Outlook Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when I get referred?

When you are referred to Outlook, we will send you a letter asking you to confirm that you would like to be seen. We will then add you to our waiting list and will contact you as soon as an appointment is available. It is completely up to you whether you choose to come and see us.

What can I expect at my first appointment?

Please attend 15 minutes before your first appointment to complete some questionnaires. 

At your first appointment, you will meet a member of our clinical psychology team. They are experienced in helping people to feel more able and confident to cope with the emotional impact of health issues.

During this first session you will have the opportunity to talk about your concerns. We will also explain in more detail how we might be able to support you with these.

At the end of the first session your psychologist will discuss a plan of care, which may include further sessions with Outlook or signposting you to other services where appropriate.

If you would like anyone to join you during your sessions, for example a family member or a friend, you are welcome to invite them, as long as they are over 16 years of age.

Sometimes, we will ask your permission if another colleague can join your session, it’s fine to say no.

What will the sessions involve?

As well as having a safe and supportive space to talk, we will often explore:

  • Ways to handle difficult thoughts, feelings, or sensations (e.g. fatigue) so they have less impact on you
  • Clarifying what matters to you (your personal values)
  • Taking steps towards your goals.

We may also agree on some activities for you to do between sessions. Learning new skills takes time and practice but these activities will help you to get the most from your sessions.

How many appointments will I have?

We usually provide short-term, focused psychological support. We will work with you to decide what goals you want to achieve. This will help us decide together if we are the right service to support you and if so how many sessions would be useful. Follow-up appointments are 45 minutes long.

We are not able to offer long-term, regular sessions at Outlook. However, if that seems a useful or appropriate option for you, we can try to help you find other services that offer longer-term counselling.

What happens to the information we discuss?

We take confidentiality seriously. Most of what we talk about with you will remain private. However, it can be helpful for us to share important information with staff closely involved in your care, e.g. in summary letters after the first and last appointments. If there is anything you don’t want shared please discuss this with your psychologist. 

If we are very concerned there is a risk of harm to you or others we may need to pass this information to relevant services.

We keep a brief record of our session together in your medical notes and fuller notes are kept privately within the psychology/Outlook team.

If you have any concerns about confidentiality, please talk to us.

Where are you based?

We run clinics in a number of venues at Southmead Hospital, Bristol. Details of these will be sent to you with your initial appointment.