Bath and North East Somerset
Our talking therapy services aim to help you manage a range of common mental health problems including anxiety, stress, depression and low mood. We match the difficulties you are experiencing with evidence-based treatments. We have three services offering talking therapies for people living in Bath and North East Somerset (BaNES), Swindon and the wider county of Wiltshire.
Please note that talking therapy services in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are managed by Vita Health. If you live in these areas, please visit Vita Health here.
Talking therapy services do not provide urgent care. If you need help right now, call AWP’s 24-hour urgent response line free on
0800 953 1919.
For someone to talk to, you can also contact The Samaritans for free on 116 123. The Samaritans offers 24-hour telephone emotional support and befriending in complete confidence.
What if I need support before my appointment or whilst I'm on a waiting list for treatment?
Talking therapies services do not provide urgent care. If you need help right now speak to your GP or surgery mental health nurse if you feel able to. You can also call AWP’s 24-hour urgent response line free on 0800 953 1919. For someone to talk to, you can also contact The Samaritans for free on 116 123. The Samaritans offers 24-hour telephone emotional support and befriending in complete confidence.
Where else can I go?
If during assessment we identify that our service is not suitable for you, we may signpost you to other specialist services which may better meet your needs. AWP have put together a list of useful links and resources here.
After you have received support from other specialist services, there is potential to return to Talking Therapies for a review for your needs. At this time you could discuss if now is the right time for support with Talking Therapies, if your goals are in line with what the service offers, or if now is the right time in your journey.
How long will the whole process take? (i.e. assessment, waiting list, treatment)
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question. The length of the whole process will vary according to your treatment plan and your availability. The length of treatment, itself, also varies according to the type of therapy and the problem being treated. We do aim to provide an assessment where indicated within 6 weeks of contact with our service and if you have any questions about your access to the service, please do contact us.
What if I need further support after completing my course of treatment?
At the end of treatment, we would always advise a period of time in which to practice the techniques you have learnt with us. We will also discuss next steps with you to create a plan for how you can maintain and build on your recovery. This could include how to recognise your own signs and symptoms, and when things are changing, where to go for further support, or what techniques have helped you to build your recovery.
Will I be charged any money for accessing the service?
No, it is a free NHS funded service.
What’s the difference between counselling and CBT?
The majority of the work we do uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT looks at how thoughts, feelings and behaviours interact and how they can affect our mood. The sessions will focus on an evidence-based key intervention to enable you to work towards your goals which you identified during the assessment.
Counselling is a talking therapy that involves a trained therapist listening to you and helping you find ways to deal with emotional issues. You'll be encouraged to talk about your feelings and emotions with a trained therapist, who'll listen and support you without judging or criticising.
The therapist can help you gain a better understanding of your feelings and thought processes, and find your own solutions to problems. But they will not usually give advice or tell you what to do.
Do you offer counselling?
We do not offer ‘general counselling’ within our service, which might typically help people with a whole range of difficulties and utilise a broad range of therapeutic techniques. We do, however, offer a specific form of time-limited counselling called Counselling for Depression (CfD).
CfD aims to help people to come to a greater understanding of themselves and their feelings. In time, people can find that their depression changes or improves when they are more able to recognise and experience their true feelings. CfD can be particularly helpful for people struggling to process emotions in relation to difficult life events. Your CfD therapist will work alongside you to explore, and make sense of, the feelings underlying your depression, so there will be a particular focus on emotions during the sessions. You will be encouraged to really experience these emotions, in order to understand and digest your responses. Due to the specific nature of this type of counselling, it is important that your expectations for therapy do align with a therapeutic approach that focuses on building a therapeutic relationship along with holding an emotional focus. During the first session, your counsellor will ask about your hopes for counselling and allow you the space to start to talk at your own pace.
Do you offer Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)?
Not currently, no.
Do you offer anger management?
If anger management was the main problem, we would not offer treatment for that within our service, currently. However, if anger was a symptom of your anxiety or depression, we will discuss with you how we could work with the anxiety and depression to reduce your symptoms.
What information will be shared with my GP?
To support the wellbeing of people who access talking therapies, it is important that we share some information with others who may be involved in your care and wellbeing. We update your GP with your attendance and a brief summary of the outcome of your assessment or therapies with us. Occasionally, we may also liaise with other mental health services or agencies such as our safeguarding team to ensure you and others around you are safe and supported. At the start of your assessment, the practitioner will advise you of our confidentiality statement and you are welcome to ask any questions about this.
Talking therapies does not routinely share information with third parties such as family members, workplaces or other agencies unless we have your consent to do so. An exemption to this is young people under the age of 18, where we may need to share some information with a parent or guardian should we feel additional support around your safety and wellbeing is necessary.
Can I have the same therapist for every appointment?
It is likely that your assessment appointment will be with one practitioner, then someone different will be allocated to treating you. This person will remain as your therapist throughout that treatment. If you are referred for a new treatment your therapist will change.
How does it work for me as a student, I am only registered in BANES during term time?
If you are at university then you will still be able to access treatment from the service in your home town (where you are registered with your GP). Consideration might be given regarding risk or additional needs, if it is felt your needs would also be best supported in the location you are currently living.
Why have I not been offered treatment with Talking Therapies?
Talking Therapies provides specific short term set of CBT based treatment options for Low Mood; OCD, Panic, Anxiety, PTSD, Social Anxiety and Phobias. We also offer other short term therapy focused on depression, including Counselling for Depression which is aimed at focusing on a specific problem. It may be that ensuring your needs are properly met means alternative signposting options will be offered to you.
I have been signposted to another service and found this frustrating, how can I be supported to access other services?
We understand accessing the right support can be confusing. If you are having difficulties accessing signposting suggestions, Access Mental Health can support you to find and access other services. They can be contacted via: Telephone: 08082 803528
What should I expect from treatment?
Treatment helps you to set and move towards your goals; the things you would like to change. We will concentrate on steps that you can take to help you tackle your difficulties. This means being open to trying out new things and doing small manageable tasks each week at home in your own time. Home practice is an important part of you getting the benefit of treatment.
You will find a selection of self-help guides and resources to give you, or the person you care for, the information and tools needed to effectively support your mental health. Visit our self-help and resources page here for tips and advice on managing your mental wellbeing. In addition to general resources, you will find links to specific resources depending on your life situation.
To assess our effectiveness as a service and continually improve patient care we need to collect data about you, your treatment and the outcomes and analyse it. We store this safely and securely and send some of your information to NHS England where it is used to produce anonymised reports and analysis. For further details, including how you can access your health records, please read our Use of Patient Information sheet here. You’ll also find the contact details for the National Data Opt Out service, which allows you to have a say in how your information is used for research and planning, including the right to opt out.