Need a recommendation for a good psychologist in North Wales
January 22, 2014 2:46 AM   Subscribe

An adult friend is dealing with depression and I need a recommendation for a good psychologist in North Wales, preferably in or near Bangor / Llandudno area.

My friend is inexperienced with depression and quite lost as is the nature of the illness. They are scared, and having dealt with bad professionals myself in the past, I would really like to spare my friend that bit of it. Thanks.
posted by CautionToTheWind to Health & Fitness (2 answers total)
If your friend has no private health insurance then I would suggest they get themselves to their nearest GP first. Ask to see the GP who is named as the Mental Health GP. Every practice here has to have one GP named as the go to doc for MH. If they don't, they are breaking the law on their GP contract.

It's likely that the GP will complete a NICE tick box depression score sheet and follow up with the offer of referral (or self referral) to 6 sessions of group CBT (cheaply delivered and pretty useless for many who do it under the IAPT scheme but it's free) Group CBT as delivered under IAPT has an 84% drop out rate and it's effectiveness is only assessed against the waiting list.

Currently in the UK, CBT is being used as a cure all for ALL types of MH issue. The group sessions can be filled with people in varying degrees of mental distress. This may not appeal to many individuals. It is being used to treat severe and enduring MH issues when it shouldn't be.

The GP might suggest a referral for assessment by the local Community Mental Health Care Team, which could result in your friend being passed from pillar to post between a hoarde of junior psych staff, then bounced back straight to Primary Care and the GP.

The GP may also offer antidepressant drugs.

The GP will have a list of private providers to approach. Many counsellors/psychologists will provide GPs with their practice details/specialities etc. Some will operate a sliding scale for those on lower incomes. Many will not.

One other aspect, which you have come across - the bad professionals who cause harm (I've had experience of these) and this has to be avoided. Many offering psychotherapy privately won't be qualified, insured, supervised or indeed competent.

Some GPs are referring individuals to charities who offer free or low cost counselling for a set number of sessions. The charities can offer this at low cost or free because the counsellors are generally trainees and working towards qualifications.

In the UK, psychotherapy and counselling is totally unregulated.

Generally, I think it's safer to stick with the GP first and push hard for a proper referral (special funding via the Clinical Commisioning Group) to a Clinical Psychologist working within the NHS. The NHS does have many faults but at least it has some rules laid down regarding standards of practice.

Your friend may not want to see a Clinical Psychologist.

Your friend could alternatively use the BCAP website to find a counsellor that is a member of the organisation. The GP will be able to provide a list of psychologists/counsellors who work in the private sector.

MIND is a UK charity that can also point your friend towards getting some help.

I wish your friend all the best. In the UK right now, getting effective help from actual, accountable professionals who still have some integrity is very hard.
posted by Arqa at 6:37 AM on January 23, 2014

That was very informative, thank you!
posted by CautionToTheWind at 4:25 AM on January 26, 2014

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