FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here are my answers to commonly asked questions about my practice. If you have any further questions please contact me and I'll be happy to answer them.
Why do you currently work only by video conferencing or telephone?
I love face to face work but the reality of COVID-19 means this has become more of a risk. Current professional guidance for clinical psychologists recommend working remotely wherever possible. Working by video conferencing, or phone, also means I can charge less and be more flexible about the days/times I offer. I have received my clinical supervision by video conferencing, for the past four years, and have found it equally effective as face to face supervision. Most importantly I have been pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness, for customers, of using video conferencing and the telephone exclusively since April 2020.
What happens in a typical consultation?
During my consultations, I am focused on you and the problems that you bring. For sixty minutes, I open myself up to your experience. I listen to you, am present with you, experience your emotions, and respond to you with honesty. I then help you again, by changing what I do. Breaking the lock of problematic relationships. This enables you to experience a different human response to the problems in your life. You decide if that change could be beneficial for you to make as well and we can practise it together. If not, I keep changing what I do until we find a change which works for you. I have created a whiteboard video to graphically illustrate this process.
Can I choose what happens in my own consultation?
Yes. My experience, and clinical research, suggest that consultations are most effective when the customer can exercise choice. These choices include your therapy goals, the amount of structure, theory, silence and emotion in consultations, the psychological model(s) used and the homework provided. In this way we can speed the process of making your consultations most useful to you.
How important are social relationships to health?
The adequacy of our social relationships impacts our risk of premature death as much as smoking and alcohol consumption and more than our level of physical activity and obesity. In these ways adequate social relationships increase our relative length of life. So, given it is in our self interest, how might we improve the adequacy of our social relationships? Psychological therapy is one way to practice improving the adequacy of our social relationships. I have described this process and many more in this article: a matter of life and death.
Won't therapy just go over old ground and leave me stuck in the same place but poorer?
This is a risk in therapy. Adopting familiar roles can mean a person remains stuck in the distressing patterns of relating that may have brought them to therapy in the first place. It is the job of the therapist to be alive to these dangers. Making conscious shifts in practise to become aware of, and then step back from, any unhelpful roles. I have explored this danger, and its remedies, in my article the surprising ways you can come unstuck in therapy.
What have you learnt from your own therapy?
Therapy is different to other relationships. The the focus is upon you and your problem. You don't need to feel guilty about talking about yourself or feel responsible for the therapist. I have learnt that therapy is not an easy process but can be a helpful one. I have learnt how am I part of my problems and what can I do about them. To allow myself to be known, to trust other people and to attach to them. Therapy also helped me to experience more powerful, diverse and complex emotions. Containing the experience so I don't have to act upon them and can experience other peoples emotions at the same time. Instead to name them, their strength, understand how they come about and how they might become useful in my life. Finally how my life as a child, adolescent, and as an adult, have contributed to the person I am today. All these lessons, from therapy, help me to be the adult I want to be today.
What is a clinical psychologist?
Clinical psychologists are health professionals. They specialise in the assessment and treatment of psychological problems. Clinical psychologists create helpful professional relationships for their clients. These helpful relationships are guided by the customers needs and psychological evidence. The psychological evidence includes cognitive, behavioural (CBT), systemic and psycho dynamic explanations for the customer's problems. In order to qualify, clinical psychologists need an undergraduate honours degree in psychology (or equivalent) and a doctorate in clinical psychology. They are registered by the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council), the British Psychological Society (BPS) and can use the protected title 'Clinical Psychologist.’
How do I know if I will benefit from clinical psychology?
Clinical psychology has risks and benefits. It can involve discussing unpleasant aspects of your life. You may experience temporary feelings of sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness, and helplessness. On the other hand, clinical psychology can have benefits for people. Better relationships, solutions to specific problems and reductions in feelings of distress. But there are no guarantees of what you will experience. In sum we can purchase the conditions to make a recovery from our problems more likely but not the recovery itself.
How long does clinical psychology take & how much does it cost?
Clinical psychology is a temporary intervention. The total number of consultations depends on a number of factors. The nature of the problem you bring, the costs and benefits of clinical psychology for you and other factors in your life. I aim to develop good habits in consultations that will transfer to your life outside session. Regular reviews are part of good practise. The first consultation with myself is free. In 2020, I then charge £40 for a sixty minute online consultation. If you decide to commit, and pay for, a number of sessions in advance I reduce the price per consultation e.g. 6 for £200. For a fuller explanation of what you pay for please see my about page.
What about confidentiality & ethics?
I work within the codes of ethics of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the British Psychological Society (BPS.) These include a duty of confidentiality, unless there is a significant risk of harm occurring by that confidentiality being maintained. I am also compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR.) As such I am a registered data controller with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO.) If you have concerns about my practise you can raise them directly with myself or with any of these regulatory bodies. I have also written and article about the particular ethics of the co-productive relationships I promote.
Can I receive consultations through my private health insurance?
Yes. I am recognised provider of medical treatment with the following healthcare insurers. Aetna Global Benefit (SP093319); Aviva (600123739); AXA PPP healthcare (AP04471); Nuffield Health (fk20nzcontact) & Vitality Health Insurance (SP093319.)
Do you receive regular clinical supervision?
Yes. I receive three weekly clinical supervision from a HCPC registered clinical psychologist. This best practice helps me work safely and effectively. In my supervision I discuss the dilemmas, and experiences, of working with my customers. I have received this kind of clinical supervision, from a clinical psychologist, for sixteen years.
How is a therapeutic group different from 1:1 therapy?
