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.

  • 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 Care 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 or Counselling or Health 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. Chartered Psychologist: this term denotes recognition under the Charter of The British Psychological Society (BPS) for specified levels of academic achievement, minimum periods of supervision and applied experience and a commitment to lifelong learning. Evidence based practice: – Making decisions about clinical treatment by integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available evidence from high quality systematic research.

  • 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?

    We operate a self-referral system i.e. clients refer themselves, so you don’t need a letter from your GP but it is helpful to discuss the fact you are accessing psychological therapy with your GP so they are aware of your situation and who is supporting you. If your GP or other professional would like to provide supplementary information about your situation please ask them to provide you with a copy of this and take this along with you to the first appointment with the therapist to whom you are referred. Please do not ask them to send reports or letters straight to Bristol Psychology Services.

  • 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:

  • How Can I Check the Professional Registration Of a Counselling, Health or Clinical Psychologist

    To see if a practitioner psychologist is registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC), you can search on the HCPC register:

  • 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 or people who have made recent attempts to end their life. For such high levels of distress, a team approach including psychiatry input within NHS services is advisable for optimal support and crisis input. 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, the affiliated therapist to whom you are referred 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 or framework 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, once you have arranged a date for your first appointment, you will receive an invoice for your first appointment fee by email from Bristol Psychology Services. Payment of this invoice is required in advance of this first appointment by BACS (tele/internet banking). Payment details will be provided on the invoice. Please note we do not accept payment by cheque and we cannot process payment over the phone. After the first session with the therapist you are referred to, 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 affiliated with the service are registered with private healthcare insurance companies such as AXA PPP, BUPA, Simply Health or Aviva. Health insurance providers are often able to authorise psychological therapy, subject to certain conditions. However, only a minority of affiliates are registered with providers. Please check with us if you are funding via insurance and please speak to your insurance company for more information with regards your personal policy.

  • What Happens to the Information I share?

    Please see our privacy policy for detailed information about how Bristol Psychology Services processes your personal information. The affiliated therapist to whom we refer should discuss their own information sharing policy in the initial assessment with you.

  • Is My Information Secure?

    We make every effort to store personal information securely. Bristol Psychology Services and all Bristol Psychology Services affiliated therapists are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). It is important to be aware that information sent 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 email. It is recommended therefore, that information relating to issues you consider confidential is communicated via our secure contact form or on via our secure referral form, or via phone.

  • Can I Work for Bristol Psychology Services?

    We are often looking for new affiliates to join the referral network. 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.

  • Can I See a Bristol Psychology Services Therapist on the NHS

    Bristol Psychology Services is a referral service for private therapy only. Some of the therapists affiliated with the service also work in the NHS, however these positions are entirely separate roles and it is unlikely you will be able to 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 affiliated 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: To identify an accredited CBT therapist working in your locality, you can use the BABCP ‘Therapist Search’

  • Why do you Sometimes Have a Waiting List in Place Even Though You are a Private Referral Service?

    We appreciate it can be frustrating to have to wait for an appointment with a private practitioner and clients can be suprised by this especially when appointments can often be made promptly to see private medical doctors. A key difference with psychological input is that multiple weekly appointments are generally needed, sometimes over several months. This means that the ‘turnover’ of a therapist’s caseload can be quite slow. The nature of psychological work also means that the length of invidual therapy with a client is difficult to predict. This means that, unfortunately, we are unable to provide exact waiting times when a waiting list is in place. We will however always do our best to try to give you an estimate of likely waiting time.