Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the common question and answers that we get asked about our self-referral process, access to the Patient Portal and how we collect feedback via our Patient Experience Questionnaire. If you would like further information or support please contact us. 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

What is CBT? 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a highly effective short term evidence based intervention, shown to be helpful in treating anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems. 

‘Cognitive’ means our thoughts, the way we interpret and think about things. By ‘behaviour’ we mean the way we act and respond to situations. The aim of CBT is to help you understand overwhelming problems by examining the link between our thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms and behaviour. When feeling stressed, anxious or low in mood, we think more negatively, and can react in unhelpful ways. CBT will help you learn tools and techniques to reduce negative thinking patterns and respond differently, helping you to take control of your symptoms and feel better.

CBT involves planning practical exercises or experiments with your therapist and carrying these out together or as homework between sessions. CBT encourages people to engage in activities and to write down their thoughts and problems for discussion during therapy. CBT can also involve problem-solving and learning how to deal with worry or with difficult memories. 

CBT is recommended as the first line treatment for:

•    Depression
•    Generalised anxiety
•    Health anxiety
•    Social anxiety
•    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
•    Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
•    Severe Phobias
•    Long Term Conditions

What other treatments do you offer?

Other effective talking therapy options are available through our service including: 
•    Couple Therapy for Depression 
•    Dynamic Interpersonal Psychotherapy (DIT) 
•    Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) 
•    Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

The range of support can vary depending on availability in your local area. During your initial assessment we will help you to identify the most appropriate treatment options for you. Please visit our talking therapies section for more information. 


Do I need to see my GP?

No. Your GP will be happy to make a referral for you but if you’d prefer not to wait, you can make a referral directly to the team by completing an online referral

What will happen when I get referred to your service?

If you have spoken to your GP or other health professional about your current difficulties they may offer to make a referral to us on your behalf. Our first step will be to review the information provided. We will then contact you to book an appointment, gather more information or in some circumstances offer advice on services most suited to your needs.

What will happen when you receive my referral?

All referrals received are processed Monday to Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm.

After we have reviewed your referral, one of our administrators will contact you to arrange an initial assessment. This will be a telephone appointment with a clinician, lasting approximately 45 minutes. You will be invited to tell us more about your reasons for referring and help us to identify the most appropriate support option for your needs.

We will do our best to ensure we offer you an appointment that suits your circumstances and supports your individual preferences, including considering accessible locations and any translator requirements.


If you have a general inquiry about an appointment, please call your therapist on their mobile number or the office. Click here for office contact details. 

What to expect from your initial appointment? 

When you make contact with our team, we will get in touch to book your first appointment. Your first appointment helps us gather information so that together we can reach a decision about what would be best for you. We have developed a short animation video to help provide you with an overview of what to expect during this first appointment. Click here for 'What to expect from your initial appointment?' video. 

What hours do you offer appointments? 

Our offices are open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and appointment slots are available Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm. Please note that availability of appointments may vary for individual treatment options and it will not always be possible to provide a specific time or day.

How do I check my appointment time?

We use an SMS reminder system for appointments for anyone with a mobile number who has consented to receive messages. You will be sent a text reminder 48 hours before the appointment. You will be given the telephone number of the office which you can call if you need to reschedule your appointment. 

If you are not able to use SMS messaging, or your appointment is less than 48 hours, you should contact the team.

Can I reschedule an appointment?

If you need to reschedule a session, please call your therapist on their mobile number or the office, giving as much notice as possible.

Can I cancel my appointment? 

For your treatment to work it is essential that you attend regular appointments. Our appointments are in high demand, and therefore we can only offer what is available. It will not always be possible to provide a specific time or day. If you need to cancel a session, please call your therapist on their mobile number or the office, giving as much notice as possible

Please be aware that due to the high demand for our service and the impact that not attending has on your progress in treatment, you will be discharged from our service if you cancel or do not attend two arranged sessions. You will also automatically be discharged if you do not attend your first appointment without letting us know in advance. 

If you are discharged and would still like to use the service, we would welcome another referral from you when you are able to commit to treatment. Click here to make a self-referral. 

Please be advised that we are unable to conduct any telephone conversations if you are driving. We will terminate the call and call you back at another time.

Patient Portal

What is the Patient Portal?

The Patient Portal is an online tool that allows you to login prior to your appointment, to provide up-to-date information required for each appointment including updating the relevant clinical measures and any additional questionnaires required. The Patient Portal is designed to allow patients to quickly, easily and securely enter their questionnaires online in advance of an appointment. The Patient Portal is accessible via any internet enabled device, including computers, tablets, iPads and smart phones.

