Welcome to The Clinical Health Psychology - General Medicine Team.
Who we are:
Our team includes Clinical Psychologists, Counselling Psychologists, Health Psychologists, Cognitive Behaviour Therapists and Assistant Psychologists.
We specialise in the assessment and treatment of psychological difficulties relating to physical health problems, e.g. anxiety, depression, coping and adjustment.
The aim of our interventions is to support people to experience better wellbeing, reduce the impact of symptoms and learn skills to feel more resilient, even in the context of a variety of health conditions.
What we do:
Our team was initially set up to support the medical care of individuals being treated for a range of medical conditions. This usually means that patients are being seen by either a Consultant at Salford Royal or a Salford GP.
The medical areas we cover include cardiology, dermatology, diabetes, endocrinology, ENT, gynaecology, speech and language, immunology, orthopaedics, respiratory medicine, rheumatology, surgery/anaesthesia, and urology.
We also work with people where medical-related trauma is complicating their recovery.
We help people move forward in the face of such problems by providing one-to-one treatments, group treatments, and by working with the medical teams providing their medical care.
Meet the General Medicine team:
Dr Emma Solomon
Consultant Clinical Psychologist - General Medicine
Dr Solomon is a consultant clinical psychologist leading the General Medicine Clinical Psychology team. Her team provide specialist psychological intervention to patients with a range of medical conditions.
She began her career as a researcher in the Psychological Medicine Group at the Christie Hospital. Her research at this time focused on coping with cancer.
She then moved into mental health where she worked with individuals with a variety of challenges, including anxiety, depression, trauma, eating difficulties and addictions.
In 2009, she joined Salford Royal’s Clinical Health department. At this time, she specialised in supporting patients with bowel and gut issues. She was trustee of the IBS Network, a leading UK charity for people with IBS during this time. Whilst working with IBS, she discovered the benefit of mind-body therapies for symptoms that were not responding to traditional medical solutions.
Dr Solomon has a special interest in trauma and resilience, endocrinology, women’s health, and the mind-body relationship as it relates to health outcomes and is trained in evidence-based interventions to help patients. These include cognitive and behavioural therapy, mindfulness-based approaches, acceptance and commitment therapy, compassion-based therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy and trauma-focused CBT.
Her team cover over 15 medical specialities including gynaecology, dermatology, diabetes, rheumatology, oncology, immunology, and critical care, amongst others.
Her recent research have focused on physical health, specifically, coping with cancer and adjustment to diabetes.
Her professional accreditations include BSc (Hons), MPhil, DClinPsy, CPsychol, CHyp, AFBPsS and she is registered with the British Psychological Society (BPS).
Living with diabetes and its impact on mental health: results of an online survey. Cardiovasc Endocrinol Metab. 2022 Mar 29;11(2).
Stedman M, Eltom S, Solomon E, Rea R, Grady K, Chaudhury N, Brown S, Paisley A, Gadsby R, Heald AH.
Distress and Living with Diabetes: Defining Characteristics Through an Online Survey. Diabetes Ther. 2022 Sep;13(9):1585-1597.
Waheed U, Heald AH, Stedman M, Solomon E, Rea R, Eltom S, Gibson JM, Grady K, Nouwen A, Rayman G, Paisley A.
National level prescribing of psychotropic medication in primary care during the COVID-19 pandemic in England: potential implications for cardiometabolic health. Cardiovasc Endocrinol Metab. 2022 Sep 5;11(4):e0270.
Waheed U, Stedman M, Davies M, Walther A, Solomon E, Ollier B, Heald AH.
Dr Sarah Blackshaw
Principal Clinical Psychologist - General Medicine
Dr Blackshaw completed her undergraduate (BSc) and doctoral (DClinPsy) degrees at the University of Hull, qualifying in 2012.
Since then, she has worked in a variety of clinical health settings, with specialist work within chronic pain services as well as more general clinical health psychology settings.
She currently works within the General Medicine service, seeing patients with a wide variety of health conditions and utilising approaches mainly drawn from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR).
Sarah's clinical and research interests centre on rheumatological conditions such as systemic sclerosis and fibromyalgia.
Dr Holly Martin-Smith
Senior Health Psychologist
Dr Martin-Smith completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Biology at Liverpool John Moores University, and subsequently completed her Masters Degree in Health Psychology at University College London.
Following this, Holly moved up to Aberdeen to complete her Stage 2 Qualification in Health Psychology with NHS Grampian and successfully qualified as an HCPC registered Health Psychologist.
She joined the General Medicine team of the Clinical Health Psychology department at Salford Royal in July 2017, has since also worked in the Gastrointestinal team, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and is currently involved in research with the Intestinal Failure team. She completed a Top Up Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology with the University of Stirling and graduated in November 2022.
