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Please find below some answers to frequently asked questions. If you have a question not covered below, please don't hesitate to contact us

What Is a Clinical Psychologist?

Clinical Psychologists aim to reduce emotional distress and to enhance and promote psychological well-being. Clinical Psychologists are trained to base their clinical interventions on up-to-date research and literature ensuring their work is always 'evidence-based'. 

Qualifying as a Clinical Psychologist requires a minimum of 6 years of full-time university study (3 years undergraduate degree and 3 years postgraduate doctorate). In practice, training normally takes about 8 years since several years of clinical experience or additional academic study is required after completing an undergraduate degree in order to gain a place on Doctorate training. For example, graduates often work as an assistant psychologist, research assistant or undertake further study, such as a Master’s degree, before undertaking the competitive process of applying to a Doctorate course. 

Doctoral training involves a combination of academic study, clinical work within the NHS and the completion of a research thesis. Before qualifying, Trainee Clinical Psychologists must work with adults and children in a range of NHS services over a period of three years. Once qualified, Clinical Psychologists are required to undertake further development and learning through continuing professional development (CPD) to ensure they are updating their knowledge on an on-going basis.

What Is a Chartered Psychologist?

The title Chartered Psychologist is legally recognised under the Royal Charter of The British Psychological Society (BPS); the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK. Underpinning the designation are requirements for high levels of academic achievement, minimum periods of supervision and applied experience and a commitment to lifelong learning. These foundations are further strengthened by both the Member Conduct Rules and the Code of Ethics and Conduct. You can check if a Clinical Psychologist is chartered on the BPS website:

How Can I Check the Professional Registration of a Bristol Psychology Services Therapist?

From 1 July 2009, regulation of certain groups of practising psychologists was taken over by the Health and Professions Council, a regulator of health professionals, set up to protect the public. This has recently been renamed as the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The HCPC keeps a register of health professionals who meet set standards for their training, professional skills, behaviour and health. To check the professional registration of a Clinical Psychologist you can search the register at www.hpc-uk-org

Can You Explain the Meaning of the Following Qualifications, Acronyms & Words?
  • BA (Hons) - Undergraduate degree (first degree at university)
  • MSc. - Masters degree (post-graduate degree)
  • D.Clin.Psych. - Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (post-graduate doctorate - 3 year training required to be a clinical psychologist)
  • DProfCounsPsy - Doctorate in Psychotherapeutic and Counselling Psychology (post-graduate doctorate - 3 year training required to be a counselling psychologist)
  • PGDip - Graduate Diploma
  • CPsychol - Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society
  • HCPC - The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), UK regulatory body for practitioner psychologists
  • BABCP - British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP), the lead organisation for CBT in the UK
  • ACT - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a thearpeutic model for helping people to idenitfy their values & relate differently difficult thoughts and feelings.
  • CBT - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, a therapeutic model for helping people manage difficult thoughts and feelings.
  • EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing, a therapeutic model for working with trauma.

Evidence based practice: - Making decisions about clinical treatment by integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available evidence from high quality systematic research.

Please see the Services section for more information.

How Do Psychiatrists and Psychologists Differ?

A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has chosen to specialise in mental health. Psychiatrists are interested in the biological manifestations of emotional difficulties and they may diagnose ‘disorders’ and prescribe medication.

Psychologists are trained to assess and understand an individual’s current difficulties by drawing on psychological theories and research about: early childhood experiences; learning; developmental processes; behaviour; mind-body interaction; cognitive patterns; belief systems and systemic, social and environmental factors. Psychologists work therapeutically with clients using a range of orientations and ‘talking therapies’ and they may evaluate cognitive functioning using standardised assessments; they cannot prescribe medication

Do I Need a Referral From My GP?

You can self-refer so you don’t need a letter from your GP but it is often helpful to discuss the fact you are accessing psychological therapy with your GP so they are aware of your situation. 

Where Are the Clinic Rooms for Bristol Psychology Service Therapists?

Bristol Psychology Service Affiliate Therapists work from a range of locations across Bristol. The clinic locations are detailed within each Affiliate’s profile 

How Can I Check the Professional Registration Of a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist?

To see if a CBT therapist is accredited with the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP), which is the lead organisation for CBT in the UK and Ireland, you can search on the Association’s website:

I‘m experiencing a Psychological Difficulty Not Listed Under ‘Reasons for Therapy’ Can You Help Me?

The list of difficulties covered is not exhaustive, so we may have a therapist who can support you.

However, unfortunately, none of the therapists affiliated with service are able to work with families experiencing disputes about contact arrangements following separation or with people with a diagnosis or symptoms consistent with: psychosis (e.g. hearing voices), bi-polar disorder and clients with severe eating disorders. We are also not able to refer people experiencing severe drug and alcohol difficulties. Finally, at present unfortunately none of the therapists affiliated with the service carry out ADHD or ASD assessment for adults. Please contact your GP to discuss support options for these issues.

In addition, we are not able to refer clients who are experiencing persistent or intense suicidal ideation, or those with suicidal plans as for such high levels of distress a team approach including psychiatry input within NHS services is advisable for optimal support. If you are having thoughts of ending their life, we urge you to contact your GP, out of hours NHS services or The Samaritans:‎

Young people under 35 can also contact the charity Papyrus on their helpline by calling 0800 068 41 41 or via SMS 07786 209697

Can I Always Continue Working with the Same Therapist?

