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Information on what to expect when seeing a psychologist in the urology service

Patient information A-Z

Who is this information for?

This information is for patients attending the urology outpatient clinic at Addenbrooke’s hospital who have been referred to a psychologist in the team. It may also be helpful to share this information with family and / or carers.

About the psychology service

The purpose of the urology psychology service is to offer psychological support to individuals with certain non-cancerous, urological conditions.

The psychologists work alongside your other healthcare professionals, who may include consultants, specialist nurses and physiotherapists to provide holistic care.

Who are clinical psychologists?

Clinical psychologists are trained and professionally qualified to help people with a range of concerns that may be affecting their emotional or psychological well-being using talking therapies. However, they are not qualified to prescribe medication; if relevant to you, this should be discussed with your doctor.

You may also meet with an assistant clinical psychologist. They are graduate healthcare professionals who are supervised by and work alongside qualified clinical psychologists to help support you.

Psychologists understand that there are inseparable links between physical health and emotional health and how important a holistic approach is to our general well-being and quality of life.

Who would see a psychologist?

People with urological conditions may have chronic symptoms which may not be resolved by medical treatments alone.

Individuals with these conditions may experience distressing physical symptoms which can include pain, urinary frequency / urgency / retention and sexual problems.

These symptoms can affect your emotional well-being and quality of life to varying degrees, as well as impacting your relationships with loved ones. These symptoms may also affect your social life, exercise, and sleep which can cause a great deal of distress.

Psychologists are trained to provide interventions which can help reduce the severity of some physical symptoms and work with you to find ways to reduce the impact they have on your quality of life.

At your outpatient appointment with the consultant, you may be offered an appointment with a psychologist to find out more about the different options for psychological support available to you. It is your choice whether to have an appointment.

Please be reassured: whether you choose to see a psychologist or not will have no impact on the medical treatment or care that you receive.

What could a psychologist help with?

Every individual will have different reasons for seeing a psychologist, listed below are just a few examples:

  • Support with managing difficult physical symptoms, such as pain, incontinence or sexual problems
  • Feelings of anxiety, low mood, distress and depression

Psychologists will work closely alongside other professionals who can help support you to develop strategies and provide resources for managing the challenges you are living with.

What happens when you meet a psychologist?

Most people will meet a psychologist as an outpatient. As it is not always possible to see you at the same time as you are seeing the consultant, you may be offered an appointment on a different day. This can be in person in an outpatient clinic room, by telephone or video call depending on your circumstances and preferences.

The length of the meeting will often vary depending on your needs and wishes but would not normally be more than one hour. Some people will want to meet with a psychologist on their own, but it can also be helpful to attend with family members or friends.

At the end of your first appointment, you will come away with a plan that may include arranging further appointments, providing advice and self-help information or signposting you to other relevant services who can help support you.

How can a psychologist help?

The psychologist will provide a safe and non-judgemental space for you to talk through your experiences; how they have made you feel, what you think about them and what you are already doing to cope.

What a psychologist can do to help you will depend on your individual circumstances, but it may involve learning techniques or strategies such as relaxation, mindfulness exercises or guided imagery. It may involve exploring the way you think about things, how you relate to other people or how you respond to difficulties and whether making small changes to these could be helpful. Psychological input may improve your urological symptoms or help you to cope with living with these symptoms.

What will happen to the information shared with a psychologist?

Psychologists follow the same rules of confidentiality as all hospital staff. They are part of the clinical team and will routinely communicate with doctors and other health professionals involved in an individual’s care, including your consultant(s) and GP.

Psychologists will always record details of their meetings on a patient’s electronic notes.

There are occasions when information has to be shared more widely with relevant professionals, such as when a person is believed to be at risk of harming themselves or another person. If you have any concerns about the sharing of sensitive information, please do discuss this with the professional involved in your care.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151