Holly takes an integrative approach with her therapeutic work with particular interest in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT). She also has a special interest in trauma therapy and trained in Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) in 2020.
Her clincial and research interests include group interventions and the link between trauma and long-term conditions.
Holly is currently working on a research project funded by the Pseudo Obstruction Research Trust and Bowel UK exploring an ACT based group intervention for patients with gastrointestinal dysmotility.
She holds membership with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Exploring psychosocial predictors of STI testing in University students. BMC public health, 18(1), 664.
Martin-Smith, H. A., Okpo, E. A., & Bull, E. R. (2018).
A Rapid Access Clinic for Psoriasis‐First Experiences. British Journal of Dermatology.
Reid, C., Welsh, C., Martin‐Smith, H., Dharmaprasad, S., Warren, R. B., Cordingley, L., & Griffiths, C. E. (2022).
Ms Helen Ullmer
Psychological Therapist - General Medicine
Helen's first degree was in Business Studies, and she changed career from working in Marketing and retrained to work in Psychology.
Initially completing a MSc Psychology (Conversion) qualification at University of Bolton. Following this Helen completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy at Edgehill University. Her MSc Dissertation looked at attachment styles and differences with loss of a parent through death or loss a parent through separation.
Helen joined the General Medicine team of the Clinical Health Psychology department at Salford Royal in July 2017.
Helen takes an integrative approach with her therapeutic work with particular interest in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT) and psycho-oncology.
She holds membership with the BABCP (British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies).
Dr Carl Bryce
Health Psychologist – General Medicine
Dr Carl Bryce is a former British Army soldier, where he served for 6 years in the Royal Signals. He left the armed forced in 2008 to complete his undergraduate degree (BSc) in Psychology at Salford University.
He then went on to complete his Masters Degree (MSc) in Health Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), before obtaining his Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology (DHealthPsych) at Staffordshire University.
Dr Bryce joined the Clinical Health Psychology department at Salford Royal Hospital in March 2023, where he carries out his clinical work as a health psychologist in the General Medicine team, providing psychological treatment to people across a wide range of health conditions.
He currently holds Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) membership and is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Dr Hannah Moulson
Health Psychologist - General Medicine
Dr Moulson completed her undergraduate degree at University of Liverpool in 2014 and later went on to complete a Masters degree in Health Psychology at the University of Hull in 2017. In 2018 Hannah began her doctoral training (DHealthPsych) whilst working as a trainee Health Psychologist in Bradford.
Hannah completed her training in 2021 and worked on the development and implementation of national NHS lifestyle programmes such as the diabetes prevention programme.
She joined the General Medicine team at Salford Royal in 2023 across multiple specialties.
Her research and clinical interests include health behaviours, self-management of long-term health conditions, diabetes, treatment adherence and supporting self-management of long-term conditions.
She holds membership with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
- What psychosocial interventions work to reduce hospital admissions in people with diabetes and elevated HbA1c: a systematic review of the evidence. Diabetic Medicine, 37(8), 1280-1290.
Moulson, H., Sanders, S., Coppin, S. & Meyrick, J. (2020).
- What adaptations are effective to cognitive behavioural interventions for adults with long-term conditions and medically unexplained symptoms? A systematic review. Ansiedad y Estres, 26(2/3), 188-201.
Sanders, S., Coppin, S., Moulson, H., Meola, J. & Meyrick, J. (2020).
Miss Deborah Olanrewaju
Assistant Psychologist – General Medicine
Miss Olanrewaju is an assistant psychologist working in General Medicine within Clinical Psychology Services.
She holds BSc in Health Psychology and MSc Health Psychology.
Her clinicial interests include systemically working with children to support their needs and also working with the adult population to improve health outcomes and increase the awareness of the effects of mental health on physical health.
Mr Simon Lynch
Simon completed training to be a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist in 2007. Since this, he has worked full time in different psychological therapy roles within the National Health Service (NHS).
Simon has completed further training in group Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) which he practices with people who have long term health conditions.
A physical health problem will affect different people in different ways. However, there are some common themes in the individuals we work with.
The list below describes some common difficulties that people want help with when they are referred to our team:
- Depression, worry, anxiety or panic
- Disturbed sleep
- Loss of confidence
- Coping with changes to appearance
- Role changes, identity or self-image issues following illness or injury
- Coping with adjustments at work or at home
- Trauma following a serious medical event, or related to a long-term health condition
- Loss of independence or physical function
- Fears about asking for help
- Improving social skills and confidence after a health change or injury
- Fear of illness getting worse or coming back
- Difficulty finding meaning in life following a serious or disabling health problem
- Coping with treatment regimens which interfere with daily life
- Stress related too living day to day with the demands of symptoms, medications or extra appointments
Our service offers outpatient appointments. We currently do not provide home visit appointments or inpatient support. We provide different ways of accessing therapy which include face-to-face in the hospital setting, working remotely via the telephone or via video link. This will be discussed with you at your assessment.
