Psychological Therapies Service (PTS)

The Psychological Therapies Service (PTS) offers a Trust wide service for adults with a range of mental health difficulties including anxiety disorders such as phobias, panic disorder, social phobia, obsessive compulsive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, health anxiety and depression. The service also offers psychological interventions for more severe and enduring problems which present in the context of e.g. a history of childhood sexual abuse, personality disorders, or serious mental illness, where clinical evidence indicates that people with these problems can benefit from psychological therapies.

The PTS staff includes Clinical and Counselling Psychologists, Cognitive Behaviour Therapists, Psychological Therapists, Associate Psychologists and Assistant Psychologists. Staff offer consultation, one-to-one treatment, group work, brief interventions, supported self-help and computer assisted treatments.

Community Mental Health Team liaison

A PTS staff member acts as a liaison with each Community Mental Health Team (CMHT), providing supervision, consultation, and assisting with the development of interventions. Some CMHT staff members have been trained to provide Brief Interventions for specific clients; this pilot was implemented by CMHT alongside PTS staff who provided supervision and researched the efficacy of this intervention.

Awards and achievements

The Northern Trust Psychological Therapies Service has won numerous awards including:
–  The Northern Trust Chairman’s Effective Team Award 2015
–  Northern Trust Service Evaluation Award 2015.

The PTS was also a finalist in the Institute of Healthcare Management Quality Award in 2014.

APPTS Accreditation

The PTS is the first therapy service in Northern Ireland to receive formal accreditation by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Royal College of Psychiatry (RCPSCH) Accreditation Programme for Psychological Therapies Services (APPTS). This is a substantial achievement in which the PTS received special commendations for compassionate care, clinical effectiveness, and outstanding team-work.

Outcomes framework

The PTS Outcomes Framework enables routine outcome measurement to assess improvements in clients following psychological therapy. To date, our data has shown that 60% of our clients demonstrated reliable clinical improvement following psychological therapy. Feedback has shown that 100% of clients felt that their PTS therapist treated them with courtesy and respect; 81% of clients stated that seeing a PTS professional helped them understand their problems better either somewhat or a great deal.

Stress Control Training

The PTS have also liaised with community and charity organisations to develop free community-based psychological interventions including Stress Control. Northern Trust Stress Control classes are currently running in the Monkstown, Rathcoole and Carrickfergus areas. ‘Stress Control’ is a six-week, self-help course aimed at people experiencing mild-to-moderate anxiety, depression, or stress. Individuals can choose a daytime or evening class and can attend different classes each week to work best around their schedule.

Please search “Stress Control NI” on Facebook to find details on the next free class near you.

Research programme and publications

As well as compassionate and effective care of our clients, the PTS also values the importance of research in routine clinical practice. Our research group regularly meets to develop research projects within the Trust including the Outcomes Framework. Recent research publications include:

– Bradley, M., Hanna, D., Wilson, P., Scott, G., Quinn, P., & Dyer, K. F. W. (2016). Attentional Bias in Individuals with Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms: An Eye-Tracking Methodology. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 50, 303 – 308.

– Mills, R., Mowlds, W., Dyer, K., Corr, P., & Kavanagh, M (2016). Responding to mental health statutory drivers: experience of a low intensity cognitive behavioural therapy programme. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, available on CJO2015. doi:10.1017/ipm.2015.56.

Opening hours

The service operates from 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

Referral source

All referrals come via the local Community Mental Health Team

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