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Saturday 27 November 2021
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Clinical health psychology

 What is a clinical health psychologist?

Psychology is the study of why people behave, think and feel as they do.  Clinical health psychologists specialise in using psychology with problems that are found in health settings such as hospitals, working with people suffering from a range of difficulties including:


  • Traumatic stress reactions
  • Adjustment & coping
  • Mood disturbance, anger, anxiety, phobias (for example needles)
  • Behaviour change and self management issues – diet, compliance/adherence, activity levels
  • Coping with symptoms (eg pain, fatigue)
  • Quality of life issues – goal planning, problem solving, motivation.


Unlike psychiatrists and medical doctors, the clinical health psychologist does not use tablets or other physical treatments; instead they use practical problem solving techniques as well as counselling and psychotherapy.


How does a clinical psychologist help in kidney care?

Living with kidney disease clearly has a big impact on the way you live life and for some it can be a difficult and upsetting experience; there may be worries about treatment options, the future, traumatic events surrounding diagnosis or about some aspect of being investigated and treated within kidney care; decisions to be made or questions to ask.  Other problems not directly related to kidney disease may affect how you deal with it – for example longer term stress, anxiety or mood problems.   Some people cope well with the whole experience, while others find it more difficult and take longer to adjust to what is happening to them.  This is often an understandable reaction and does not necessarily suggest any form of mental illness or disorder.  People can become depressed, anxious or even angry about what is happening and it can be useful to work through the issues with someone experienced in dealing with these feelings and emotions, and this is where a clinical health psychologist can help.


If you are under the care of Salford Royal’s renal (kidney) service and feel that speaking to someone may help you can ask your doctor or nurse for a referral to Dr Jessica Dean (Renal Clinical Psychologist), Dr Sara Low (Renal Counselling Psychologist) or Dr Kathryn Lloyd-Williams (Clinical Psychologist).