The Regional Department of Psychotherapy, Centre for Specialist Psychological Therapies – Patient information leaflet

Information on psychoanalytic therapies on offer which include psychoanalytic, psychodynamic and group psychotherapy. Each therapy will differ slightly in the setting and technique but are talking-therapy treatments, helpful for a wide range of people with emotional and relationship difficulties.

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  • Introduction

    This leaflet explains what psychotherapy involves and what happens once you have been referred to the Regional Department of Psychotherapy. If after reading this leaflet you have further questions about the process we encourage you to discuss this with your assessing therapist.

    The Regional Department of Psychotherapy offers psychoanalytic therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT).

  • What is psychoanalytic therapy?

    Psychoanalytic therapies on offer include psychoanalytic psychotherapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy and group psychotherapy. Each therapy will differ slightly in the setting and technique but are talking-therapy treatments, helpful for a wide range of people with emotional and relationship difficulties. These are intense treatments involving high levels of commitment for both patient and therapist. They are more exploratory and less structured than other talking therapies and can stir up painful and potentially difficult feelings.

    Psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapies draw on theories and practices of psychoanalysis. They aim to help patients understand and resolve their problems by increasing awareness of their inner world (including their unconscious thoughts and feelings) and its influence over relationships in the past and present.

  • What is Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)?

    Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is a brief and effective psychotherapy for the treatment of depression. Usually, it involves 16 meetings of about an hour each with a therapist. IPT helps people to understand their depression and find ways of managing it differently. It considers the link between depression and relationships with other people, and a key focus throughout the sessions is on improving and extending support networks.

    IPT can also be used as a treatment for people with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • What happens once you have been referred?

    Any health care professional can refer to the Regional Department of Psychotherapy.

    Once your referral has been accepted to the Regional Department of Psychotherapy you will be sent an opt-in letter asking if you would like to arrange an appointment. Once you confirm you would like an appointment, we will give you an initial call you will be asked a number of questions to confirm the details we have about you are correct (for example your GP) and to make some practical arrangements. Following this you will be sent an appointment together with questionnaires for you to complete and bring with you to your assessment appointment. If we do not hear from you within two weeks, we will assume you no longer wish to be seen.

  • Assessment appointments

    We will meet with you for an assessment to think with you if one of the therapies we offer will be most helpful for you at this time.

    We will usually meet with you over one to three appointments for your assessment.

    As part of your assessment you will be asked to complete some brief questionnaires and consent forms. You will meet with the same psychotherapist for all of your assessment sessions.

    During the Covid pandemic some assessment appointments have been offered via video-consultation. In the future it is likely we will continue to offer this as an option for assessment for a small proportion of clients if this is felt to be appropriate.

  • What is the assessment like?

    Psychotherapy assessments can sometimes feel different from other NHS assessments. The psychotherapist will often be quieter, and focus on exploring your current and childhood experiences and how you feel. We would encourage you to say the thoughts and feelings that come to your mind, and to be as open as possible. The therapist will be interested to explore how you experience the assessment and the psychotherapist.

    Following the assessment your therapist will discuss your assessment with the multidisciplinary team who will then advise the most appropriate way forward. Your assessing psychotherapist will then meet with you to provide feedback on this process. Sometimes we will consult with colleagues in the Centre for Specialist Psychological Therapies to consider whether a different approach would be suitable. Our priority is to consider what form of treatment is in your best interests at this particular time.

    On completion of your assessment, a letter will be sent to your referrer and other clinicians involved in your care. You will be asked if you would like to receive a copy of this letter.

    The Regional Department of Psychotherapy is a small, busy outpatient service that runs Monday to Friday. If in-between your assessment appointments you feel more unwell or unstable we ask you to contact the person who usually oversees your care (care co-ordinator, community team or General Practitioner). We also ask you to contact the Initial Response Team (Crisis Team) if you feel in crisis (see the “If you need help now” section at the end of this leaflet).

