life. This may include:
- Self-care – washing, dressing, toileting and bathing
- Work – return to work, helping you to stay in work
- Hobbies – finding a way to access hobbies and interests which you used to enjoy
What is a Physiotherapist?
Physiotherapists are based within our Persistent Physical Symptoms Service, Chronic Fatigue Service South, and Physical Health Rehabilitation Psychology South. They can offer education on pain, fatigue, and other physical symptoms, and support you to move safely, and increase your physical strength and stability.
What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?
CBT is a talking therapy that will help you to recognise patterns of thinking and behaving that are unhelpful, and to learn different ways of coping with difficult feelings.
What is Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)?
CFT is a talking therapy that is most helpful for people who struggle with high levels of shame and self-criticism. It will help you to learn to be more compassionate towards yourself and to manage difficult feelings in a different way.
What is Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)?
EMDR is a type of 1:1 therapy that can help you to overcome the difficult feelings and physical sensations that can occur if you have experienced something traumatic. It uses sets of side-to-side eye movements, sounds, or taps to allow the brain to resume its natural healing process.
What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?
ACT is a talking therapy which focusses on supporting you to recognise, accept, and develop a better relationship with painful feelings, thoughts, and sensations.
Assessment and Treatment
Will I get blood tests and scans for a diagnosis?
We do not provide medical advice, referral or treatment, as you should already have your diagnosis from your GP. Any further medical treatment will be provided by your GP.
Will I get a cure for my persistent pain/ chronic fatigue syndrome/ other physical health condition?
Our service does not aim to find a cure - we want to help you to manage, and hopefully reduce, your symptoms, in order to live a happier, healthier life.
What should I do if I am struggling to complete a questionnaire I have been given?
The answers you give us in the questionnaire will help us to understand your difficulties and to consider how we can help you. Completing the questionnaire may be difficult due to your medical problem. If that is the case, or you aren’t sure how to answer some of the questions, then please just complete as much as you are able to and we can discuss this when we meet.
Can you prescribe or change medication?
We are a rehabilitation service, which means that we do not prescribe or change medications. If you are concerned about your medication, please discuss this with your GP.
Worries and myths about receiving psychological support
Why have I been referred to a psychologist for a physical health issue?
Don't worry - we know your symptoms are not “all in your head”! We understand that living with a physical health issue can have a big impact on your mood, quality of life and wellbeing.
Your physical symptoms may be the primary issue, but they can also lead to a variety of difficulties in other areas, such as sleep, stress, and keeping up with activities that you want or need to do. Our service will support you to learn ways to manage these difficulties, and reduce the impact that your illness has on your life.
How will talking about my pain help?
Often, talking about your difficulties to a professional can help you to see things from a different point of view, and to feel that you are not alone, and that your difficulties are normal and understandable. This can be the first step towards taking more control of your pain or other physical symptoms, and learning different ways to cope.
Am I mad and are you going to section me?
We know that it is completely normal and understandable to feel upset, confused and worried when you are living with a physical health condition. This does not mean you are “mad” and part of our job is to help you to understand that.
If I talk about it will I feel worse?
The talking therapy approaches we use are evidence-based, and have been shown to be helpful for people with a physical health condition. We understand that it can be painful and upsetting to talk about your difficulties, especially in the early stages of therapy. This will be done at your pace, and we will support you throughout.
Is it all in my head?
This is a very common question, and the simple answer is no. We have no doubt that your physical symptoms are real, but we also recognise that there is a strong link between the mind and the body so if you have difficulties in one area, this can affect the other. We will help you to understand this link and to learn different ways to manage your symptoms.
Your wellbeing before/during/after accessing our services
Is how I feel really important to look at? Shouldn't I just be getting on with things?
You deserve to have time and support to recover, and to live a happier, healthier life.
How can you help with my low mood, anxiety and loneliness?
We will meet with you to discuss a plan based on your individual difficulties and needs.
Will I always feel like this?
No, we can support you to change how you feel and make your feelings more manageable.
I've got to the end of my medical treatment, why do I still feel anxious/ bad?
Going through difficult, life-changing experiences, such as physical illness, can have a big impact on our mood, our relationships and our confidence. Although the physical treatment and recovery may be quite short, the other changes can last for longer. This is normal and understandable, and something that our service can help you to manage. We will work at your pace to support you to make positive changes.