Please note, that on some occasions, a Bristol Psychology Services therapist may inform you that they are not able to continue working with you. This can occur if the therapist feels that their experience, training or expertise does not equip them with the best skills to work with the difficulty you are facing. To ensure you get the best level of care, it is essential that therapists do not work outside of their areas of expertise and skill. If your therapist feels that they are not best placed to work with you, they will discuss this with you and do their best to suggest alternative appropriate support options.  

Occasionally, personal reasons may prevent a therapist from continuing to work with you, for example the therapist may take maternity leave. Your therapist should discuss reasons for discontinuing sessions with you with as much notice as possible. 

I’m Self-Funding, How Do I pay and How Much?

If you are self-funding, payment for the initial assessment is arranged via Bristol Psychology Services Clinical Lead Clinician, Dr Victoria Samuel. The initial assessment fee is required in advance and can be paid via PayPal, by cheque or by BACS (internet banking). All further payments will be paid directly to your therapist – please discuss with them their preferred payment methods. Fees vary for each therapist, please contact us for individual rates.

Will My Private Healthcare Insurance Pay for My Sessions?

Some therapists working for the service are registered with private healthcare insurance companies such as AXA PPP, BUPA, Simply Health or Aviva. The providers are often able to authorise treatment, subject to certain conditions. Please speak to your insurance company for more information.

What Happens to the Information I share?

Confidentiality is taken extremely seriously by Bristol Psychology Services Affiliate Therapists. The information you tell us will be kept confidentially and will not be shared unless this is explicitly agreed with you in advance. 

Please be aware of the following limits to confidentiality:

  • As with all professionals in the field, if we hear any information that causes concern about an individual’s safety, or about illegal activities, we have a professional obligation to breech confidentiality and inform partnership services.
  • If you have been referred to the service by a rehabilitation agency, for example as a result of an insurance claim, the agency will require the therapist to share with them detailed assessment and treatment information. If this is the case, the agency or your solicitor should explain this to you before the initial assessment and you will be asked to sign a consent form.
  • All Clinical Psychologists work under supervision. This means that issues relating to client sessions may be shared with the therapist’s clinical supervisor. Please be assured, that as the clinical supervisor is also bound by professional codes of conduct, your information will remain confidential.
  • In cases of unpaid fees, we may provide debt collection agencies with your basic contact information and details of the amount owed.
  • You and your therapist should discuss confidentiality and limits of confidentiality in the initial assessment. Please do not hesitate to ask your therapist any questions about confidentiality.      
Is My Information Secure?

We make every effort to store personal information securely, both electronically and on paper. All Bristol Psychology Services Therapists are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). 

Although we are happy to discuss issues via email and many clients choose to do this, it is important to be aware that information sent over the internet, e.g. via email, cannot be guaranteed to be secure, error-free or protected from access by third parties. Therefore, Bristol Psychology Services cannot guarantee the confidentiality or security of any information you send to us over the internet. It is recommended therefore, that information relating to issues you consider confidential is communicated via post, on the phone or in person.

Can I Work for Bristol Psychology Services?

We are always looking for new affiliates to join the team. If you are based in Bristol or the surrounding area and are either a clinical or counselling psychologist or a highly qualified, experienced therapist, accredited with a relevant organisation such as the BABCP or the AFT, we would love to hear from you.

Do You Provide Work Experience Placements?

We receive a lot of enquiries regarding voluntary work and work experience and we understand how difficult it can be to obtain relevant experience for those wishing to pursue a career in this area. Unfortunately, at present however we are not able to provide any work experience options for students or research / assistant psychologists. 

Why Don't You Have any Testimonials on Your Website?

You may find testimonials on other therapists’ websites. We receive many positive comments and feedback from clients about the service. However The British Psychological Society (BPS) guidelines for private practice stipulate that psychologists should not use testimonials when advertising to clients and we adhere to these guidelines. 

Can I See a Bristol Psychology Services Therapist on the NHS

Some therapists for the service also work in the NHS, however these positions are entirely separate roles and it is unlikely you will be able to access see them via the NHS, unless you fall under the referral criteria for the specific services for which they work. For example, if a Bristol Psychology Services therapist also worked for an NHS health psychology service for people with diabetes, you could only see them through the NHS if you were referred to that specific hospital department as a result of having diabetes. Even then, there may be several psychologists in that NHS team so it could not be guaranteed that you would referred to that specific therapist. If you wished to access local NHS therapeutic services, please contact your GP to discuss referral. 

I'm Based Outside of Bristol, How do I Find a Clinical Psychologist in My Area?

If you would like to find a Clinical Psychologist working in your locality, you could use the ‘find a psychologist’ function on the British Psychological Society website: or try searching on the Therapy Network:

Our Expertise

Bristol Psychology Services specialises in matching clients seeking independent psychological assessment and therapy in the Bristol area with a network of highly qualified therapists working in private practice.

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Meet the Team

Bristol Psychology Services therapists, each with an area of specialist clinical experience, work from various convenient clinic locations across Bristol.

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