Your questions answered
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Accessing the service
Who are the NHS Buckinghamshire Talking Therapies team?
Our is made up of many different staff with a range of backgrounds and training including:
- Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapists
- Clinical and Counselling Psychologists
- Interpersonal Therapists
- Employment Advisors
We have a number of trainee clinicians in the service, who deliver therapy under close supervision. All of our clinicians (both qualified and trainees) routinely record their sessions for supervision purposes. This helps us to ensure that our clinicians offer the best treatment possible to all of our clients.
How do I refer to the NHS Buckinghamshire Talking Therapies service?
You can refer to the service in a number of ways, which can be found on our contacts page.
How much does it cost?
NHS Buckinghamshire Talking Therapies is part of the NHS and is a free service to anyone who is eligible and wants our support.
How long does it take to get an appointment?
Once you refer, our single point of access (SPA) team will look at any current or past mental health history. If they have any questions they will make contact with you to discuss this further.
We aim to process your referral within 48 hours and then would look to get you booked into a telephone assessment as soon as possible, often within 3 – 5 days. We do have a limited number of face-to-face assessments available, however these are reserved for people who would not be able to have a telephone assessment, this might be due to hearing difficulties or learning difficulties for example. Please be aware that there is often a wait for a face-to-face assessment due to a limited amount of availability, therefore the more flexible you can be for day/time/location the more likely you’ll be able to get booked in quicker.
How do I know if I am suitable?
You need to be 18 or over and registered with a GP surgery in Buckinghamshire.
As a service we are trained and able to support people with mild to moderate difficulties, therefore if you are experiencing a severe mental health episode or have a diagnosis such as Schizophrenia or Bipolar disorder, we may not be the most appropriate service to support your current needs and would refer you to a more suitable service.
You will also need to complete our telephone assessment, in special circumstances we are able to arrange face-to-face assessments if needed, for example due to hearing difficulties. The clinician will be able to assess you current needs and discuss the most appropriate support with you.
What if I am in urgent need of help?
If you or someone else, need urgent help or feel at any kind of risk, please visit our Emergency help page for crisis contact information and we would encourage you to reach out for support immediately.
Where is the service based?
Our main base is in High Wycombe, we also have other bases in Aylesbury and Amersham. We are continually trying to reach out to as many people in Buckinghamshire as possible. You can also find us in some GP surgeries, community centres and local libraries throughout Buckinghamshire.
What if someone doesn’t speak English as a first language?
If you or someone you know wants to refer but doesn’t feel comfortable speaking fluently in English, an interpreter can be provided. We will organise this for you on your behalf and there will be no charge for this.
Can I access the service while I am abroad (holidaying, studying or working)?
If you are outside of the UK (holidaying, studying or working) at any time we are unable to offer you care. You can rebook and get our services when you are back in the UK.
Can I access the service if I am registered with a private GP?
It is becoming more common that people may decide to see a private GP, this can be for many reasons including convenience. This does not exclude people from accessing treatment elsewhere in the NHS as they would do usually. Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust ask, however, that anyone using our services when registered with a private GP also register with a local GP. This does not stop patients accessing care via their private GP if they so wish. This allows local service to liaise with a local GP if the need arises to ensure we are coordinating the best possible care for people using our services.
What does it mean?
What does IAPT mean?
IAPT stands for Improving Access to Psychological Therapy and is an NHS service designed to offer short-term psychological therapies to people experiencing common mental health difficulties from anxiety, depression and stress. This also includes support for panic, specific phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety, health or illness anxiety.
What does CBT mean?
CBT stands for ‘cognitive behavioural therapy’. It is a psychological treatment for both depression and different anxiety disorders. CBT is a practical and structured approach that provides coping strategies that you can try out with our support. CBT helps people to see how their thoughts affect how they feel and how they behave.
What do we mean by ‘talking therapies’?
Treatment support we offer is predominantly based upon the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is a form of talking therapy with the aim of helping you to:
- Understand why you feel as you do
- Look at the links between your feelings, thoughts, symptoms and behaviours
- Find out what you would like to change
- Discover new ways of coping now and in the future
Some people refer to CBT as a ‘doing therapy’. It is practical support where you learn techniques and strategies to support you to make changes to your behaviours and thoughts, ultimately improving how you feel.
What is the NHS Buckinghamshire Talking Therapies assessment?
Our telephone assessments usually take between 45 minutes to 1 hour. We would expect that you would be in a private and quiet area, so that you can speak freely and without distractions.
Due to our policy at NHS Buckinghamshire Talking Therapies and for your safety, we are unable to speak with you whilst you are driving. Even if you are using hands-free communication we would still be unable to go ahead with the call unless you were able to pull over and stop at a safe location.
The assessment is a structured call and covers a range of screening questions to determine your current difficulties and support needs. This helps us decide whether we can provide you with appropriate support or if another service would be better suited to your needs.
To make the assessment as straight forward as possible, we would please ask you to complete the questionnaires in advance of your appointment. Questionnaires can be found here.
We do have to cover some sensitive questions during the assessment, which you may find difficult to answer, however we have to ask these to ensure that we fully understand your current situation to be able to provide you with the best support.