At the first appointment, we will ask questions about your health condition and the impact it is having on your life. You’ll be asked to complete some questionnaires that help us to understand your issues better. This appointment lasts between 45 minutes to one hour, and we will decide together whether our service is appropriate, and you will be placed on our waiting list for therapy. Alternatively, you may be signposted to another service, offered a group intervention or advised to explore self-help options. Whichever outcome, we will think about what you can do in the meantime to improve your wellbeing.
Our team uses a range of approaches, as recommended by NICE guidelines, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Mindfulness. Therapy is structured and usually lasts between 8-12 sessions, though can take up to 20 sessions for more complex presentations.
We are located on the ground floor of the Clinical Sciences Building, with the entrance opposite A&E.
You should receive a map with your appointment letter which will include the location of our car parks.
The most convenient car park for accessing the Clinical Sciences Building is the North car park.
Please be mindful that there can be queues for parking at times so allow plenty of time to get to your appointment.
There is wheelchair-friendly access to the building via a ramp. Please let us know if you require any other adjustments to enable you to access the building.
Use this link to access directions to Salford Royal.
We work closely with medical and allied health professionals in each team to deliver high quality psychological care alongside medical care. We are not medical doctors and do not prescribe medication. Please see each speciality for further information.
Please note that we are not a crisis team, and we are not able to provide on-the-day appointments. If you feel that you need urgent mental health support, or you do not feel able to keep yourself safe, then please contact your or GP, your local crisis team or attend A&E. If you are an inpatient at Salford Royal, or you do attend A&E, then you may be referred to our department of Clinical Health Psychology as an outpatient and we offer psychological therapy for adults who would like support with their psychological issues connected to their physical health difficulties.
Referrals are accepted for people aged 18 years or over, or 16-17 years if not in full-time education. There is no upper age limit providing the criteria for referral are met, although in some circumstances an Older Adult Mental Health Team may be appropriate for people over the age of 75.
We ask that referrals are made by a qualified medical professional or a member of staff who is part of an allied health profession via EPR or by letter via email or post.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss a referral or a patient’s psychological wellbeing.
We are unable to accept referrals for people who:
- Do not have a diagnosed health condition – at present we do not work with people who have medically unexplained symptoms or disorders that may be referred to as “factitious,” such as factitious dermatitis.
- Suffer from head injuries, dementia or neurological problems
- Are already taking part in psychological therapy elsewhere. Under some exceptional circumstances it may be necessary to receive treatment with another mental health team at the same time as undergoing therapy at the Department of Clinical Health Psychology, e.g. when a person is already being seen by a Community Mental Health Team, Substance Misuse Team etc.
- We are happy to receive referrals for people with a learning disability as well as a health condition. We are unable to accept referrals for individuals who only wish to focus on issues connected with their learning disability.
Due to a very high demand in our service, we regret that there are waiting lists. Due to this there will be a delay before people are offered their first appointment.
There are lots of different resources that can be helpful in supporting you to make changes with regards to various physical health difficulties.
Here are a few of those that you might find useful.
You can also find some resources that can be helpful for aspects of mental health and wellbeing such as mood, anxiety and sleep.
Arthritis: A Practical Guide to Getting on With Your Life
This book explains how to manage the condition by becoming an ‘expert patient’.
Diabetes and Wellbeing: Managing the Psychological and Emotional Challenges of Diabetes
The guide takes an explicitly CBT approach to motivate individuals with diabetes in essential self-care tasks.
Dermatology - Skin Support
Psychological based information and self-help resources aimed at helping/ educating those with different skin conditions on various topics such as: anxiety management and living with a skin condition. Information also available for carers and family members.
Diabetes - Diabetes.org.uk
Practical information regarding meal plans, exercise, coping with emotions regarding your diabetes.
Ear, Nose and Throat - British Voice Association
Leaflets on educating about the condition and managing anxiety, treatment plans and support.
Asthma - Asthma.org.uk
Practical information regarding meal plans, exercise, coping with emotions regarding your Asthma.
COPD - Asthma + Lung UK
Psychological based information and self-help resources aimed at helping/ educating those with various lung conditions (such as COPD, lung cancer etc) on various topics such as: anxiety management and depression.
