UPDATED MAY 2020
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 2 other counsellors. Please be aware that we all provide our time on a voluntary basis. From May 2020 due to Covid-19 the Service is providing telephone counselling instead of face to face.
First Step & Assessment
You will be referred to Sue Bentley for counselling by your GP after discussing this during your appointment with him/her. You are then invited to contact Sue on her mobile phone 07836 782812. Please note 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. She will complete a post referral questionnaire with you on the phone, including checking your availability to attend counselling. If possible a full assessment appointment will then be arranged, you will be informed if there is a waiting list. Other options of accessing counselling/support may be discussed with you. At your assessment you will be asked to talk about the problems you are experiencing, you will have completed beforehand a tick-box questionnaire which will have been emailed to you by your counsellor. A mutual decision may then be made to proceed with counselling from the following week or you or your counsellor may wish to think about it first.
Counselling sessions take place on the phone at pre-arranged times, the same day and time every week for 6 weeks. Availability will be discussed with you during your initial call with Sue Bentley, counselling slots are currently on Fridays from 10am until 4pm and Wednesdays at 6pm and 8pm. Each session is for 50 minutes, it is important to be available to take your counsellor's call at the agreed time and to be in a quiet private place where you cannot be overheard or disturbed. If it becomes apparent this is not the case during your session your counsellor will have to end the call. 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. This means that if you miss a session for any reason the space is wasted as you cannot be replaced and a patient planned to take your space will be delayed.
Number of Sessions and Cancelled/Missed Appointments
This is a short–term counselling service, sessions are for 50 minutes, the maximum total number of sessions including your initial assessment is 6. If you miss or cancel an appointment within 24 hours this will count as a session so will be lost to you and to the service. If you notify your counsellor outside 24 hours that you will have to miss a session she may offer to replace it. If in case of an emergency it is not possible to call before your appointment, please leave a message on your counsellor's mobile phone as soon as you can. If you do not attend without giving notice and have not contacted your counsellor within 24 hours she will contact you. If you miss more than 1 appointment within your 6 week plan your counsellor is likely to end your sessions, otherwise you are taking a space needed for another patient. It is expected that any child care arrangements will be in place to allow this time for you. Our missed appointment policy will be restated in the client contract which will be emailed to you by your counsellor before your assessment. If your counsellor has to cancel an appointment she will give you as much notice as possible.
The content of your sessions is treated as confidential. Confidentiality may be breached if at any stage you disclose that you or anyone around you is at risk of harm or self harm or if you disclose 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 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. Your personal information will be protected to comply with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations). A GDPR Statement will be emailed to you before your assessment.
Last Session and Feedback
We hope you will find counselling helpful. Your GP, Sue Bentley and/or the Brunswick Practice Manager Leana Burrage would value your feedback. Before your last session your counsellor will email you the same tick-box questionnaire to complete that you completed before your assessment, to discuss at your last appointment. She will also complete a Final Summary Form with you which will include your attendance record. The latter will be added to your NHS notes, you can request a copy if you wish and your GP will be informed. Finally, after your last session you will be invited to complete a Client Feedback Questionnaire to be returned to Sue Bentley.
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. If you are still unable to resolve the problem, you are invited to report this to the Practice Manager Leana Burrage 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, to make an appointment for an initial brief phone assessment, please call as soon as possible: Sue Bentley, Counselling Service Manager on 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.