What follows is an overview of the usual assessment process when you come to Dundee. We would usually expect patients to be accompanied by friends/ relatives/ partners/ etc. and we will seek your consent to get additional information from them.
Before you are assessed we will have reviewed all available case notes so that we have as much information as possible on previous treatments. It also helps us to identify areas where there is uncertainty (e.g. diagnosis), and also issues that we should focus on (such as attitudes to treatment).
In the morning, you will meet with one of the psychiatrists (Dr Christmas, Professor Keith Matthews, or Professor Douglas Steele) who will conduct a detailed psychiatric interview, focusing on current symptoms and impact of the illness upon your life. We will also spend time understanding more about you, your family, and your work. We routinely use rating scales in order to rate the severity of your illness.
In the afternoon, you will meet one of our experienced psychological therapists who will take a slightly different approach to understanding your difficulties. This session focuses on the previous psychological therapies that you have received and looks at your experiences of these. It will also look at how 'psychologically minded' you may be so that we can offer advice on the likelihood that further psychological therapies (e.g. CBT) will be of benefit.
Being 'psychologically minded' refers to your general tendency to think about your emotions, your thoughts, your behaviours, and make connections between them. It also takes into account the extent to which you attribute symptoms to psychological processes ("it's my thoughts") rather than biological processes ("it's in my brain"). Not everyone is psychologically minded and a preference for one style doesn't imply that one style is better than another. Indeed, many people will vary between their approaches to their problems.
In the afternoon, you will meet with all of the team that you have previously met over the course of the assessment. During this session we will offer feedback on what our views are and what treatment recommendations we are likely to make. This is an opportunity to ask questions and to clarify anything that hasn't been fully clear.
The purpose of this session is to come to a common understanding of your difficulties and to ensure that you go away with a sense of what happens next in terms of treatment options.
We would normally expect to send reports to the referring psychiatrist within 2-3 weeks of assessment. In almost all cases, we will offer you a copy of the report that we send. This will enable you to correct anything that you feel is wrong, understand the information on which we are making our recommendations, and to discuss the treatment plan with your psychiatrist.