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Frequently asked questions

Our answers to your questions

If you have a question not answered here, please feel free to contact us on 01865 901222 or by email at talkingspaceplus@nhs.net

Getting help

You can access the service in a number of ways, which can be found here.

If you are aged between 16-18 you will need to go through Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) spa team by contacting 01865 902515 (during normal working hours).  You can also email OxonCAMHSSPA@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk or visit https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/camhs/oxon/ for detailed information. 

TalkingSpace Plus (IAPT) is part of the NHS and is a free service to anyone who is eligible and wants for our support.

We see patients aged 16 or over who are registered with a GP surgery in Oxfordshire. 

We are trained to treat people with common mental health problems, therefore if you are experiencing a severe mental health episode or have a diagnosis such as Schizophrenia or Bipolar disorder, we are not the most appropriate service for you. In this case we will discuss a referral to other local services.

You will also need to complete a TalkingSpace Plus telephone assessment, in special circumstances we are able to arrange face-to-face assessments if needed, for example due to hearing difficulties. The TalkingSpace Plus clinician will be able to assess your current needs and discuss the most appropriate support with you.

If you or someone else, needs urgent help or feel at any kind of risk, please click here for crisis contact information.

We would encourage you to reach out for support immediately.

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.

Once you have contacted us, our team will screen your mental health records to look at any current or past history. If they have any questions they will make contact with you to determine if a TalkingSpace Plus assessment would be appropriate.

We aim to process your referral within 48 hours and then would aim to get you booked into a telephone assessment as soon as possible, often within 3 – 5 days. Face-to-face assessments are also available for people with for example hearing difficulties or learning difficulties such as being unable to have long conversations on the phone. 

All about treatment

Our telephone assessments usually take up to 40 minutes. 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 TalkingSpace Plus 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, as well as deciding 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 will be about you and your family 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.

Our clinicians are trained to support you with answering difficult questions and if you need to take a moment then please do say so.

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.

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 TalkingSpace Plus please click here.

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 sessions may have to stop and you will have to re-refer if further treatment is required.

What does it mean?

IAPT stands for Improving Access to Psychological Therapy and is an NHS service designed to offer short-term psychological therapies to people suffering from anxiety, depression and stress. This also includes treatment for panic, specific phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety, health or illness anxiety.

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 which you can try out with our support. CBT helps people to see how their thoughts affect how they feel and how they behave.

The treatment we offer is predominantly based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This talking therapy helps 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’, as it is based on practical support. You will learn techniques and strategies to enable you to make changes to your behaviours and thoughts. This in turn will help you feel better.

Accessing the service

Our main base is in Oxford. However, we have clinicians working across the county in order to try and reach out to as many people as possible. Therefore, you can find us in some GP surgeries, Oxfordshire Mind buildings and community centres throughout the region. 

If you or someone you know wants help, but doesn’t speak English, an interpreter can be provided. We will organise this for you on your behalf and there will be no charge for this. 

On the courses and groups unfortunately due to space restrictions and to ensure confidentiality is maintained, we are unable to allow any additional people to come along. However, if you feel that it would be helpful to have someone travel with you, please make arrangements to meet them afterwards.

If you are in one to one treatment please discuss this with your named therapist.

One to one appointments are usually in working hours (8am-5pm) available on Monday to Friday. However, we do have some limited capacity in the evenings on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Additionally, 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.

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.

It is fine to arrive just before the course sessions start, 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 each session. 

If it is an individual session we discuss with you whether we need to rearrange. However if we do go ahead it will finish at the prearranged time.

If it is a course/group, we would always rather someone arrived late than miss the whole session. However, we would encourage you to avoid being late where possible as it can be a little disruptive to others. If you arrive after the start of the session 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 we would  ask that you let us know as soon as possible beforehand, either by speaking to your named therapist or by phoning the TalkingSpace Plus admin team on: 01865 901222. 

For maps and other details about where our courses and one-to-one treatment sessions are held, please click here. Information about whether parking is available is included on the maps. If you have any questions or would prefer to speak to someone then please give our admin team a call on 01865 901222. We will do our best to provide any further information that might be needed but unfortunately we are unable to reimburse any travel costs. 

The Data Protection Act 1998 gives patients the right to apply for access to their own records, held either on computer or on paper.

If you are receiving treatment you may arrange to discuss your records informally with your healthcare professional. Otherwise you can write to the health records manager to request access to your records. Please click here for further information. 

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