The information that you provide prior to your appointment on the Patient Portal will be available to your clinician. This provides many benefits including reducing the time during an appointment completing necessary paperwork allowing for an increase in clinical time.   

What information does the Patient Portal collect?

The Patient Portal collects several clinical measures and questionnaires essential to your treatment and therapy. These measures collected allow your clinician to monitor your progress of improvement and recovery.

How do I get setup on the Patient Portal?

All new referrals to our services will automatically be enrolled to use the Patient Portal, providing the patient has a valid mobile number and opted for SMS communication. You will receive a ‘Welcome Message’ by SMS once your first appointment has been booked.

The ‘Welcome Message’ will provide you with your login details. It’s important you keep or make note of your login details for future appointments.

How does the Patient Portal work?

You will receive a SMS appointment reminder up to 48hrs prior to your scheduled appointment date, you will then receive a second SMS prompting you to login to the Patient Portal and complete all required questionnaires and clinical measures prior to your appointment, please use the link provided in the message to access the Patient Portal.

Can you opt out of the Patient Portal?

If you would like to opt out of the ‘Patient Portal’ please speak directly with your clinician or a member of the service who will be able to provide you with more information.

Treatment sessions

What do sessions involve?

Whether you are attending our workshops, completing our computerised CBT programme or having individual sessions, you are expected to attend your scheduled appointment to maximise the effectiveness of your treatment. 

Throughout your course of treatment, you will be asked to complete out of session or homework tasks which are designed to help you practice what you have learnt in your therapy session. As CBT is an active talking therapy, sessions are collaborative so involve equal participation between you and your wellbeing worker. 

At the beginning of treatment, you will set therapy goals which you will be working towards and continuously review with your worker.

At each session we do require you to complete a short set of questionnaires so that we can monitor your symptoms. These questionnaires also help record your improvement throughout treatment.

Who will my appointments be with? 

A range of different professionals work within the service including Psychologists, Cognitive Behaviour Therapists and Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners.  

Our Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWP’s) have been specifically trained to work with individuals who may be experiencing low mood or anxiety. PWP’s can deliver a wide range of interventions through guided self help materials. This could be in the form of one to one work, running group workshops or facilitating computerised CBT.

Our High Intensity Cognitive Behaviour Therapists work individually with clients who may be presenting with more severe or complex problems. They may have previous experience working in various mental health settings as nurses, social workers, psychologists or counsellors. 

Do I have a choice of venue and therapist?

It is important to us that you can access therapy in a way that is convenient for you and that you feel comfortable with the therapy you are receiving at all times. At your first appointment your therapist will discuss with you the many options we can offer, which range from therapy delivered online in the comfort of your own home, as well as face to face in a group or face to face with a therapist.

If at any time during treatment you wish to explore different therapy options please let your therapist know. If you have problems with access please let us know at the first opportunity so we can help. Some people prefer to see a female therapist while others might prefer a male therapist. If this is important to you, please let us know. 

Can I bring a friend or relative to my treatment sessions?

Yes. Sometimes it is helpful to bring a family member or friend along to sessions so talk to us if that is your preference.

Can someone else call to make my appointments for me? 

This service is confidential and as such we are not able to speak with anyone else about your referral (including booking or cancelling appointments) unless we have your prior consent. 

English is not my first language, will I struggle with communication?

Just let us know either when the referral is made or when we contact you to book your appointment and we can arrange for an interpreter to be present for your appointments. 

Choose and Book

What is Choose and Book?

Choose and Book enables patients to book their initial assessment with one of our therapists through a link sent by text message. This will provide you with an opportunity to book an appointment for a day and time that suits you. 

Please note that Choose and Book is not available for all our services as of April 2023 but will be made available in due course.

How does Choose and Book work?

After referring into our services your referral will be screened by one of our clinicians. If appropriate, you will then be sent a text message asking you to book an appointment, please use the link provided in the SMS. You will then need to confirm your date of birth. After this, you are able to book an appointment up to 14 days in advance of accessing the link. 
If you are able unable to book an appointment, contact details will be provided, please get in touch and we will book you an appointment over the phone.

What happens if I need to re-schedule my appointment?

You can cancel an appointment up to 48 hours before your scheduled appointment. However, if you wish to cancel your appointment within that 48 hour window before your appointment, contact details will be provided on your confirmation email or similarly by clicking on the link as mentioned above.   Once cancelled, you are free to book in another appointment for a more appropriate day/time. Please do not cancel multiple appointments.  

How do I opt to use Choose and Book?

When referring into our services via the online self-referral page, make sure you consent to receiving SMS messages (at no cost).

How do I opt out of Choose and Book?

