What Can I Expect When I Attend
The Traumatic Stress Service

We know that it is never easy to come to a new service so we hope that the information below will be helpful in giving you a better idea about what to expect from us.

The service is based in a large detached house in Chorley and is wheelchair accessible. This is the base for a number of staff who have specialist skills and expertise in the assessment and treatment of trauma. These staff include cognitive therapists, a prescribing pharmacist, a clinical psychologist and a service administrator.

You can expect the service to offer you a careful and detailed assessment of your current difficulties which may take a number of meetings to complete. 

During these appointments you will have the chance to meet with the team pharmacist as well as one of the team therapists.

We can arrange an interpreter if necessary. Generally you will see the same members of staff each time you attend.

Before you come to the service we will send you some questionnaires to return to complete and bring with you to your first appointment. These questionnaires will help us to build up a clearer picture of your concerns and difficulties.

Following this assessment you can expect to contribute to a discussion with the members of the team regarding a plan for the treatment of your difficulties.  We are very keen that our service works collaboratively with you.

It might not always be the case that we will offer treatment following the assessment.  If we don’t think that treatment is indicated at the present time we will discuss this carefully with you.

Where treatment is indicated, we will offer you treatment in line with the guidance produced by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. (Clinical Guideline 26) i.e. trauma focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) and where appropriate, medication. Below is some more information about the approaches to treatment that we offer. 

Trauma-Focused CBT

This is a psychological treatment for PTSD based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT focuses on a person’s distressing feelings, thoughts (or cognitions’) and behaviour and helps to bring about a positive change. In trauma-focused CBT, the treatment concentrates specifically on the memories, thoughts and feelings that a person has about the traumatic event. If you are offered this treatment, you will be encouraged to gradually recall and think about the traumatic event that you experienced. This can be done in various ways including listening to recordings of your own account of the trauma. You will be given help to cope with any emotional distress and behavioural problems that may arise during treatment. Trauma focused CBT is concerned to understand not just what happened but very importantly the meaning of the event to you. The way we make sense of our experiences is crucial in being able to develop a way of overcoming our difficulties.

As the painful and traumatic memories begin to decrease, you may be encouraged and helped to start activities that you have been avoiding since the trauma, such as driving a car if you have avoided driving since an accident.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

This is another psychological treatment for PTSD, in which a therapist will help you to look at your memories of the trauma (including all of the negative thoughts, feelings and sensations experienced at the time of the event). EMDR aims to change how you feel about these memories and helps you to have more positive emotions, behaviour and thoughts.

Medication Management  

As a part of the assessment process there will be an opportunity to review both your current and past medication including any medication that you may be buying over the counter. It would be helpful if you could bring a list of any treatment that you are currently taking to your first appointment, this includes medication for physical health.

Where appropriate physical health monitoring may be done in line with current guidance for certain prescribed medications.

We may also ask for information regarding your physical health before prescribing any medication for you.

Where treatment with medication is indicated it will be prescribed in line with the guidance given by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence for the treatment of PTSD. Any medication prescribed will be reviewed on a regular basis and you may expect medication to be given for a short term only in many cases.

You are most welcome to attend sessions accompanied by someone close to you, if this would be helpful. We understand the value and importance of the support offered by family members or people close to you. We understand too that it can be hard work providing support for someone dealing with trauma symptoms and we would always be happy to meet with them as part of a collaborative approach to assessment and treatment should you wish.

We also know that coming to see us will not be easy and that it will take some courage and determination from you to want to try and overcome your difficulties. We will try to work carefully with you and you can expect the service we offer will be respectful and designed to meet your needs.

You may have a preference regarding whether you are seen by a male or female member of our team. Please do let us know if you have a preference and we will do our best to accommodate your wishes.

You can expect us to work hard with you to provide a professional service that is designed around your individual needs and as an active treatment service we will also have expectations of you!

We will expect that you will be committed to attend the appointments we arrange together. If there is a good reason why you have to cancel an appointment, please cancel as soon as you can and book your next appointment with the service. This will be your responsibility.

If you fail to attend without letting us know we will write to you asking that you telephone within one week to make another appointment. If we don’t hear from you we will generally assume that you no longer wish to be seen and your case will be closed.

We will also ask you to complete lots of questionnaires when you are working with us. These questionnaires will be about your symptoms, your progress and about how you experience the service we provide. We are grateful in advance for your co-operation with this.

This service is designed to work in partnership with you. It will be a collaboration between us where we will hopefully help you to help yourself.  We look forward to working with you.

After your work with us is completed you will be given the opportunity to provide feedback on the service we have provided we see this feedback as important in improving our service.

This photograph has been taken by Mr M Rooney and illustrates an aspect of his journey from trauma to recovery. It is used with his kind permission. 

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