Rheumatology - The National Rheumatoid Arthiritis Society
Psychological based information and self-help resources/ booklets aimed at helping/ educating those with Arthiritis on various topics such as: coping with difficult emotions.
Here is some information that might help you to understand why you are feeling the way you are.
The physical symptoms resulting from a physical health condition can affect the way you think, feel and behave, and in turn your thoughts and feelings can affect your body.
This is known as the mind-body link:
This mind-body link can have negative effects. For example, someone may feel anxious or stressed (emotion) and notice their physical health condition gets worse (physical symptoms). They may have thoughts like “I won’t let it beat me” or “I am weak if I give in” (thought) and therefore push themselves to do more (behaviour). However, this may then increase the person’s stress or anxiety, thereby further worsening their physical symptoms. The person may then become stuck in a vicious cycle.
The mind body link can also have positive effects and you can use the mind -body link to help look after your health. For example, when using relaxation techniques such as listening to calming music, mindful breathing or meditating, you may feel less tense and reduce stress. The physical effects will include slower breathing or lower blood pressure. This is the mind-body link having a positive effect on your physical and mental state.
The department is made up of clinicians from a number of psychology professions who use a variety of psychological therapies. We all take into account the mind-body link but might work with this in slightly different ways. Some of our clinicians have the title of ‘Dr’ but they’re not medical doctors, and they don’t prescribe medication. All our clinicians use talking therapies, which look at helping you to make positive changes to your life. These might be changes in behaviour (things you do), changes in your cognitions (the way you think), or changes in your relationship with yourself, or with other people. It is likely to also include exploring some of your past experiences, and how these have impacted on you. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to talk about everything you’ve experienced.
Your clinician will listen carefully to you and try to help you make sense of your experiences and your difficulties. Together, you will agree the best way to try and support you and make a plan of action. You will usually be asked to try out different strategies, or reflect on what you’ve spoken about in sessions, at home in between appointments. We follow national guidance in terms of the most effective models or approaches to use for different difficulties. We will also consider any previous experiences you have had of psychological treatments, and any preferences that you have.
Below are some of the different psychological therapies that our clinicians may be trained in:
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy is a therapeutic approach used within the Clinical Health Psychology department at Salford Royal. ACT, pronounced as the word ‘act’ aims to help people learn to live a meaningful life while effectively managing the struggles that life inevitably brings, especially if living with a health condition.
What does it involve?
- Learning psychological skills such as mindfulness - to help us manage painful thoughts and feelings effectively so that they no longer have such an impact or influence over us
- Gaining clarity as to what is important and meaningful in our lives i.e., our values, and using this as motivation to make changes for the better.
Overall, rather than trying to control or get rid of our struggles, we can use ACT to learn to live life now and fully with and not in spite of our struggles.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and actions are all connected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle.
CBT aims to help you deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them into smaller parts. You are shown how to change these negative patterns to improve the way you feel. It looks for practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis. Although CBT cannot cure the physical symptoms of conditions, it can help people cope better with symptoms.
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)
CFT is a kind of talking therapy. It is particularly useful for people who experience high levels of shame and/or self-criticism. This might include people who find it difficult to trust others, or those who find it hard to show kindness towards themselves or accept it from others. CFT draws on lots of different ideas and techniques to help you learn how to be more compassionate towards yourself, and to feel safe and capable in a world that can seem overwhelming. It involves learning new skills and trying out different strategies and practicing these in between each session.
Some of our clinicians use aspects of mindfulness within their individual sessions with people. Mindfulness helps people who have a long-term health condition to develop paying attention to the here and now and to what is going on in the body and mind and the world around us. We can often get into negative patterns of thinking which affect our mood and behaviour without even realising it. Mindfulness can help us develop a better awareness of the way the mind works in relation to health conditions, which helps us notice what is happening in the moment, allowing us to choose different responses to difficult or unhelpful automatic reactions.
Eye-Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is a psychotherapeutic approach, initially destined for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Shapiro, 1989). Several clinicians in the department are trained to deliver Eye-Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR). NICE guidance recommends this therapy for trauma and many individuals have some trauma or adversity in their past and this can complicate their adjustment to a physical health condition. We also know that medical treatments and admissions can be traumatic in themselves. During your assessment, your psychological specialist will decide whether the EMDR treatment protocol is likely to help. Some people with early trauma may be referred to primary care psychological services if the trauma is unrelated to health adjustment.
As a service, we pride ourselves on being inclusive. We are aware that illness and disease affect everyone and we will strive to offer a responsive and sensitive service to you whatever your lifestyle or faith, and take account of your cultural and linguistic needs. We are also open to receive feedback on our service to continually improve and encourage those of you who have attended the department to let us know your experiences and any ideas you have.