If you would like to opt out of Choose and Book please speak directly with your clinician or a member of the service who will be able to provide you with more information.

Video therapy

What is video therapy?

Video therapy is the same as in-person therapy but it is delivered virtually via a video-conferencing platform such as Microsoft Teams. Video therapy can be easily accessed remotely from the comfort of your own home. During sessions you will see your therapists regularly online where you will be able to meet with them in confidence. This could be one-to-one or in a group. Click here to view our "What to expect from video therapy with our services" leaflet for more information. 

How do I attend an appointment via Microsoft Teams? 

Attending appointments on Microsoft Teams (MST) means you can easily access therapy from the comfort of your own home. Microsoft Teams also provides additional features that will enhance your therapeutic experience and support collaborative working, including screen sharing which will allow your therapist to share worksheets and exercises with you.

Please click here to view our guide on how to attend your appointment on Microsoft Teams. 

How do I get the most out of video therapy?

  • A digital device such as a smart phone, tablet or laptop with good signal and internet connection.
  • A reasonable sized screen so you can see documents that your therapist shares with you clearly and add your own comments to them.
  • Have a notebook and pen nearby to make notes during your appointment.
  • A quiet and confidential space where you can have your session – it cannot take place if you are driving or in a noisy, public place.
  • Headphones with a microphone improve sound quality and minimise disruption from other noises.

Click here to view our "What to expect from video therapy with our services" leaflet for more information.

Click here to view our "How to get the most out of your video therapy session" animation video. 

Patient Experience Questionnaire

What is the Patient Experience Questionnaire (PEQ)?

Improving your experience of our service is important to us and helps to ensure that we continue to provide high quality care. To assist us with our continued improvement we collect reports of patient experience at two stages during your journey with our service.

You will be sent your first Patient Experience Questionnaire after your assessment (initial assessment) and another at the end of treatment once you have been discharged from the service.

Why do we collect this information?

We collect this information to gain valuable insight into the care being received by our patients. The information collected via the Patient Experience Questionnaires is used to help inform service improvement, as well as highlight the quality of care provided by the service.

Information collected via the Patient Experience Questionnaire remains confidential and anonymised to allow patients to feedback with ease and honesty. For more information on how your information is processed and shared please refer to our ‘Fair Processing Notice’ and sharing information page

How do we collect the Patient Experience Questionnaire?

We want to make it as easy as possible for you to give us feedback. Throughout your journey with the service you will receive two SMS message reminders which will contain a link to the online questionnaire for you to complete in your own time. You will receive the first text message after your initial assessment and the second after you have been discharged from the service. Please note that you will only receive a text message if you have provided a valid mobile number and opted for SMS communication.

Please allow approximately 24 hours for the SMS to be sent after your initial assessment and after you have been discharged from the service. The questionnaire will vary slightly to allow you to provide information based on the different stages in your journey.

Where the Patient Experience Questionnaire cannot be collected via the SMS process, patients can complete PEQs via email or alternative methods.

Confidentiality and personal information

How is my confidentiality protected? 

We ensure that the confidentiality of clients seen within our service is protected. The service is provided in partnership with our local GPs to ensure we all offer you joined up care. Therefore necessary information will usually be shared with your GP and other health professionals involved in your care (please see the section on ‘Your personal information’ for more details).

In exceptional circumstances and to help safeguard the welfare of yourself and others your information may also be shared with other professionals in order to provide the support you need. This is in accordance with the principles of the Data Protection Act 2018 under which your information is held. If you express wishes that limit us sharing information, we will respect these wherever possible. If for any reason we do have to share information, you will be informed at the earliest opportunity. If any information needs to be shared with anyone else for any other purpose, this will be also discussed with you. 

How will you store my personal information?

The information you provide will be stored on our secure digital system. We will use this information to contact you regarding this referral and may share it with other professionals in relation to your care. Please talk to your therapist if you want further information, or find out more via our ‘Fair Processing Notice’ and sharing information page

Compliments, comments and complaints

How can I feedback about the service?

We are always pleased to hear from people who feel we have provided a good service and we always welcome suggestions on how we can make improvements. Understanding what we do well and how we can improve helps shape our service. 

After your assessment and at the end of treatment your therapist will provide you with a questionnaire about your experience in the service. Your feedback will help us improve the service so we appreciate you taking the time to let us have your views. This is completely anonymous and will not affect your treatment.

If during or after treatment you are unhappy about the service you are receiving, please contact your local team’s service manager. They can be contacted via the telephone number at the top of your appointment letter. Alternatively you can contact the HPFT Patient Liaison Team (PALS) to discuss any concerns. Please click here for more details about how to make a compliment, comment or complaint.