What is a Physical Health Psychology Service?

We work with people who have different types of health concerns, such as:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • and many others

The aim of our work is to help people adjust to the difficulties posed by their physical health problems. This is done in a number of ways, including helping people learn new skills to be able to adapt to their health, learning strategies to cope with changes in their health and to be able to deal with emotional distress caused by their health.

For example, we help people learn how to cope with being in pain, or help people learn ways of managing anger, anxiety and depression which may be resulting from their physical health problems.

People can begin to feel back in control of their lives by learning strategies which enable them to cope with their difficulties. Psychologists can help you to achieve this as they have a depth of knowledge regarding thoughts, emotions, behaviour and skills to help people cope and / or improve their management of physical health or illness.

Healthcare professionals wishing to refer into the Physical Health Psychology Service should email physicalhealthpsychologyservice@mpft.nhs.uk to obtain a referral form.

You will be added to the waiting list once we have received your referral and will be contacted as soon as an appointment becomes available. If, in the meantime you require urgent mental health support you can contact Freephone 24/7 Urgent NHS Mental Health Helpline for telephone support, advice and triage on 0808 196 3002 or you can email them on mhsi.staffordshire@mpft.nhs.uk

Before your appointment

Although many people see psychologists with regard to specific problems, you may feel unsure or confused about the reason for your appointment, that’s fine. You do not have to come prepared with everything neatly sorted; part of the usefulness of psychology is to help people sort things out.

If you decide not to attend

Please let us know as soon as possible if you cannot attend or do not need the appointment. We do not over-book our clinics, therefore, it is very important that you let us know so that we can offer your appointment to someone else.

Please see our leaflet on missed appointments for further information on not attending or cancelling appointments.

Your appointment

You will usually be seen in an outpatient clinic, day unit, or while you are a patient in hospital. You will usually be seen alone, but you can involve other people such as your partner / family if you want to. The appointment lasts approximately one hour.

During the appointment feel free to ask as many questions as you like. We want you to feel fully informed and relaxed.

At the end of the assessment (which may take one or two sessions), you and the psychologist will agree together whether to have more sessions and if psychology can be of use to you. You will be given a therapy plan summarising what you have agreed.


The discussion in the session is confidential, with the exception of a few, very specific circumstances. Psychologists are only allowed to disclose confidential information if it is believed to be in your best interest in order to protect you from potential harm or if it is to protect other people from potential harm. The psychologist will discuss this with you if they felt they needed to disclose confidential information to another professional.

Distress, Risk and Safety

Because psychology input can involve discussing difficult experiences and feelings, some people can find that they may feel more upset when attending sessions. If you or the psychologist feels that you may need extra support or help in between your appointments then they will discuss with you how to access help. You can call the department or your GP or you will be given details of other services including those that are available 24 hours per day.

Follow up

If you see a psychologist several times, your contact will involve primarily talking about your problem and gaining an understanding of what is / has been happening. Although the psychologist may suggest some approaches, the aim is for you to understand and find the way that suits you best. There is no set number of sessions, however, input cannot go on indefinitely and will be reviewed between you and the psychologist on a regular basis.

Sometimes the psychologist will suggest that other professionals become involved as well; again, this will only be done if you agree on it together.


Usually, the contact will end when agreed by you and the psychologist. Seeing a psychologist is totally voluntary; you can end the contact whenever you like, but it would be helpful to discuss this with your psychologist first, or notify him / her. At the end of your contact the psychologist will again write to your referrer to inform him / her that the sessions have ceased.

How can I access my personal healthcare records?

You will be involved in the process of your treatment programme and access to your records will be available in line with current legislation, ask your psychologist for more details. You will be asked if you would like a copy of the letters sent to your GP and / or referrer.

What if I have a problem concerning my current treatment?

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) offers confidential advice and support, together with information on different NHS services. They will listen to your concerns and try to sort out any problems on your behalf to reach a speedy and satisfactory conclusion.

Physical Health Psychology Contact Details


Cannock Chase Hospital, Level 2, Therapy Services,
Brunswick Road,
WS11 5XY