Information alert:

We are unable to provide an emergency service. If you feel yourself or a loved one may be at risk, please contact your out of hours GP, emergency services via 111 or 999, Samaritans on 116 123 or Crisis Line 0800 145 6570 (Liverpool and Sefton) and 0800 051 1508 (Knowsley, St Helens, Warrington and Halton).

The links between psychological and physical wellbeing (mind and body) has been well recognised. Having gastrointestinal (GI) difficulties can lead to disruption in many different parts of life, including work, education, hobbies, relationships, and it is not uncommon to experience emotional fallout from this.

There is a growing evidence base of:

• The unmet psychological needs of people with a GI condition

• The links between the mind and the gut (brain – gut links)

• The effectiveness of psychological therapies for improving treatment adherence and management, emotional wellbeing, confidence and sense of control and quality of life and self – identity.

The Gastroenterology team recognise and understand that having a GI condition, and the GI health care journey, can be difficult and distressing.

In clinical practice GI conditions are rarely independent of psychological symptoms and there appears to be an interaction between the GI tract and the brain. In considering whether you feel it would be helpful to see a clinical psychologist the team want to reassure you that this does not mean problems will be seen as “all in your head” or that it is a “psychological problem”.

We understand living with chronic gastroenterology conditions, and the physical symptoms these present, is very difficult and can affect you emotionally and socially and this is very normal.

More information

All patients under the care of a gastroenterology consultant across LUFHT are eligible to access the GI Clinical Psychology Service. The primary criterion for the service is that psychological distress is related to the GI condition.

If you feel a referral to our service would be helpful you can speak with a member of the gastroenterology team here at the hospital. They can then make a referral to the GI Clinical Psychologist.

Who do we see?

Typical referrals include:

• Significant psychological distress related to their GI condition or associated treatment (not general mental health concerns) impacting on quality of life

• Distress or difficulties greater than expected given the current situation

• Struggling to cope with their GI related emotions / thoughts, or to adjust

• Adjustment difficulties relating to a new diagnosis, new treatment plan or a transition in care despite conversations and support provided by MDT

• Unhelpful coping strategies (e.g., avoidance, rigid behaviours)

• Interest in mind-body approaches to health

• Moderate/severe depression and/or anxiety

• Trauma related to healthcare experiences. (e.g. admission/treatments/surgery/symptoms)

• Body image issues

• Moderate/severe sleep problems.

• Psychological difficulties related to pain/fatigue

• Significant/long standing difficulty in adjusting to loss and change in physical functioning/sexual functioning/ in relation to roles and aspirations

• Moderate/severe personal / social relationship difficulties primarily associated with GI condition

• Difficulties in making decisions about treatment

• Psychological processes are influencing GI symptoms / treatment adherence / management of GI issues (catastrophising, hypervigilance, stress, health anxiety, phobias, body image).

The teams base at Aintree University Hospital is in the Elective Care Centre. At Broadgreen Hospital is it the Diagnostic Hub. And at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital it is the Endoscopy Unit on the fourth floor.

  • Dr Laura Binsale, Principal Clinical Psychologist
  • Dr Rachel Dodd, Principal Clinical Psychologist.

If you have attended an appointment with the GI Clinical Psychology service we would love to hear your thoughts. Our focus is improving the delivery of patient and family centred care.

Please take a couple of minutes to complete our feedback form.

Your response is voluntary and completely anonymous.