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Date: 21 September 2021
The counselling service's aim is to offer patients the opportunity to look at a number of issues that may be affecting them emotionally in a safe, non-judgmental and understanding environment. We offer the chance for patients to speak openly to us about the issues that matter to them. Most importantly we have the time to listen and explore feelings, emotions and practical needs in depth.
This could be regarding:
- HIV diagnosis
- looking at starting or changing medication
- feeling down for a period of time and just needing to talk things over
- how to talk about sex and sexual health issues with a new partner, long term partner or sexual contact
- disclosing status to family, friends or community, or at work
- depression or moderate mental health issues
- issues that are not directly linked to your HIV
- planning for the future
- having a serodiscodant (HIV+/ HIV-) relationship
- thinking of having a new baby
- a mixture of any of the above issues
The patient has the opportunity to either self-refer (simply ask one of the staff for a referral form) or discuss the option with one of the medical team who will be happy to make the referral for the patient. Before making a referral however we would ask you to consider:
- the importance for the patient to attend counselling sessions on a regular basis and that they can commit to the process of change that will take place
- that the patient will be asked to co-operate in a clinical evaluation at the beginning and end of their sessions
- that the counsellor and patient will negotiate a contract regarding counselling and confidentiality
- that the patient will share with the counsellor if they are unhappy with the service and/or let us know how we could develop or improve that service
The counselling service is run during clinic time to offer maximum convenience. Each patient has the opportunity to access sessions that take place for one hour, once a week over a six-week period.
The counsellors that will work with the patients are experienced and qualified in counselling, working with people that are HIV positive and have membership to the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists.
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