Any advice for phone assessment Friday to see what help I need??

SunsetDawn83

Learning
Hello everyone, I'm due for a phone call assessment on Friday with my local therapy service to see what help I need. Is there any pieces of advice you can give me??
 

SunsetDawn83

Learning
Had a really bad experience with them. Applied about 4 times and they would never take me so probably shouldn't comment.
@Survivor3 I'm sorry to hear that. Hope you got the support you wanted/needed. This will be the 2nd tome


Hey.

Hope it goes well! Sometimes I've found it helpful to kinda write down what has made me want therapy in the first place cos it's easy to kinda go blank or off on a tangent at the time.

I know people like S3 have had bad experiences but I've been rocking around the NHS mental health services for a while n my biggest complaint is waiting lists tbh. So don't let that put you off ☺️
Thank you. I might just do that. Thing I'm just anxious about what shell ask me.
 
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Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
Hey.

Hope it goes well! Sometimes I've found it helpful to kinda write down what has made me want therapy in the first place cos it's easy to kinda go blank or off on a tangent at the time.

I know people like S3 have had bad experiences but I've been rocking around the NHS mental health services for a while n my biggest complaint is waiting lists tbh. So don't let that put you off ☺️
 

Friday

Moderator
Keep in mind the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t know if you’re high functioning autism, struggling with addiction, living in abuse, haven't eaten in a week, etc. Even if they have the PTSD diagnosis right in front of them. Which they may very well not.

The question “How can I/we help?” is one of those things that usually makes my brain just stop. Until I consider it from their perspective. Oh. Okay. Here’s me.

***

My name is …ISHMAEL! (sorry, couldn’t help it 😉) I have a good job, a place to live, good people in my life, and passions I’m pursuing. What I’m really struggling with my PTSD are violent outbursts that are completely unacceptable but I can’t get under control on my own, nightmares, panic attacks, and if I didn’t have a whole durn crew of people around? I wouldn’t be able to do basic things like feed myself, or wash my clothes, because I’m so exhausted and overwhelmed and volatile. I really need someone who can help me work through my trauma issues so I can treat people better, and care for myself, and be a valued member of society, instead of this angry out of control mess people have to suffer through, and I don’t even recognize anymore. The trauma, flashbacks, nightmares, loss of sleep, volatility… have me close to losing everything. Bottom line? I need help dealing with my trauma and the effects it’s having on my life, and the lives of those around me. I’m out of control.

My name is Tigger. I have PTSD & ADHD. I have the BEST friends and family, and overall am really enthusiastic about life. But I sleep rough in the woods, unless I’m staying with a friend, don’t have a job, and seem to always be flitting from one mad thing to the next. I really HOPE to find someone who understands both trauma & ADHD, as I’ve seen experts in both, but without the understanding of the other, we keep working at cross purposes. The more important thing, though, is the trauma. I’ve had ADHD my whole life, but PTSD is new. Trauma programs that are outdoorsy & action based, even if for short runs, like a few weeks? Will be more effective for me than sitting still in a room once a week for a year. Since I don’t have a home, right now, I can go anywhere, if those programs aren’t local. I very much want to get to a place where I have my own home, and pay my own bills, with my own income, from my own job. But until I deal with my trauma I don’t know if those things will ever be possible.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
The initial call, they are quite scripted. They ask a lot of standard questions to ascertain where you are in terms of anxiety and depression scales. I can’t remember what these are called but if you search for ‘nhs depression questionnaire’ or something, you will likely find them. I think they’re multiple choice questions - you basically answer how often or how much the statements apply to you (or something like that. Sorry, can’t quite remember!)

They will probably also ask about whether you have any thoughts about harming yourself or ending your life.

And they’ll ask what’s brought you to the service. So, that’s your time to tell them whatever you want to tell them about your experience/how you’re feeling etc. So, that’s the more free flowing part of the chat as a lot of the rest is just them going down their list of questions they have to ask everyone!

And then, at the end, they should be able to share what they might be able to offer you. And that seems to depend quite a bit on where you are in the country (some only offer CBT, some also offer EMDR etc)

Hope it goes well and that they are able to offer you something useful.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Yeah, it’s important you be candid and upcoming about what you say.

