The Neurology Psychotherapy Service provides a specialist psychotherapy service for patients who are under the care of the Neurology Department. We offer help for the following different issues.
Patients with non-epileptic seizures
Non-epileptic seizures are episodes in which people lose control of their body, causing black-outs, shaking or other movements of the arms and legs. These resemble epileptic seizures, but have a different cause. While epilepsy is caused by abnormal electricity in the brain, non-epileptic seizures often happen because of problems with handling thoughts, memories, emotions or sensations. They can also be related to stress or anxiety. Non-epileptic seizures are also known as non-epileptic attack disorder (NEAD), functional, dissociative or psychogenic seizures. Non-epileptic seizures can not be treated by medication but many patients can be often helped by having some regular sessions of psychotherapy
The Neurology Psychotherapy Service is one of very few specialist services in the country that offers treatment for patients with non-epileptic seizures. The psychotherapists help patients to make the link between their symptoms and the issues that might be underlying them and these are then worked with in therapy.
What will happen if you are referred to this service?
You will be invited for a first meeting with the therapist, who will ask about you symptoms and other aspects of your life, to see if there are emotional issues that might be affecting you health and how it might be possible to start putting things right. At the end of this meeting the therapist will assess whether this is the best place for you to be treated or whether it would be more helpful to refer you elsewhere If you are accepted for further psychotherapy you would continue to meet either weekly or fortnightly for an agreed number of 50 minute sessions to work on any issues you have found.
How could I get referred to this service?
Patients living in South Yorkshire or Bassetlaw can be referred to this service by a consultant neurologist from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. You would need to talk to your GP, who could then refer you to one of the consultant neurologists who specialise in epilepsy and other seizure disorders.
Here are some links to information you may find helpful:
We have an information website about non-epileptic seizures on www.nonepilepticattacks.info
The NEAD Trust is a support group for people with non-epileptic seizures and their families and friends. You can contact them on www.neadtrust.co.uk
Patients with epilepsy who have psychological needs relating to epilepsy
Epilepsy is a neurological condition. People with epilepsy experience epileptic seizures which start in the brain as a result of abnormal electrical activity. Having a diagnosis of epilepsy can therefore mean that people need to adjust their lifestyles in different ways. This adjustment may cause psychological problems e.g. anxiety and depression and/or psychosocial problems e.g. difficulties in relationships or work-related issues. While medication is the mainstay of treatment for epilepsy, psychotherapy can also be helpful in order to address the variety of challenges that can arise as a result of having to live with this chronic condition.
The Epilepsy Psychotherapy Service offers people with epilepsy time to explore their feelings and work through any problems they may have in relation to epilepsy.
Referral to this service is through your Neurologist, Neuropsychologist or your Epilepsy Nurse. You will initially be offered an assessment appointment where you and your therapist will talk about your concerns. This will also give both of you the opportunity to identify whether psychotherapy is the best option for you or whether another service would be preferable or more beneficial. If it is decided that psychotherapy is the best way forward then you will be offered weekly or fortnightly appointments. Each appointment lasts 50 minutes.
Our leaflet gives you further information about this service:
The Epilepsy Psychotherapy Service
Service hours: 8.30 – 4.30pm Monday to Friday
Psychotherapists: Stephanie Howlett, Edel Dewhurst, Aimee Morgan-Boon, Andrew Enever.