Brunswick Surgery, Surbiton Health Centre, Counselling Service
Counselling can be helpful for those experiencing various physical and/or emotional or psychological problems such as bereavement, loss, low self-confidence or esteem, assertiveness, anger management, work or personal stress, relationship difficulties, bullying, anxiety, sexuality, depression, trauma or abuse. Brunswick Surgery provides this service free of charge to patients referred by a GP. Sue Bentley is the Counselling Service Manager; we have 3 other counsellors who see patients. Please be aware that we all provide our time on a voluntary basis.
First Step & Assessment
You will be referred to Sue Bentley for counselling by your GP after discussing this during you appointment with him/her. You are then invited to phone Sue on her confidential landline 0208 3985663 or on her mobile 07836 782812 to make an initial assessment appointment with one of the counsellors. This first step is for you to take. If Sue does not answer in person, please leave her a message to return your call with your name, contact phone number and referring GP. Your availability to come for the assessment will be discussed and you will be informed if there is a waiting list. At your assessment you will be asked to talk about the problems you are experiencing and to complete an assessment questionnaire. A mutual decision may then be made to proceed with counselling or you or your counsellor may wish to think about it first. We have access to a local NHS Stress Management course to which you can also be referred by your counsellor or your GP.
Appointment Location /Times
Counselling sessions take place at Surbiton Health Centre on Friday and Saturday mornings. Each session is for 50 minutes, it is important to arrive on time, your counsellor will collect you from the Brunswick waiting area. You will need to validate your car registration details each time you attend your appointment on one of the small black screen in the reception area (not the same one as when you have a GP appointment). Please note the counselling service is provided by volunteers who give their time on certain days at certain times, unlike the Kingston Well Being or i-Cope Services which provide NHS psychological services and are staffed by salaried staff 5 days a week from 9 - 5. Due to this fact, as well as the therapeutic advantage of attending weekly sessions, if you miss a session this will mean that a patient on our waiting list for your appointment slot will be delayed.
Number of Sessions
This is a short–term counselling service, the maximum total number of sessions including your initial assessment is 8. Any missed appointment or one cancelled within 48 hours will count as a session so will be lost to you. If you think you will miss more than 2 appointments within an 8 week plan we are likely to ask you to delay starting until after that, otherwise you are taking a space needed for another patient. There may be certain situations when extended sessions can be offered by negotiation between you, your counsellor, Sue Bentley and your GP. It is expected that any child care arrangements will be in place in plenty of time to avoid missing any sessions. Children are not allowed to come into sessions with you.
The content of your sessions is treated as confidential. Confidentiality may be breached if at any stage you disclose that you are or anyone around you is at risk of harm or self harm or if there is a child protection issue or if you are involved in terrorist activity. Your GP would be informed of this and the emergency/social services may be called. Confidentiality also applies to any notes made by your counsellor or that you make together or that your counsellor may take to her clinical supervision. Your case may be discussed confidentially by your counsellor with your GP, with Sue Bentley, within the counselling team and/or taken to supervision.
If you need to cancel a pre-arranged appointment please give your counsellor at least 48 hours notice by leaving a message or text on her mobile phone, she will give you her number and it is most important you keep it to hand. If it is not possible to call before your appointment in the case of an emergency, please leave a message as soon as you can. Unless your counsellor has at least 48 hours notice of cancellation, for any reason, you will forfeit that session, so please avoid this happening if you possibly can. Missed appointments often mean another patient has waited longer than necessary to be seen. If you do not attend without giving notice and have not contacted your counsellor within 24 hours she will contact you. If your counsellor has to cancel an appointment for any reason she will give you as much notice as possible.
Last Session and Feedback
We hope you will find counselling helpful. Your GP, Sue Bentley and/or the Business Manager Louise Laithwaite, would value your feedback. You will be invited to complete a Client Satisfaction Questionnaire at your penultimate session and the assessment questionnaire again with your counsellor during your last session. On completion of counselling your GP will be advised by your counsellor of your attendance as well as of any missed or late cancelled appointments in a brief discharge summary. This will be copied to your NHS computer records, you may request a copy if you wish.
Code of Ethics
Sue Bentley and all our counsellors are members of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy and adhere to the BACP Code of Ethics/Ethical Framework. If you are not happy with your counselling for any reason, please explore this initially with your counsellor to try to resolve the situation. She will discuss this with her supervisor, Sue Bentley and then with you again face to face. If you are still unable to resolve the problem, you are invited to report this to the Practice Manager Louise Laithwaite or to your GP. If resolution is ultimately not reached, you may contact the BACP direct, your counsellor or Sue Bentley.
IF YOU WISH TO PROCEED WITH COUNSELLING THIS IS AN OPT IN INVITATION, so to make an appointment for an assessment, please call as soon as possible as at times there is a waiting list:
Sue Bentley, Counselling Service Manager on 0208 398 5663 or 07836 782812
Please leave a message with your name, phone number and the name of the GP who referred you if Sue does not answer in person. She will return your call as soon as possible, if she has not done so within two days please leave another message on her mobile. NB Sue will NOT normally contact you first to make an assessment appointment.
For further advice and information regarding counselling: