All types of people from all walks of life come and talk to me about a wide range of problems. Some of these include difficulties dealing with changes in life, not having the coping skills to handle negative life events, the consequences of childhood bullying or deprivation, negative thinking styles or a lack of self confidence, as well as more major psychiatric disorders.
You may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable asking for help, which could be due to the anxiety or depression you’re experiencing. But it could also be as a result of society’s poor understanding of mental health difficulties and the stigma that can often surround it.
These feelings often reduce when you realise that many other people – just like you – are having difficulties with similar issues and that help is available in a supportive, non-judgemental setting.
If you’re experiencing any difficulties with your mental health, please see your GP in the first instance who will then make a referral for you to see me. Or if you prefer, you can contact me directly.
Your first consultation with me usually takes about an hour. During this time I’ll ask you to describe your problems, and the events that are happening in your life at the moment that may be contributing to how you’re feeling.
I’ll also need to ask you about your relationships, background and your upbringing, some of which may have a bearing on your current circumstances.
My role is to assess problems and devise a way forward to help improve the situation. Sometimes this involves a diagnosis and treatment but not always. Being medically qualified, I am able to provide prescriptions directly if needed but more importantly, combine this aspect with psychological therapies as well.
If you need follow-up appointments they usually last 30 minutes.
It’s not an intimidating room to meet in. There is a large airy waiting area and my office is just next to main reception.
Claiming on your health insurance
If you have health insurance it will probably cover your appointment fees, if you have been referred by your GP. But you’ll need to check with your insurance company in advance that you’re covered. If you get a preauthorisation number from your insurer before coming to your first appointment we can then send the account directly to your insurance company for payment. It can be difficult to claim fees back from your insurer if you have not let them know about your appointment in advance. If you need to complete a claim form, please bring it with you to the appointment.
Contacting your GP
It’s good practice (as recommended by General Medical Council) that your GP acts as a central point of contact. So after our first appointment, I can write to your GP so they’re aware of your treatment plan and the work we’re going to do. But if you don’t want this information on your GP medical records please let me know. Generally, when medication is prescribed it’s important your GP knows about it, just in case it interacts with other medication they may wish to prescribe. Sometimes GPs will prescribe medication following your consultation with me. This is for your convenience and it may also be cheaper for you than a private prescription from me.
I’ll also send you a copy of any letter written to your GP and any other correspondence about you, to you for your information.
You may find it helpful to jot down some of the important details about your current situation and make a list of some of the specific goals you want to achieve. Think about the steps you need to take to achieve them and what obstacles are standing in your way. Feel free to send me the list before your consultation or bring it with you on the day.
If you’re taking any medication please bring it to the appointment in the original containers along with an up-to-date prescription from your GP and any other remedies such as alternative, homeopathic or over-the-counter medicines.
During your appointment
This is your appointment, so ask any questions you like and feel free to take notes.
Once we’ve had a discussion we’ll talk about the various treatment options available to you, and we’ll look at the pros and cons of each treatment before deciding on a plan. If you need follow-up appointments we’ll talk about how often they might be and how many you may need.
After our appointment I’ll send you a letter that outlines the plan of care we agreed during the consultation.
If you’re unhappy with any aspects of your care, please let me know as soon as you can, so we can resolve it as quickly as possible.
Involving family and friends
You may want a relative or friend to come into the appointment with you, and that’s fine, although spending at least part of the appointment alone is often helpful.
If you want me to discuss your condition with your family, friends or anyone else, I’ll need your written consent. In general, no information about you is disclosed or discussed with anyone other than you without your written permission, if you’re over the age of 18.
Working with other therapists
As an integral part of the plan we agree together I may recommend that you see a therapist who can work with you on areas we’ve talked about. Appointments with a therapist are often (but not always) on a weekly basis, and I’ll see you to monitor progress at regular intervals. I have links with therapists in many areas of the south east, and London including the City, and can recommend suitable therapists that specialise in areas such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), counselling, anxiety management techniques etc. The fees for these services can usually be reclaimed from your insurance company subject to your specific policy. Different insurance companies will reimburse different therapists and so it’s important for me to know which insurance scheme you’re with.
If I’m not able to make a personal recommendation, I can indicate the qualifications needed and the professional bodies that recognise reputable therapists.
I’ll contact the therapist directly, who will then contact you. They will then keep me informed as to how your therapy is progressing.
Skype follow-up appointments may be possible but face-to-face meetings are usually preferable.
I often see patients from the US who are already diagnosed with and being treated for ADHD/ADD in order to confirm the diagnosis, continue their medication supply or to switch to alternatives that are more easily available in Europe.
If resident outside the UK it is preferable for patients to have a local point of contact for GP and / or psychiatric care but I have been asked in many cases to provide an additional opinion / guidance to assist.
Arrangements can also be made for newer medications, difficult to obtain overseas, to be supplied from our specialist pharmacy.