Our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) covers some of the different areas of Talking Therapies you may want to know more about.

If you do have any further questions which aren't covered here, please do contact our team.

Call 0300 365 2000

Email talkingtherapies@berkshire.nhs.uk

What is Talking Therapies?

Talking Therapies is our friendly and approachable NHS service that offers support if you’re coping with challenges like depression, stress, anxiety or phobias. 

Can I access Talking Therapies?

Talking Therapies is available to adults of all ages who are aged 17 and older, registered with a GP in Berkshire. You can refer yourself into our service, or your GP can refer you. We have no upper age limit.

We offer treatment from various locations across Reading, Wokingham, Newbury, Slough, Bracknell, Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead. 

What if I’m registered with a GP outside of the Berkshire area?

If you would like to have treatment with Talking Therapies but you’re registered to a GP outside of Berkshire, you’ll need to ask them to refer you to our service. You’ll also need to be willing to travel to Berkshire for appointments if needed. 

Do I have to pay?

Talking Therapies is a free-to-access NHS service. We don’t charge for consultations, therapy or workshops.

How can I contact Talking Therapies?

If you would like to talk to someone about seeking help you can refer yourself to Talking Therapies.

Refer yourself to Talking Therapies

We’re available for contact 8am to 8pm, Monday to Thursday, and 8am to 5pm on Fridays.

If you need to contact us outside of these times, you can still email our team but they will not respond until the next working day.

Unfortunately, we’re not available at the weekends and bank holidays.

Call 0300 365 2000

Email   talkingtherapies@berkshire.nhs.uk

Find out how to get a GP referral (opens new browser tab)

What if English isn’t my first language?

To make sure Talking Therapies is accessible to everyone in Berkshire, we offer a translation and interpreter service.

When you contact us, please tell us which language you prefer to use

Call 0300 365 2000 

How can I get help for someone else?

If you’re concerned about a friend or a family member, you can find information and support for them on our website

Find out how to support someone here (opens new browser tab)

Can I make a referral for a friend or relative?

Unfortunately all referrals need to be made by the individual concerned or by their GP, due to confidentiality and consent.

However if the person doesn’t want to speak to our therapists directly, but does want to refer to our service, you can call on their behalf as long as they have given their full consent. Once consent is received you can complete their full referral details.  

I need help now

If you’re feeling distressed or anxious, the important thing is to stay calm.

If there’s someone you can talk to – a family member, a friend or a neighbour – ask if you can spend a few moments with them to help you keep calm.

If you or anyone else is in immediate danger or harm, please call 999.

If you urgently need medical help or advice, but it’s not life threatening, please call NHS 111.

If you want to talk to someone about how you feel, what you’re experiencing or how to deal with someone else's behaviour, you can contact the Samaritans.

Call 116 123

Visit the Samaritans website (opens new browser tab)

Email jo@samaritans.org

Contact Samaritans using next Generation Text (NGT) service 

What should I do if I’m concerned about someone’s safety?

If you’re concerned for someone’s safety and it’s an emergency, please call 999.

If you urgently need medical help or advice, but it’s not life threatening, please call NHS 111.

What types of conditions and disorders does Talking Therapies offer support for?

Talking Therapies is an NHS service that offers guidance and support to people aged 17 and over registered with a GP in Berkshire, experiencing a mental health condition or challenge such as:

  • Depression including Post Natal Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • Stress
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Anxiety disorders, including:
    • General anxiety disorder
    • Specific phobias
    • Panic Attacks and Panic Disorders
    • Social Anxiety
    • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    • Health anxiety

We can also guide you if you’re coping with mental health challenges caused by a long-term condition, such as diabetes, lung conditions and coronary heart disease (CHD).

We may recommend another service if we feel that you might benefit from their support. 

What treatments do you offer?

We offer a variety of different treatment options including:

In addition we may also be to offer Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Behavioural Couples Therapy for Depression, depending on availability and your needs.

Our treatments are delivered in a variety of ways, including online, calls, video consultation or face to face in individual or group sessions.

The treatments we provide will depend on your needs. Once you’ve had your Wellbeing Assessment, we’ll talk you through the different options we think would help you the most.

Find more information about the treatments we offer (opens new browser tab)

What should I expect from my first appointment?

Your first appointment will be a Wellbeing Assessment and will involve a chat with one of our practitioners, either by call or video conversation.

This will take about 40 minutes. They’ll listen to the challenges you’re going through, and talk to you about the type of support we can provide.

During your appointment you will be asked to complete a questionnaire depending on what it is you are experiencing, it might be helpful to familiarise yourself with it first.

Read a copy of the Are you depressed (PHQ9) and Are you anxious (GAD7) questions (pdf)

What is the wait time for treatment?

The wait time for treatment can vary depending on a variety of factors such as your locality and treatment needed. Once you have referred into the service and we have determined your treatment we will be able to give you an approximate waiting time. 

How long are treatment sessions?

The length of treatment sessions will vary depending on the treatment you’re offered. One-to-one appointments could last from 30 to 50 minutes, whereas group sessions are 90 minutes. 

What questions will I be asked?

Your Wellbeing Assessment will generally take about 40 minutes. We’ll ask you to complete two questionnaires, which will help us understand the difficulties you’re having, and how we may be able to best support you.

