Clinical Psychology

The clinical psychologist's job is to reduce the patient’s distress and promote physical and mental health. We help people who are distressed as a result of their physical health problem or where distress for other reasons makes it difficult to cope with the problem. Such difficulties might be:

  1. Low mood or worry
  2. The effects of a bad life event
  3. Treatment or investigation in hospital
  4. Adapting to chronic illness, pain or side effects of treatment
  5. Supporting a decision about treatment. 

 Perhaps you have been told you have a problem such as Post Traumatic Stress disorder, another similar anxiety problem, depression, low self-esteem or finding it hard to cope with health problems. Your doctor or nurse might have suggested you talk to a psychologist. 

Our patients are referred to us by hospital consultants and other departments and clinics in the hospital. We do not take referrals from General Practice. We cannot take self-referrals from the public.  One exception is that people can ask for an appointment in the Genito-Urinary Medicine department, where there is a psychologist.   Genito-Urinary Medicine means sexual health.  Anybody with a sexual health problem can ask for an appointment there.   This includes sexual assault. If you think this might be for you, look at the page for this department

Clinical Psychologists

Mr Alan Hassard
Dr Sarah Baldry

We do not offer help in a psychiatric emergency.  For this kind of help, contact the Community Mental Health Duty Service on telephone number (01752) 434988.

There are other clinical psychologists elsewhere in the hospital. 

For details of the psychologists in the neurology dept, please look at the Neuropsychology page.

What will happen when I am referred?

If you have agreed with your doctor or nurse to talk to a psychologist, we will send you a letter to ask you to ask us for an appointment. Please phone us to confirm and we will send you an appointment.  We do not send you an appointment until you ask us. This is to be sure you want and will attend an appointment.  If you get an appointment and then change your mind and decide not to attend, please let us know so that we can offer that appointment to somebody who wants to attend.  If you have to cancel the appointment on the day for any reason, please let us know.  If you are an inpatient in the hospital, we can talk to you on the ward.  

During the first session, we will ask about your view of your situation. This will include what is happening now, but also what has happened in the past. We may ask you to answer some questionnaires (please remember your reading glasses.).  Clinical Psychologists do not provide prescriptions, injections or physical treatments. We cannot admit people to hospital. We are trained in the treatments listed here and will decide with you which is best for you. 

These are the treatments we offer.   

  1. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a talking therapy.  It can help people who are in psychological distress or having other psychological difficulties. The basis of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is that what people think affects how they feel and how they behave.  Often psychological distress can make physical illness more difficult to cope with.  Also, having an illness, accident or hospital treatment can affect our emotions.  When this happens, people may think differently about themselves and their life and these thoughts can sometimes become extreme or unhelpful and worsen how a person feels.

    This therapy helps the patient to identify their thinking and discover specific practical and psychological skills aimed at harnessing their strengths and tackling their problems. In doing this, the result is often a major improvement in how a person feels and copes. 
  2. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.  The patient is asked to visualize the flashbacks or other distressing images or memories.  The therapist then guides the patient through sets of eye movements.  The eye movement speeds up the reduction of distress.  We do not know why this happens, but it may be similar to the eye movements that happen when we dream. It does not necessarily require describing the distressing memory in great detail.  There is another leaflet about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, giving more information about this method.   
  3. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.   Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a talking therapy, which helps people understand themselves and their relationships.  We listen to the patient’s experiences and explore links between present feelings and actions and past events. This focuses on the feelings we have for other people, especially those we are close to, such as our family. It includes discussion of experiences and how these may have led to the current difficulties.  The understanding gained frees the person to make choices about what happens in the future.  Psychodynamic psychotherapy may involve quite brief therapy for specific difficulties.  However, if someone’s problems are long standing, treatment may mean attending regular sessions over many months. 
  4. Systemic Therapy.   Systemic therapy is an approach where people and their difficulties are viewed in terms of their relationships with others. This can include families, couple or groups. It can provide useful insights into present interactions and patterns of interactions with others. Systemic therapy is usually short term. 

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