I had a call from a follow-up team from the NHS after a SA and they asked if I needed to see someone or if I still did want to die or harm myself. The way they phrase things can be quite triggering, but at least it’s direct.

If they scan you with things about do you think about suicide, thoughts such as "I might well be dead already", "I’m tired of all of this, I wished I could just disappear", "ugh could someone just kill me there so it’s over", this counts as suicidal ideation. I’m saying this because believed for years that suicidal ideation wasn’t my thing at all, I mostly wanted to live, but just didn’t have the spark or finding the whole thing just was pointless. You don’t need to be thinking of how well you’ll throw yourself from a window (even if I had that too but didn’t count it because it was just a passing thought like that not a sort of plan, and these flashes do count too).

One thing is not to minimize what you’re experiencing. Generally, that’s what we do. And there is something about the NHS calls that is daunting and make you feel like if you’re too agitated you won’t be believed, or if you’re too deadpan you won’t be valid. So, just say things as they are. You can make a list of symptoms and domains of function you have lost. I can’t sleep anymore, I do have nightmares, I do wake up in the middle of the night, I fear something bad might happen (this one too I struggled with. because I had a lot of worries such as do I have cancer but because I thought it was unreasonable, I didn’t classify that as "worried about something happen might happen", because well logically it’s not. so be aware of that kind of self minimization and interpretation of questions).

As soon as you have your space to speak and not just a few yes/no questions, just try to go as in depth as you can. Say that you’ve got trauma, difficult times in your existence and that you can’t cope. This this and this and I just can’t cope. I need help for feeling better, function better, stop having nightmares, having relationships again, whatever suits you.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
The way they phrase things can be quite triggering, but at least it’s direct.

Yeah...

Where I live, you have to now have a GP referral for access to IAPT. In some places, you can self-refer.

My GP knows that I've seen a private therapist who believes I have PTSD and she knows that a key traumatic event involved a doctor when I was a kid. (I sort of accidentally blurted this out to another GP a few years ago and there is now a note of it in my records). When my GP referred me to IAPT, she included this info on the referral form. I didn't realise that and was then really taken aback when the total stranger I was on the IATP assessment call said, 'So, I understand that you were sexually abused by a doctor when you were a child...?' And then she expected me to speak about that.

It really threw me as a) I didn't expect that my GP would have disclosed that and b) even the fact that it had been disclosed, I would never have expected a total stranger to bring it up so bluntly in an initial assessment call and to expect me to have a conversation with her about it. It really felt like it was written on the form so she just read it out and didn't seem to have any thought that I might not want to talk about that with her/that people may find it difficult to talk about traumatic things!

I was actually pretty dysregulated for the rest of the call (I got really spacey and a bit dissociated) and for some time afterwards and I then ended up having a pretty difficult with my GP around the disclosure.

If you have self-referred, you obviously know what you have already told them so the above might not be an issue. But if you have been referred by a GP though, you might want to ask them what they have actually included on the form, as this could well be brought up on the call (you can ask for a copy of the form if you like)

Whether you've been referred or self-referred, perhaps before the call, just have a think about what boundaries you want to hold on the call. Although it helps to be open so they know how best to help you/whether they can help you (the call is really an information gathering exercise to make an assessment of your suitability for the service, after all), I think it's completely ok to say if there's something that you don't want to go into detail about on this call, for instance. So, perhaps just try to think about what would be a difficult question to answer, what would be a difficult thing to talk about, what you may find destabilising/dysregulating/triggering...and then thinking about how best you can support yourself with your prep.

Not saying this to put you off! I may have been unlucky or may just have been being ultra sensitive. You may have a different experience. I just think it's useful to be prepared for any potential blips/challenges so you're not blind-sided in any way.

To be honest, I was so bothered by this aspect (the very direct approach, which I found insensitive and inappropriate) that I almost chose not to pursue the actual treatment further. In the end though, I did. And the therapist I was given was certainly more sensitive and empathetic than the person who did the assessment call! She didn't't ask me to dive into trauma detail from the get go. So, I was glad I stuck with it. After a couple of assessment calls with the therapist, we agreed that we would do some EMDR. And then Covid happened and I was quite unwell, so we had to pause and haven't been able to re-star again, so I can't comment on anything beyond that point!
 
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