Milton Keynes Talking Therapies aims to support around seven thousand people each year, all of whom are offered an initial triage meeting by telephone.  In this telephone call we can establish what your needs are at present and consider whether they can be met by Talking Therapies services or other services in the Milton Keynes area.  Most similar services in England offer initial contacts by telephone.  Further treatments may be by telephone, online or face to face.  If you feel you would need a face to face meeting initially please do contact the service to discuss your needs.

Your triage assessor will discuss a range of options with you.  We will be looking to find the best service for your difficulties in the Milton Keynes area.  Sometimes the decision is that further assessment is needed with Taking Therapies or another service.  Sometimes we have to have discussions with supervisors or other services to make the correct decision for you and this can take a little time.  Treatment options may involve information and advice delivered online, in a workshop setting or in face to face meetings.  Unfortunately sometimes it is not possible to find the right service and in these circumstances we may refer you back to your GP for further advice and support.  Most treatment options in the Milton Keynes involve a wait, some of these can be quite long but we are working continuously in trying to keep these as short as possible.

This may be something that you would like to discuss with your GP prior to contacting Taking Therapies.  The outcome of that meeting might be that you are recommended to try a prescription for medication whilst a referral is also made to the Taking Therapies service.  For many mental health conditions both taking prescribed medication and engaging in talking therapy is considered the best approach; but it is certainly not necessary to be on medication to receive talking therapy support.  If in doubt discuss this with your GP in the first instance.

Our triage assessors are very experienced in managing these types of difficulties.  If you mention this on your referral we will call you on the day to check that you can keep yourself safe, we will then provide you with some advice on how to help yourself in the short term.  At referral or after triage we may decide to refer you to the CNWL Crisis service for further assessment and support.  They are able to provide faster support and have a range of supports than can help you.  After this they refer you back for talking therapies.  However, we will not always make that referral, we may ask you to agree to a risk management plan, or complete a Safety Plan which can provide you with some guidance on how to help keep yourself safe.  It is also a good idea to keep in close touch with your GP, we will always write to a GP if you have discussed risk issues with us.  MIND also offer good services locally that can support people having these types of thoughts; please see the links below for supports that they can offer.

We recognise that for people in psychological or emotional distress alcohol and drugs can provide short term relief from symptoms.  However, some of the symptoms of substance use and withdrawal from substances cause anxiety and low mood and can look like mental health conditions.  As a result it is very difficult for us to assess for the presence of mental health difficulties when someone is using substances.  It may well be that by staying away from substances for a period means that you will see some of the mood and anxiety symptoms reduce dramatically.

Drug and alcohol use makes it difficult for us to decide the nature of the difficulties that people are experiencing and the correct service for treatment.  For this reason we would usually suggest that people reduce their use of substances, perhaps with the support of the local service prior to engaging with talking therapy services.  If you are in doubt please do refer and this issue can be discussed at the telephone triage stage with your assessor.         

Feeling irritable can be a consequence of low mood, or it can relate to some other difficulties.  If your anger is related to periods of low mood or depression then we can discuss helping your low mood and this may help your anger.  If you feel that anger is your main problem then we are most likely unable to support you.  Anger courses are available locally in the MK area

This is known as ‘peer support’ and can be important part of recovery from mental health issue.  These services are usually run by charity organisations in the local area.  Taking Therapies does not have formal links with these services but it is possible that your assessor may be able to signpost you to a local organisation that may be able to help.

Counselling is a type of talking therapy that allows people to explore painful thoughts and feelings in a safe environment with a therapist.  The airing of these thoughts and feelings in this environment is considered by itself to help people feel better.  Counselling support is quite limited in Milton Keynes with only a few services offering free support for this.  Unfortunately, many counselling options in Milton Keynes involve a charge for the individual.  Your triage assessor will discuss what options are available.        

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an active talking therapy that helps people identify problem thoughts and behaviours and apply solutions to these.  CBT is a very effective talking therapy for a range of anxiety and depression problems.  CBT relies on people taking advice during sessions and applying this in practice between sessions.  This is known as ‘homework’ and it is known that if this is not regularly completed then therapy does not work.  If you are referred to a CBT programme you will receive information on what to expect; if you think you will struggle with the demands of therapy then you may wish to consider if this is the right treatment option for you at this time.

In your triage assessment we will ask you about your current difficulties and how long these have been going on for.  We may also ask some questions about difficult experiences throughout your life, including those that may have happened in childhood.  We understand that talking about these can be difficult and upsetting but without this information we cannot make the best decision about treatment.  It may be helpful for you to think about meeting up with a friend after your triage to talk things through; if you don’t have any to talk with you can call Samaritans (116 123), this service is not just for people who are in desperate need.  If you continue to feel distressed please make an urgent appointment with your GP or you could call the Urgent Care Team (01908 if you are having thoughts of harming yourself that you cannot control.

Generally the information and advice contained in a workshop is the same as that which would be passed on with an individual therapist.  Our service and other services around the country choose to use workshops because we know they work for people who are motivated to change their thoughts and behaviours.   We receive positive reports from people who attend workshops who didn’t think they would like it but have benefitted enormously.  Generally they are the quickest way to access support for anxiety and depression.  We will often offer something to begin with and then see how you are doing when you have completed that, and discuss whether other options are available within our service.  For this reason we would strongly encourage you complete the first treatment we offer and then talk with us afterwards if it has not helped.  We may then be able to move you on to an individual therapist.

Our workshops provide you with advice based on CBT principles that you can use to help low mood or anxiety.  They are not therapy groups as some people imagine and you would not be required to speak or share any personal information.  Obviously the more you engage the more you and others can get from the workshop but if you wish to observe only then this is okay.

Sometimes therapy takes a little time to work; if you carry on with the advice provided by your therapist you may see changes occur over time.  For this reason we generally request that people who have had a course of treatment spend a period away from the service practising news of thinking and behaving.  Of course we can accept re-referrals to the service but we would expect to see some evidence that you have attempted to continue the change process during your period away from the service.

The MK Talking Therapies services treats anxiety and depression and we understand that sometimes Autistic Spectrum Disorders can cause people to feel low and anxious.  We are happy to discuss anxiety and low mood in connection with ASD difficulties and see what we can treat.  Although we always seek to increase our understanding of these difficulties we are not a specialist treatment service for ASD.  We are not always able to treat some of the symptoms of ASD, such as difficulties with some compulsions and rituals, difficulties with social communication and relationships.  Anger and frustration tolerance can also be consequence of ASD and we do not offer a treatment for this.  It may be worth discussing issues with third sector services as well, or if you have not been diagnosed seeking a referral from your GP for this.