What to Expect

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Our Therapies

The four drop-down menus below will hopefully provide you with a better understanding of what to expect from our service.


The first thing is to register (self-refer) with our service. The easiest way to do this is to register online. Once we receive your referral, we can look to get you your first appointment booked.

How our service works...

Once you have registered either online or by phone, your referral will be reviewed by our assessment team made up of fully qualified, trained and experienced clinicians who will review the best and most timely treatment option for you.

It is important that you are aware that we are a Psychological Therapy Service and not a ‘traditional counselling’ service. This means that we offer many evidenced-based and NICErecommended treatment options. 

It is likely then, that in the first instance you may be offered one of our specially developed courses, all clinically tailored to support you in managing your difficulties. You may also be offered one of our online packages (supported by one of our clinicians) which you can do in your own time, pace and convenience of not having to travel to a specified location.

Depending on what treatment option has been offered, we will contact you to book you into a course, online programme or an appointment, and send you the relevant information about the treatment you will receive. 

Very often the treatment options above are enough for people to get their lives back on track and feeling better. In some instances you may receive more specific, intensive forms of therapy, which might include one-to-one work with a therapist. 

Getting the most out of therapy

Due to the nature of our focussed, short-term work with you, it might be that your therapist asks you to do some work in-between sessions. This could include trying out a new technique, reading some information, practicing a breathing exercise or completing a thought/activity diary. In our experience the patients who actively engage in these tasks, often see the best results. To help get the most out of your sessions, we hope you can build a positive relationship with both therapist and Outlook South West. To help make this happen, both sides have responsibilities.

Find out more about  Getting The Best From Our Service.

We sincerely hope you have a positive experience with us but in the event that you do not, we want to know. Our aim would be to put things right and learn from situations and try and improve for the future. We also like to hear about positive experiences, so don’t be afraid to tell us about how your therapy has been helpful as well.

If you are unhappy with any aspect of our services, please follow the  Complaints Procedure on how to take this further. 


At every appointment you will be asked to complete a questionnaire which measures low mood, anxiety and the impact of difficulties in your life. This enables both you and your therapist to monitor progress. 

We also use patient experience questionnaires (PEQ) to help us monitor how you feel about the services you have so far received. We usually ask you to complete these at your first and final appointments. 

What if I'm having thoughts of hurting myself or others?

When struggling, it is not uncommon for people to have difficult thoughts or feel hopeless. However, this is not the same as actually planning or taking steps to hurt yourself. We are not an emergency service so it is very important that you seek help from the right sources if you are having thoughts of hurting yourself. 

If you feel that you are in crisis or need more urgent support, then please contact your GPor NHS Direct 111 Please note that there are other forms of support available:

  • Valued Lives 01209 901438 (7 days a week 5pm-midnight)
  • Samaritans 116 123 (free from mobile or landline)
  • SANE 0845 767 800 (6pm – 11pm)
  • Papyrus - for young adults 0800 068 4141 
  • Campaign against living miserably (CALM) for men – 0800 58 58 58
  • Childline – 0800 111

If you are involved with the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) then please ask to speak with a member of the team you are involved with. The mental health teams include mental health nurses, psychologists and psychiatrists. 

  • Community Mental Health Team 0845 207 7711

Managing your personal information

Outlook South West provides Psychological Therapy as part of a nationwide programme. So that we and the NHS can make sure we are doing the best job possible, we need to collect information about patient treatment. 

For information on why and how we do this, you can visit our page: Privacy Notice Patients

Which problems are we unable to treat within this service?

We are able to offer a service to the large majority of people experiencing mental health distress. Broadly speaking, we can help with people who are going through problems of anxiety, stress and depression. However, some mental health problems fall outside of our NHS commissioned service. These include:

Bereavement Counselling: People who are experiencing grief through the loss of someone close to them. 

Substance dependence: People who are experiencing distress because they are currently addicted to drugs and alcohol

Bipolar Disorder and Psychoses: These are often severe mental health problems requiring help from the secondary care mental health services.

Behaviour posing significant risk to individuals: We provide relatively short-term psychological therapy. We are unable to provide the more intensive support required to monitor and manage serious levels of risk. We will refer you to the appropriate service if we believe your problems fall under this category.

Significant longstanding interpersonal difficulties (often called personality disorders): These problems can often involve a history  of frequent self-harm and stormy or chaotic relationships. These problems often require more specialist and longer-term psychological support and treatment. 

Problems involving ‘strongly held beliefs’: People with these problems know that the beliefs are mostly untrue, but nevertheless, they find it difficult to ‘shake’ them off or challenge them. (These problems can include, eating disorders, OCD and severe enduring depression that involve extreme beliefs). We would be happy to discuss your situation if you are unsure whether your problems fall into this category.