Frequently Asked Questions

Our requirements of you

Regular attendance is an important requirement in order to benefit from psychotherapy.  Therefore, patients are expected to attend their appointments as a priority and should contact the department if unable to attend for any reason. Notice should be given in advance for any planned absences from therapy.

The use of drugs or alcohol before or during sessions is unhelpful to therapy. If you are intoxicated you will be asked to leave if your therapist feels you cannot utilise the session.  Please refrain from eating and drinking during your appointment and keep mobile phones switched off. In keeping with the Care Plan Approach, your therapist will write a short letter about your progress to your referrer at appropriate intervals. If your GP or psychiatrist is prescribing medication, this is perfectly acceptable in psychotherapy. However, it is important that you mention any significant changes in your medication during the therapy sessions. 


How does the service operate?

When a referral’s received, the Psychotherapy team will arrange an assessment appointment. Alternatively, we may feel that your needs would best be served by another service, in which case your referrer will be notified.

It’s not usual to have more than one type of therapy at the same time as this can be confusing and can reduce the benefits. Any thoughts of wishing to seek additional help are best discussed with your therapist. There are of course situations where a number of professionals need to be involved with a person’s care such as community psychiatric nurses and social workers, it would be helpful for you to make your therapist aware of the support that you receive.



The questionnaires you are asked to complete as part of your referral, give some information about your life history and any problems or difficulties that you may be experiencing, and help us to decide who may be the best person to see you. They are confidential. These questionnaires are a tool to help you and the therapist understand the particular difficulties you are going through and should be looked upon as possibly being very beneficial to the outcome. 


What is a clinical consultation?

Consultation is when a member of our team meets with your care team to assist them in planning the appropriate care you need, which may or may not include having therapy within our service. 


What is an individual psychotherapy assessment?

The purpose of the initial assessment is to go through some of your ‘story’ and discuss your current difficulties in order to decide if therapy would be beneficial for you and if so, which type of therapy. 


What happens at a family assessment clinic?

Some patients are invited to attend with their families and are seen by the Family team.  This is made clear in the invitation letter. The Family team commonly work by having one or more team members meet with the family, whilst the other members of the team observe and provide suggestions. The details of these arrangements are agreed at the first meeting.


How long will my appointment take?

The usual time is between 50 to 60 minutes for an individual appointment and 90 minutes for a team or family appointment. However, exact timing is always agreed between you and your therapist.


How long will I wait to be seen at my appointment?

Each person is given a personally appointed and agreed time and we aim to see you at your appointed time. Please report to our reception desk at every appointment. If you find yourself waiting more than five minutes and you have not been attended to, please remind our office staff that you are still waiting.


What to do in an emergency or crisis?

As psychotherapy is not an emergency service, you will need to use your normal network of support. This could include family and friends in the first instance, but also other agencies such as your GP, A&E mental health team (Royal Liverpool 0151 706 0624, Aintree 0151 529 8858) or the Samaritans, depending on what you need at the time. It is important to bring the difficulties you experienced to the attention of your therapist at the next session. 



Our staff are very sensitive to the nature of the information you provide, both written and verbal, and your confidentiality is protected at all times. However we communicate by letter with other staff involved in your care and you can opt to receive copies of any letters written regarding your care. If you have difficulties around this, you can discuss these with our staff before your assessment commences or thereafter with your appointed therapist.  Our service policy is that all information is strictly personal to you and should you be involved in a family clinic, this material will not be shared unless you give prior permission.

All therapists discuss their clinical work in supervision with experienced therapists, who abide by the same rules of confidentiality.


Can I have access to my own records?

On the questionnaires you complete at the time of referral, you will be invited to state whether or not you would like to receive copies of any letters to your referrer or GP. If you later change your mind this is not a problem, just let your therapist know. The Access to Health Records Act 1990, allows you to have sight of your records at a mutually agreed appointment with your therapist. If you have not been seen for six months prior to this appointment, you may have to pay an administrative fee. Any information we have on computer is protected by the Data Protection Act. 


Can I complain if things are not correct?

If you have any dissatisfaction with your psychotherapy, please discuss this with your therapist in the first instance. In the event of the matter not being resolved, the Trust has a formal complaints procedure. If your unhappiness with our service has not been possible to solve with your therapist, you can contact the Complaints Department on 0151 472 4002.


We welcome all comments or suggestions regarding our service.