A therapeutic group adds a different layer of experience to that available in 1:1 consultations. There are more minds, experience and responses immediately available to us. We are more open to a larger number of people. Systemic understandings of mental health problems suggest our problems are both caused and resolved socially. My experience is that groups can be powerful additional way to help us change from 1:1 consultations. You might be surprised how much sharing your story can help others and how hearing theirs can help you. I have also produced a white board video to illustrate this process
What are your full terms and conditions?
The first consultation is free. For 2020 I then charge private individuals £40 for a stand alone sixty minute consultation. I charge organisations £50 per session to reflect the additional administration involved. If a private individual decides to commit and pay for a number of sessions I can offer a discount to the per session charge e.g. 6 for £200. Payment is to be made by bank transfer or Paypal. Payment is requested on the day of the session. For an full explanation of what I get paid for please see the about page on this website.
Appointments last sixty minutes. If you are late I may not overrun due to the next client, so will have to cut a session short.
Cancellations can be made up to 48 hours before the appointment. Appointments cancelled after this time are charged in full. When you wish to end your clinical psychology please inform me at the earliest opportunity .
Contacting me & emergencies:
I am usually available between 9am and 5pm Mon-Fri. I will not answer the phone when I am with a customer. When I am unavailable, please text (07503 316840,) phone (01506 670627) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I will make every effort to return your call or e-mail on the same day you make it, apart from on weekends and holidays. If you are unable to reach me and feel that you can’t wait for me to return your call, please contact your GP and ask for an emergency appointment. The NHS 24 (phone 111) service provides urgent health advice, when your GP practice is closed. Alternatively present at any Accident and & Emergency (A&E) department and ask for a mental health assessment. If you think that someone's life is at risk you should phone 999 immediately.
I use the information I collect in accordance with all UK laws concerning the protection of personal data, including the Data Protection Act 1998 and the GDPR 2016. Andrew Perry is the data controller. If another party has access to your data I will tell you if they are acting as a data controller or a data processor, who they are, what they are doing with your data and why I need to provide them with the information. If your questions are not fully answered please contact myself. If you are not satisfied you can contact the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) https://ico.org.uk.
For individual clients I will routinely ask for your, name and address (postal and email), date of birth, GP details and emergency contact details. During the course of initial contact and then subsequent therapy, I will inevitably also collect other personal data relevant to assessing and treating your presenting psychological difficulties. Collecting this data helps me: Contact you to set up assessment and therapy. Conduct a psychological assessment. Devise and implement an effective treatment plan (therapy). Communicate (when necessary and agreed with you) with relevant third parties to support your treatment and manage any risks which may arise.
Any personal information we hold about you is stored and processed in line with The Data Protection Act 1998 (in force on the date this statement became operational) and the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) adopted on 27th April 2016 and enforceable from 25th May 2018.
Your data will be kept for the lifetime of your status as a client. When you cease to be a client, your data will kept for a minimum period of seven years, and a maximum period of ten years in accordance with General Medical Council guidelines. If you are a child your data will be retained until 7 years after your 18th birthday. If you are an adopted child or adult your data will be retained for 100 years in line with Ofsted recommendations.
You have the right to ask for your data to be deleted but I do not to have comply with this request if there is a legitimate reason for continuing to retain this data (for example possible future legal requests). I will keep electronic invoices for seven years as this is the required length to comply with the HMRC requirements. After seven years I delete the invoices.
All client files and therapy notes are kept secure in a locked filing cabinet.
Expired paper records, and IT assets, will be destroyed, when no longer needed, by a certified disposal service meeting British Standard EN 15713.
Access to your personal information is restricted on a ‘need-to-know’ basis only i.e. for those concerned directly with your care and with your account.
I use personal computers that computers are password protected and the hard drives are encrypted. Passwords are not shared. In the unlikely event of a data protection breach we will notify the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) so that their procedures can be followed. I will also notify all individuals whose data may have been accessed to alert them to the breach and any potential risks.
Data accuracy: Should, during the course of your contact with us, any personal data be subject to change e.g. if you move address, change GPs, change your name etc. I would be grateful if you could notify me at the earliest opportunity so I can ensure our records are up to date. Please contact myself, if you wish to update the accuracy of the personal data we hold about you. I may require additional verification that you are who you say you are to process this request. If you wish to have your information corrected, you must provide me with the correct data and after I have corrected the data in our systems I will send you a copy of the updated information.
All individuals who are the subject of personal data held by the data controller are entitled to:
Ask what information I holds about them and why.
Ask how to gain access to it.
Be informed how to keep it up to date.
Be informed how the company is meeting its data protection obligations.
If you would like to request a copy of the data I hold about you, this is called a subject access request. Subject access requests should be made in writing or email. I will aim to provide the relevant data within 30 days. I will always verify the identity of anyone making a subject access request before handing over any information. We may withhold such personal information to the extent permitted by Law. In practice, this means that we may not provide information if I consider that providing the information will violate your vital interests.
In certain circumstances the Data Protection Act allows myself to disclose data (including sensitive data) without the data subject’s consent. These are:
Carrying out a legal duty
Protecting vital interests of a Data Subject or other person.
If the data subject has already made the information public.
Conducting any legal proceedings, obtaining legal advice or defending any legal rights.
Monitoring for equal opportunities purposes – i.e. race, disability or religion.
Providing a confidential service where the data subject’s consent cannot be obtained or where it is reasonable to proceed without consent: e.g. where we would wish to avoid forcing stressed or ill data subjects to provide consent signatures.
Under these circumstances, I will disclose relevant data. However, I will take all reasonable steps to notify the individual whose data is being disclosed about the disclosure. I will also ensure that any such data request is legitimate, reasonable and necessary.