Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a clinical psychologist?

Clinical psychologists are trained to assess and treat individuals across the lifespan (this means of all ages) using a variety of evidence-based treatments and therapies. Training to become a clinical psychologist involves a three-year undergraduate degree, several years of relevant work experience and a three-year postgraduate doctorate in clinical psychology. The doctorate in clinical psychology involves a combination of clinical placements, academic study, and a research thesis. After completing the doctorate, clinical psychologists are required to continually update their knowledge and skills through continuing professional development.

The British Psychological Society provides further detail about the role of a clinical psychologist and how their role compares to other professions in this guide hereĀ 

Why should I see an independent clinical psychologist?

Clinical psychologists are highly skilled clinicians who are trained in a variety of therapy models and can draw on their research skills to ensure they provide interventions that are based on the most up to date research and evidence. This allows them to tailor treatment to the individual and to work with highly complex difficulties and problems. Clinical psychologists can work with individuals of all ages and at any level of ability.

My area of expertise is eating disorder treatment, in particular family-based treatment. I can offer treatment to families worldwide via Skype/Zoom in the convenience of your own home.

What happens during the assessment?

During an initial FBT appointment I will want to get a sense of how the eating affects the young person, in terms of their physical and emotional health and their social and academic functioning, as well as the impact it has on the other family members. I am also interested in how the eating disorder developed and what may be keeping it going. I also assess for other co-morbid conditions. Ideally I would like to hear from everyone in the family, but it is possible to meet with just the parents. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

What might happen after an assessment?

Following the assessment you will receive an assessment report within two weeks, which summarises the meeting, outlines the identified problem(s) and a suggests a treatment plan (or if applicable a range of treatment options). You are welcome to discuss the treatment plan in more detail following receipt of the report. You may also share the report with other treatment providers. Ongoing appointments are usually offered on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

What is family-based treatment?

For a more in-depth description and further links and resources please click here.

How long will I be coming for treatment?

Eating disorder treatment usually involves around 20 sessions over the course of 6-12 months but this can vary from individual to individual. Entrenched or more complex problems may require longer or more intensive treatment.

Are your services confidential?

Yes. Clinical psychologists are bound by a strict code of conduct, which means that all services remain confidential (this also applies to children and young people under 18 if they are seen individually). There are some exceptions to this, i.e. if I believe that you or someone else are at risk of harm, there is concern about a child's welfare or you disclose serious criminal activity, in which case I am obliged to advise the relevant authorities. If I have to disclose any concerns I will always try to discuss this with you first.

In accordance with professional guidelines I receive regular clinical supervision with a qualified colleague to ensure that treatment is provided to the highest standards. All clinical discussions are anonymised.

I am registered with the information commissioner.

Will my private health insurance pay for my treatment?

It will be your responsibility to confirm the terms of your policy, to check your level of cover and whether you need a supporting letter from your GP. You will also be liable for any excess fees and missed sessions as per my cancellation policy, as these are usually not covered by insurance. I am happy to invoice your insurance directly.

Do you offer a crisis/emergency service?

No. In the event of a crisis, please contact your general practitioner or your local first point of contact. Alternatively, if in the UK please contact NHS 111 for advice or attend your local Accident and Emergency Department. Organisations such as the Samaritans (Tel: 08457 909090; can provide telephone support 24/7.

Why is your practice called Willow Tree Psychology?

The willow tree has a long history of symbolism rooted in spirituality and cultural traditions. One of the most valuable traits of the willow tree is its flexibility. The willow tree is capable of bending in outrageous poses without snapping and this can be a powerful metaphor for those of us on a journey towards recovery. It is about adjusting to life rather than fighting it, which fits with many of the therapeutic models that I use in my clinical work. Willow trees are also highly adaptable and survive and thrive in some of the most challenging conditions. The symbolic representation of a willow tree represents stability but also flexibility leading to a sense of balance and potential for growth and healing.