  • Treatment

    At the Regional Department of Psychotherapy we offer psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapy approaches either as an individual therapy (one to one) or as a group therapy (group analytic psychotherapy). Occasionally, the treatment might be of short duration (less than six months) but generally speaking individual psychoanalytic psychotherapy is offered weekly for 12 to 18 months, and group therapy is offered weekly for 12 to 24 months. IPT is usually briefer and offered over 16 sessions.

    If group therapy has been suggested you are likely to be initially offered a place in our 8-week preparation for therapy group, which gives you the opportunity to have an experience of this kind of therapy prior to committing to a longer-term group.

    Psychotherapy sessions are mostly at the same time each week and in the same room. Most therapy is once weekly, however, your therapist may suggest a different frequency if appropriate. Most commonly, sessions last 50 minutes for individual treatment and 90 minutes for group treatment. Almost half of our patients receive group treatment. We find group treatment can be a very powerful and helpful form of treatment for individuals with a wide range of difficulties, and especially for people with repeating difficulties in their relationships.

    If following assessment, we feel psychotherapy is the treatment of choice for you there can sometimes be a wait of 3-12 months before a treatment vacancy becomes available. We will offer a review appointment on approximately a six-monthly basis while you are waiting to start therapy. Your therapy may be provided by a different therapist to the person you saw for assessment.

  • Once I have been referred how soon will I be seen?

    We will see you within 18 weeks of receipt of the referral. Occasionally there is a delay whilst we seek more information from your referrer.

  • Your responsibilities

    If you need to cancel an appointment please let us know as soon as possible, so that the appointment can be offered to another person. If you miss one appointment and ask for a rescheduling this will be accommodated. However if you miss two consecutive appointments during the assessment this will usually lead to discharge from the service, unless there is a clear clinical reason for your non-attendance.

    It is important during the assessment that you try to actively and openly discuss your thoughts and feelings.

  • Teaching and training

    The Regional Department of Psychotherapy is a teaching department. We occasionally ask people if they would consent to having their assessment viewed by other health professionals for the purposes of training and development. If this is the case you will be asked in advance to the appointment day. If you do not wish your appointment to be viewed, this is fine, and it will in no way affect your treatment. In addition, some of our treatments are offered by supervised health professionals who are training in psychotherapy. You will be informed if this is the case for your treatment.

  • How we evaluate our service

    We welcome feedback about our service, and routinely monitor the outcome of treatment to find out how helpful the services we offer are. To do this, we may ask you to complete questionnaires for us at various times. All information you give us will be treated confidentially, and you can choose not to fill in the questionnaires.

  • On attending your appointment

    We have two bases, one in Benfield House, Newcastle upon Tyne, and one in Sycamore, Hopewood Park, Sunderland. Please check the letter and enclosed map to make sure which base you need to come to. We try to offer the base closest to your home, but if you are offered one base and would find another easier, please let us know and we will try the best to offer you a more convenient appointment.

    If you are travelling by car please be aware that parking may be limited and to allow plenty of time to try and obtain a parking space. Parking is charged at £1 for one hour and £1.50 for two hours.

    On arrival please introduce yourself to the staff in reception. Our staff will be able and pleased to help you with practical queries you may have. We are pleased to accommodate disabled access and other special requirements, and it is helpful if you could let us know prior to your appointment so we can ensure things are in place for you.

    If you are attending an appointment at Benfield House (our Newcastle base) and would like a drink or some food before or after your appointment, then there is Café Tanni in Walkergate Park Hospital. At Hopewood Park in Sunderland, there is Café Hope in the Barton Centre.

  • Confidentiality

    As part of our assessment process, and to help us plan your care, whilst in treatment, we need to gather information. It is sometimes also necessary to share information about you with other people involved in your care and appropriate colleagues within this team. At the point of assessment and again if you begin treatment with this service, you will be asked to consent to this, as under normal circumstances this will not be done without your consent. The purpose of this is to ensure that we are able to make the most beneficial decisions about your care. Any information gathered will be kept in your Health Record (written or computerised). We have a duty to keep information about you private and confidential. As such, your Health Record will be required to be stored safely and securely. Also, we will only seek or share information that will be relevant to your assessment and helpful in planning your care. Where we seek or share information, those colleagues will be bound by the same rules of confidentiality.

