What is a clinical psychologist?

  • Clinical psychologists specialise in helping people deal with psychological difficulties.
  • They work in health settings but are not medical doctors so do not prescribe any medication.
  • They can work with people who have mental health problems but also specialise in helping people cope with stresses and strains caused by physical health problems.

Why would I want to see a psychologist?

  • Kidney disease can have a major impact on someone's life and for some people it can be an upsetting experience.
  • It is common for people to worry about their health and their future.
  • People can also find it difficult to undergo medical procedures that might make them feel nervous or anxious.
  • Sometimes people can become anxious, angry or sad about what is happening to them. They may also feel overwhelmed and unable to cope.
  • Other problems such as long term stress or mood problems may also affect how people deal with kidney disease.
  • Speaking to a psychologist offers you an opportunity to discuss some of these issues with someone who is trained and experienced in dealing with such difficulties.
  • Information about common feelings in renal patients can be found here.

What happens after I am referred?

After you are referred, the psychologist will contact you by phone or letter to arrange a first appointment.

What will happen when I meet the psychologist?

  • Your first meeting will be an informal discussion which will last about an hour.
  • The psychologist will ask you some background details and may also give you a short questionnaire to complete. In the rest of the appointment you can discuss issues that are concerning you and decide with the psychologist what support would be most helpful.
  • You may decide not to take up any further appointments or you may be referred on to another service. In these cases, you will be welcome to ask for another appointment at any time in the future.
  • If the psychological support would be helpful, you and the psychologist will arrange to meet for a series of sessions.
  • You may meet with the psychologist as an outpatient, or on a ward if you are already an inpatient.

Will my information be kept confidential?

  • ANy notes that the psychologist takes during or after your appointments will be kept separately from you medical records and stored securely and confidentially.
  • The psychologist may want to share some of the issues you discuss with your renal care team because it may help them improve your care. The person who referred you will also be informed that you have been seen by a psychologist.
  • If there is anything that you want to remain confidential, they will respect this wherever possible. This is subject to the need to consider the safety of yourself and others.

What if I do not want to see a psychologist?

  • Although one of your renal care team (doctor,specialist nurse etc) may have suggested that you might benefit from seeing a psychologist, you can choose not to and it will not affect any other aspect of your care.
  • A referral to the psychologist should be discussed with you beforehand and you should agree with the referral before it is made.

How can I contact you or be referred?

  • If you would like to see a psychologist, you can ask to be referred by one of the renal care team members, for example your doctor, nurse, social worker, dietician.
  • If you have been referred and would like to discuss your referral, please contact the Renal Psychology Service. Contact information can be found here