Read a copy of the Are you depressed (PHQ9) and Are you anxious (GAD7) questions (pdf)

We’ll also ask you to complete these questionnaires before each appointment, to help us and you keep track of your progress.

In both questionnaires, you will need to answer each question with “not at all,” “several days,” “more than half the days,” and “nearly every day”.

Depending on your responses, a final score will be given. This score will help our team to decide what support you may need.

If you have a long-term physical health condition we may ask you to complete an additional questionnaire.   

Can I have an evening appointment?

Your first Wellbeing Assessment appointment will be a daytime appointment. Our appointment times are usually between 8am-6pm, but evening appointments are available via phone, video consultation and online.

During your appointment with your allocated therapist you can discuss future treatment times. 

What if I need to cancel my appointment?

If you need to cancel an appointment please contact us with at least two working days’ notice. This means that we can offer your appointment to someone else and reduce our waiting list.

Due to the high demand for our services, we ask that all patients respect our strict cancellations policy to make sure appointment slots are available for those in need. 

What happens if I don’t attend an appointment?

If you book an appointment and don’t attend without giving us at least two working days’ notice, you could be discharged back to the care of your GP.  

Can I come along to therapy with my friend or relative?

This will have to be decided on a case by case basis with your therapist, and the type of therapy support you're receiving. 

Do I need to sign a confidentiality contract?

Yes, when you're referred to Talking Therapies we will ask you to sign a confidentiality contract. This states how you, and we, will abide by confidentiality guidelines. 

Read the Talking Therapies Client Confidentiality Contract (pdf)

Does my GP have to know about my care?

Yes, your GP will be made aware that you have referred to our service, so that they can support you between appointments and during waiting lists.

We’ll write to your GP about the care that you receive with us, and can send you copies of any letters we send out about you. 

Who else will know about my care?

We observe strict NHS standards of confidentiality. The information you share with us will not be shared with others without your permission, except under circumstances where there is a serious cause for concern about your safety, or the safety of others.

We may also be legally required to share information about your treatment if a British court requests this, as part of an investigation for example. Anyone who receives information about you or your care is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential.

We will not share information about your treatment with your friends, family, carers or employers unless you give your permission for us to do so. 

What happens to my personal information when I’m referred into Talking Therapies?

When you use our services - whether this is with Berkshire Healthcare, our CYPF services or Talking Therapies - we’ll ask for and record your personal and health information to help us treat you now and in the future. We may share your information with our other hospital services so that we can provide the right care to help you. Only information that is required to support your care and treatment will be provided.

We never make sensitive patient information available to the public.

Find out more about how we use your information (opens new browser tab)

Protecting your data

You can find out more about how we use your information, from the Berkshire Healthcare NHS website 

Read more about how we use your information (opens new browser tab)

What information will Talking Therapies be collecting?

Talking Therapies collects information about you and the care you receive, including the assessments, results of tests and your answers to questionnaires. This enables your progress to be monitored and future care planned. This information may be shared with other health professionals involved in your care, so that you get the best possible care.

If we need to contact another agency, we’ll always ask for your permission first. We’ll only share your information without permission if we think there are child protection issues or that you or someone else may at risk of harm.

If you would like to see the information collected about you or find out more about how the information is stored and used locally please speak with the people who are treating you.

When you come into the service you will be given more information and asked to fill in a client confidentiality contract.

Read the Talking Therapies Client Confidentiality Contract (opens new browser tab)

How do Talking Therapies use my information?

The information we collect about our service users helps us to monitor and plan our services to make sure we’re providing the right care in the right places. When we use information in this way, it’s always anonymous. We might also use your information to help us with clinical audits, research projects and staff training and education.

Again, we will always do this anonymously. 

How do Talking Therapies keep my information safe?

Talking Therapies stores all information safely and securely and sends national reporting information safely to a secure central data storage area. All data collected is subject to the strict rules of confidentiality under the General Data Protection Regulation, Data Protection Act 1998 and once, established as law, the UK Data Bill 2018. 

Accessing my health records

You have the right to see your Health records by requesting a permanent copy, also known as a subject access request. You can also speak to your therapist about this or call our admin team.

Read more on the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) website (opens new browser tab)

What information is collected nationally?

Some of this information collected is reported nationally to NHS Digital to give a picture of service delivered across the country, to check that quality standards are similar everywhere. No information that could reveal a patient’s identity is used in national reports. 

These reports only show summary numbers of, for instance, patients receiving different types of treatments and it is impossible to identify any person seen by any IAPT service from them. 

How your data is used for NHS research and planning

Some of the information we collect from you is reported nationally to NHS Digital to give a picture of service delivered across the country, to check that quality standards are similar everywhere. 

No information that could reveal a patient’s identity is used in national reports.

These reports only show summary numbers of, for instance, patients receiving different types of treatments and it is impossible to identify patients from these. 

National reports offer the most benefit when they use information from as many patients as possible, because this creates the most accurate picture of services. You can choose whether your confidential patient information is used for research and planning.

Visit NHS Data Matters to find out more (opens new browser tab)

Read our Use of Patient Information Leaflet (pdf)