    There are certain circumstances, however, when it does become necessary to share information without your consent, in accordance with Trust policy, legal obligations and the Data Protection Act (1998). Examples of these circumstances are when it is thought necessary to protect a child, a young person or others from harm. In these circumstances, the information shared will be kept to the minimum necessary and will be handled under the terms of the NHS Confidentiality Code of Practice.

  • Our contact and address details

    If you have a query about your appointment please feel free to contact us, we have two bases and it is helpful if you can contact the base where you have been offered your appointment if you have any questions.

    Newcastle base
    Specialist Centre for Psychological Therapies
    Regional Department of Psychotherapy
    Benfield House, Walkergate Park, Benfield Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 4PF

    Telephone: 0191 287 6100 (Mon-Thurs, 9am-5pm, Fri 9am-5pm), or you can leave a message on our answering machine outside of these hours.

    Sunderland Base
    Psychotherapy Service
    Sycamore, Hopewood Park, Waterworks Road, Ryhope, Sunderland, SR2 0NB

    Telephone: 0191 566 7185 (Mon-Thurs, 9am-5pm, Fri 9am-5pm), or you can leave a message on our answering machine outside of these hours.
    Email: [email protected]

  • Travel information

    Contact Nexus Traveline: Tel: 0871 200 22 33

  • If you need help now

    • If you need urgent help with your mental health, you can get in touch with the Trust’s Crisis team or Initial Response services
    – Gateshead and Newcastle
    Tel: 0191 814 8899 or Freephone 0800 652 2863
    For Deaf service users please text 07919 228 548 and a member of the team will respond as soon as possible.
    – South Tyneside and Sunderland
    Tel: 0303 123 1145 or freephone 0800 652 2867
    For Deaf service users please text 07889 036 280 and a member of the team will respond as soon as possible.
    – North Tyneside and Northumberland
    Tel: 0303 123 1146 or freephone 0800 652 2861
    For Deaf service users please text 07887 625 277 and a member of the team will respond as soon as possible.
    – Cumbria
    Tel: 0300 123 9015 or freephone 0800 652 2865
    For Deaf service users please text 07795 656 226 and a member of the team will respond as soon as possible.

    • Accident and Emergency at your local hospital
    • NHS 111 – open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
    • The Samaritans – 116 123 (24 hours)
    • MIND infoline – 0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm, Monday to Friday)
    • SANEline – 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm-10.30pm, every day)
    • Rethink Mental illness Advice Line – 0300 5000 927 (9.30am-4pm, Monday to Friday)

  • Other helpful contact details

    The Patient Advice and Liaison Service can be contacted on freephone 0800 032 02 02, or email
    [email protected] for advice and support.

  • What if I have a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint about the service?

    If you want to make a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint you can:
    • talk to the people directly involved in your care
    • ask a member of staff for a feedback form, or complete a form on the Trust website (click on the ‘Contact Us’ tab)
    • telephone the Complaints Department 0191 245 6672
    • email [email protected] Please note that information sent to the Trust via email is sent at your own risk
    • We are always looking at ways to improve services. Your feedback allows us to monitor the quality of our services and act upon issues that you bring to our attention.
    You can provide feedback in the following ways:
    – the quickest way for you to do this is to complete our short online survey at
    – complete a Points of You survey, available from staff.

  • Information about content, other formats and version control

    Further information about the content, reference sources or production of this leaflet can be obtained from the Patient Information Centre. If you would like to tell us what you think about this leaflet please get in touch.

    This information can be made available in a range of formats on request (eg Braille, audio, larger print, easy read, BSL or other languages). Please contact the Patient Information Centre Tel: 0191 246 7288

    Published by the Patient Information Centre
    2021 Copyright, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
    Ref, PIC/363/1021 October 2021 V9 Tel: 0191 246 7288
    Review date 2024