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Clinical psychology in the gastroenterology team

What is a clinical psychologist?

Clinical psychologists aim to help young people and their families in times of difficulty. We will listen to your concerns and try to understand your situation and find a helpful way forward.  We are here to help you to make changes for the better.

We are one part of the team who work in Gastroenterology, which includes doctors, nurses, dietitians and so on.

We are not medical doctors and so do not prescribe medicines or do any physical examinations.

What can I help with?

People with ‘gastro problems’ are often given the chance to see us for lots of reasons. We can help with things such as:

  • struggles with adjusting to illness, specific symptoms, or health conditions
  • eating difficulties such as avoidant and restricted eating
  • managing treatment procedures that can be difficult to cope with such as endoscopies and gastrostomies
  • the effects of gastro related difficulties on family
  • anxieties, fears and phobias about gastro conditions or symptoms
  • school worries as a result of gastro related symptoms such as fears of using the toilets
  • physical problems made worse by stress and worries
  • traumatic experiences in your life
  • dealing with the future and your health
  • relationships with family and friends
  • worries about feeling ‘different’

What sort of help will be offered?

This will be tailored to suit your needs. It may be working with your parents, the whole family or with you alone. We will keep parents regularly informed of progress if we see you alone.

You could receive support from:

  • clinical psychologist
  • cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) therapist
  • family therapist
  • assistant psychologist

This will depend on the nature of the difficulties that you are experiencing.

How long will I be coming?

Your first session will be an assessment and during this we will decide how many sessions are needed for you to make the changes you want. Up to 5 sessions will be offered, with a further session to review how things are. Hopefully you will be well on your way to making the changes you want without the need to see us further, however if more sessions are needed we can arrange this too.

Will our discussions be confidential?

As clinical psychologists, we have strict rules about confidentiality and do not discuss your difficulties with anyone other than the doctor or team who referred you and your GP. If we feel it would be helpful to discuss or pass on information to anyone else we will ask your permission.

However, we have a responsibility to protect children from harm. We are legally and morally bound to disclose any information regarding children at risk of abuse or harm to relevant agencies.

What will happen at the first meeting with your psychologist?

The first meeting will take the form of an assessment which you will normally attend with a parent or carer. We aim to find out a little about you such as who your family are, what school you go to, what your interests are and so on. We will also ask about the difficulties you are having as well as trying to find out about some of the strengths you have. As part of assessment, you will also have the chance to find out if we are the right people for you.

It is important to be as honest as you can about how you are feeling and what is going on for you (even saying about whether you feel comfortable or not about talking to a psychologist!). You will not offend us, and it is very important we know exactly how you feel. Together we will be able to make a decision about whether we are able to help you as well as whether you would like to take up the offer of our help.

At the end of the assessment, together we can plan the next steps to help solve your difficulties.

Expect 1 to 1.5 hours for your first meeting and up to 1 hour for further meetings.

Complaints and feedback

If you are unhappy about anything please let us know and we will do our best to put things right. We welcome any suggestions and feedback from parents, carers and children and young people.

Your views about what you need are very important to us. Please share them with us rather than go away unhappy with your meeting.

If you prefer, you could speak to our PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) co-ordinator about anything you are not happy with. Please ring PALS on 0114 271 7594 or find them by asking at the Hospital Main Reception.

If you cannot attend, please let us know as soon as you can. We can then give the appointment to another person on the waiting list, or use the time to see other people who are on the wards. As many people have to wait to be seen by a psychologist, any missed appointments make it longer for others to wait. Even a last minute telephone call on the day would be helpful.

Contact us

If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact:

Gastroenterology Psychology team
3 Northumberland Road
S10 2TD
0114 271 7296

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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Western Bank
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

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