Where possible we would encourage you to have something scheduled in after the assessment call to look forward to, such as a relaxing or pleasurable activity eg. having a hot drink, listening to music, going for a walk, speaking to a friend.
What can I expect from an Initial Assessment?
Please click here for more information on what to expect from an initial assessment.
What are the treatment options?
Following your assessment we will be able to discuss treatment options or next steps with you. For more information about the treatment options we offer at NHS Buckinghamshire Talking Therapies please visit our Getting help page.
If I am offered treatment what should I expect?
You can expect regular sessions with the same worker. During sessions you will work together to help you reach your goals and you will develop ideas for things you can try outside your sessions – putting things into practice between sessions will be an important part of therapy.
You will be expected to attend your sessions and to let your worker know in advance if, for any reason, you are unable to attend. If you have to miss the occasional appointment (e.g. if you are unwell, have childcare problems), then your worker may be able to rearrange them. However, if you miss two or more appointments your treatment may have to stop and you will have to re-refer if further support is required.
Do I have to have my sessions recorded?
You are not obliged to agree to have your sessions recorded. Saying no to this, or agreeing to this and then changing your mind at a later date will not affect your therapy in any way at all. If you do agree, the recording will only be heard by psychological therapists and possibly university supervision staff, who are professionally bound to keep matters confidential. Any recording of sessions or written anonymous material will be kept securely, and destroyed after it has been assessed.All of our clinicians (both qualified and trainees) routinely record their sessions for supervision purposes. Audio or video recording sessions with patients allows the clinical supervisor /professional trainer to listen to the sessions to help monitor and improve therapists’ skills. We constantly train new practitioners, and you may be treated by trainee practitioners, who need to record sessions to aid their skills development through supervision, and also their assessment at university.
Can I be seen outside of office hours?
One to One appointments are available Monday to Friday generally within working hours. Our first appointment starts at 9am and our last appointment slot we offer is 4pm. We do also have evening courses and online treatment options available that if suitable will be discussed with you. Please let us know in advance if there are factors which make it difficult for you to attend your scheduled appointment and we may be able to do something to help.
Can I choose the gender of my therapist?
Yes, we would be able to accommodate this request if you have a particularly preference, please do let us know. We can also attempt to accommodate other preferences, such as cultural or religious requests where we are able to do so. This would be dependent upon the staff currently employed within the service and this availability may change depending on staffing levels.
What time should I arrive for a course?
It is fine to arrive just before the course session starts, however we understand that some people would prefer to arrive a little earlier, particularly on the first session. For this reason, doors will open 15 minutes before the start time of the course.
What happens if I’m late or can’t attend a session?
We would always rather someone to be slightly late than to miss the whole session, however please be aware this can be disruptive to others so we would encourage you to avoid being late where possible. If you are running late, the course facilitators will not make a fuss and will be available either during the break or at the end if you would like to discuss anything. If you can’t make a session then that’s ok but we would really appreciate if you could let us know beforehand, either by speaking to one of the course facilitators or by phoning the admin team on: 01865 901600. If however you are unable to attend the first session of a course, then you will need to be booked onto another course instead, as it is compulsory to attend the first session.
Venues & parking
For maps and other details about where our courses are held, please visit our Maps page. If you have any questions or would prefer to speak to someone then please give our admin team a call on 01865 901600. We will do our best to provide any further information that might be needed but unfortunately we are unable to reimburse any travel costs.
Can I bring someone with me?
Unfortunately, due to space restrictions and to ensure confidentiality is maintained within the course, we are unable to allow any additional people to come along. However, if you feel that it would be helpful to have someone with you, particularly on your first session, they could come with you to the location to drop you off and possibly could wait for you outside.
Will my information be shared with anyone else?
We have a legal duty to keep your information confidential. We share information about you with other healthcare providers to ensure we provide you with the best possible care. We are unable to provide you with a service if you do not give consent for us to keep your GP informed, as they are considered your primary care co-ordinator. We cannot give other organisations information without your consent, this might include housing departments, education services or your employer. This also includes family members, if they contact us on your behalf we cannot share any information unless we have your consent to do so.
The only exception to breaking confidentiality is if there is a concern about safety to either yourself or someone around you, then we would have a duty of care to share certain information with appropriate organisations or named persons as necessary. We would attempt to keep you informed where possible.
Can I access my health records?
Information on how to access your health records can be found here.
What is National Opt-out?
Oxford Health Trust is one of many organisations working in the health and care system to improve care for patients and the public.
The information collected about you when you are using NHS services can be provided to other approved organisations, where there is a legal basis, to help with planning services, improving care provided, research into developing new treatments and preventing illness. All of these help to provide better health care for you, your family and future generations.
Anonymised confidential personal information about your health and care is only used in this way where allowed by law and would never be used for another purpose without your explicit consent.
You have a choice about whether you want your confidential patient information to be used in this way.
You can find out more about the wider use of confidential personal information and to register you choice by visiting:
Your choice can be submitted online, via email, letter or via telephone.
You can also read more about Oxford Health’s information sharing policies here:
Page last reviewed: 15 August, 2023