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What we do:

This service, provided by the NHS Borders, offers clinical psychology, counselling and music therapy to the Borders population.

Area covered:

Current service extends to adult mental health, pain services, adults with learning difficulties and children. Adult mental health services are based at 12/14 Roxburgh Street, Galashiels. Services for children are provided at the Andrew Lang Unit in Selkirk and for pain services, at the BGH Anaesthetics Department.

About our services:

What is Clinical Psychology?

Clinical Psychologists, through their 7-10 year training, develop knowledge and understanding of the process by which people develop across their lifespan. This includes how people form relationships, experience emotions, think, learn and solve problems. In working with people with psychological problems, clinical psychology applies this knowledge and understanding in many areas of health care.

Why might you see a Clinical Psychologist?

Clinical Psychologists work with people of all ages, with many different kinds of health problems. These include adults who have a learning disability, elderly people with dementia, children and adults who experience emotional problems, and also those with physical ailments, such as chronic pain, cancer, heart problems, diabetes. You will find clinical psychologists working in hospitals, out-patient departments, day centres, residential homes, health centres and doctors' surgeries.

Some of the conditions commonly treated:

Coping with physical illness
Panic Disorder
Generalised anxiety disorder
Depression and other mood disorders
Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

What can Clinical Psychologists do?

The two main tasks are:

  • Helping people themselves and also health service staff to understand a person's illness or disability and how it affects them. Examples of this might be carrying out psychological tests with a person who is showing signs of serious memory problem, which could limit their ability to live an independent life. This could arise following a stroke or a head injury, or if the person has a learning disability or dementia is suspected. Alternatively, the psychologist might be asked to help a doctor make sense of someone's symptoms of physical illness when medical investigations show nothing is wrong, or even to understand why someone with diabetes is failing to take regular medication. This part of a psychologist's job is known as assessment.
  • Helping to make things better for people who need different kinds of therapy. This could involve helping the parents of a child to overcome his sleep problems or tantrums. With adults, people with depression or phobias can be helped to a better quality of life through psychological therapies. Another area would be working with staff in a residential home where people with learning disabilities or dementia live, ensuring their capabilities and independence are promoted wherever possible. In a general hospital, teaching people how to manage pain or the side-effects of cancer treatments is often carried out by clinical psychologists.


Counsellors also train over a number of years in helping people to understand major difficulties in life and finding ways of moving forward. Counselling offers the chance to talk about problems with someone who will respect your views and feelings. It offers help to identify ways in which changes might be made.


  • All the information concerning your treatment will of course be treated as confidential.
  • Any information about you held on computer in this department conforms to the Data Protection Act 1998.
  • If you have any queries regarding confidentiality, do not hesitate to contact this department.

How to access our services:

Referral Guidelines:

  • Most referrals to clinical psychologists are made either through your GP, local Mental Health Team, doctors at the BGH or staff at Day Centres.
  • Once you have been referred you are placed on the waiting list for your particular area and informed by letter of the referral having been made to this department.
  • You will then receive a letter around 2-4 weeks before your first appointment asking you to ring to arrange a date and time.
  • Please note that waiting times can be fairly lengthy for some areas. Please contact us to check on possible waiting times for your area.
  • If you have been referred to psychological services, please let us know of any changes in your circumstances, e.g. change of address as this helps to ensure no time is wasted in getting your appointment to you.