Psychology Services

Macmillan Psychological Health Services

We have a part-time Clinical Psychologist working in Cancer Services with our patients. Clinical Psychologists can help if you are experiencing emotional or personal difficulties at any point during or after your illness.


Why are there psychology services in Cancer care?

We recognise that distress can be a natural response to the experience of cancer and its treatments, so healthcare workers in Weston Area Health NHS Trust aim to provide good psychological care to all patients and those around them. However, the emotional and personal impact may be greater and last longer for some people, so there are psychological health services specifically to support people affected by cancer.


What is a clinical psychologist?

Clinical psychologists have a minimum of six years of specialist training in a variety of psychological approaches. These approaches can help when people are having difficult thoughts or feelings that are affecting their wellbeing and making it harder to do the things they need or want to do.

Clinical psychologists are not medically trained. They do not prescribe medication or diagnose mental illnesses. The clinical psychologists who work in our service have gone on to specialise in reducing psychological distress and enhancing psychological well-being for people coming to the hospital. They are all registered as qualified clinical psychologists with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC).


What kinds of concerns might a clinical psychologist be able to help with?

Every situation is different and is assessed individually. Some of the more common concerns that a clinical psychologist might help with include:


  • adapting to and coping with the illness
  • managing fatigue, ‘chemobrain’ and other treatment side effects
  • dealing with difficult feelings such as anxiety, anger and sadness
  • tackling worries and living with uncertainty
  • learning ways to cope with tests, procedures and treatments
  • making decisions about treatment
  • moving forward with your life after treatment has finished
  • dealing with difficulties in your relationships since diagnosis


How can I arrange to see a clinical psychologist?

You can arrange to see a clinical psychologist by talking to any member of your healthcare team here (for example, your nurse, doctor or cancer support worker), or the staff at the Macmillan Support Centre, about making a referral on your behalf. Once referred we will contact you to offer you an outpatient appointment at Weston General. We can meet with you on your own, or with a partner or family member.

Please contact us if we can help you to access the service in any way. Interpreters are available on request.


I’ve been referred to Clinical Psychology but I’m not sure why.

If a member of your healthcare team has referred you to see a psychologist, it does not mean that they think you are not coping or that you ‘need help’. It may be that they recognise your situation is difficult and they simply wanted you to be aware that these services existed. The decision to use psychological health services is entirely up to you, and if you decide not to, this will not affect your healthcare in any way.


What will happen if I meet with one of the clinical psychologists?

The first meeting is an opportunity to talk through what has happened, and about what help or support will be helpful to you. We will spend some time finding out about your experience of cancer, your current concerns, and what you would like help to change. We may also ask about your life before cancer. Sometimes, more than one appointment is necessary for us to get the full picture, or for you to decide how we can best help you. You do not need to bring anything with you to your appointments with us and there are no costs involved.


What happens next?

The outcome of the appointment will depend on your concerns and what you would like to change. Sometimes, it may be enough to meet with one of the team once or twice for you to feel you can take things forward with the support you already have in place. Sometimes, there are other kinds of help that we may suggest you might find useful, for example, if you have practical problems that you need help with.


Sometimes it may be that a pre-arranged number of sessions would be more helpful, to address particular difficulties in a structured way. The therapies we offer are normally quite short (between four and six sessions) and focused on cancer-related issues. If you have psychological difficulties not related to cancer, we will normally recommend a referral to a more appropriate service for you.


What happens to the information I tell you?

We are part of the care provided to you at Weston Area Health NHS Trust. If you are having psychological difficulties relating to cancer or its treatment, it is important for the staff working with you closely to be aware of this. Therefore, we will let your healthcare team and your GP know if you come to see us, what your main concerns are, and what the plan is in terms of support and help for you. We will keep secure notes about the sessions you have with us on your medical record, which your healthcare team will have access to.

If you tell us something that you do not want us to share with anyone outside the psychology service, please let us know. Unless there is a risk of harm to yourself or others, we will ensure that this information is not shared with anyone outside of Psychological Health Services without your permission.

If you have any concerns or want to know more about the information that is likely to be shared about your care, please talk to us about this.



Audio wellbeing guide

These tracks are a series of short relaxation exercises designed to help you learn how to relax.  They should be practised every day for several weeks, preferably not first thing in the morning or last thing at night (unless you experience insomnia) because these are times when the body is often already relaxed. 

Only do the exercises which feel comfortable. They should not hurt when you do them.

A booklet to accompany the tracks is available from the Macmillan Cancer Support Worker team.  Tel 01934 881079 or email for a copy.



These booklets are in PDF format and can be printed out at home or read on your computer screen.

  • Overcoming stress and anxiety 
    One of the most common emotions felt by people with cancer is fear or anxiety. This booklet is designed to help you understand both why we feel anxiety and, more importantly, what we can do to control it. The booklet refers to relaxation exercises which also can be downloaded (please see below). These self-help methods of controlling anxiety have been shown, through many research studies, to be extremely effective. 
  • Managing the stress of cancer
    This booklet is concerned with what people go through after they have been diagnosed with cancer and how they manage the stress of this difficult time. It is based upon what patients say they find difficult and what they have found helpful. It is also based on sound psychological theory and research.
  • Overcoming insomnia
    About one in three people with cancer report sleeping difficulties (insomnia) at some point during their treatment.  This workbook teaches you about sleep, helps you identify possible causes for your insomnia, and suggests a number of ways to improve your sleep patterns.

Other Organisations who can help with emotional and Psychological Support


Other organisations offer emotional and psychological support. Some also offer holistic therapies which many find support them emotionally as well as physically. The staff at the Macmillan Support Centre will be able to talk about your needs and help you decide which route is likely to be best for you.


Links to Other Organisations


Penny Brohn

Offers individual counselling as well as holistic therapies


We Hear You

Emotional support, individual counselling for patients, families, friends and carers


New Dawn

Low cost counselling in Weston and Bridgewater with home visits available


Vine Counselling

Low cost counselling based in Congresbury


Wellspring Counselling

Low cost counselling in Nailsea


VitaMinds – Local IAPT service

Free service. Offers a variety of short-term psychological therapies for conditions such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder throughout North Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire.


Somerset Talking therapies

Free service. Offers a variety of short-term psychological therapies for conditions such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder throughout Somerset.