The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Individual therapy

Individual therapy involves talking to a psychologist one-to-one. It’s sometimes called talking therapy. You’ll think together about the things that you are struggling with, and the goals that you’d like to work towards.

During your initial appointment there will be time for you to talk to one of our psychologists to discuss your situation, and to agree what might help. It can feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but we will do our best to put you at ease. Just arrive for your appointment and we'll take it from there. In the first appointment, we will tell you a bit more about how we work, we will ask you a few questions about how you manage your pain, and see if our service is right for you. It is normal to worry about your first appointment, but you will be surprised how quickly time flies in the initial session.

There are three types of talking therapies that we typically offer:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a very practical, hands-on, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that aims to help the person identify and change patterns of behaviour and thinking that can be unhelpful when living with long-term pain. CBT is a very popular approach, with a good evidence base supporting its use in managing long-term pain, as well as other problems such as depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. For more information about CBT you can visit .

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

The focus of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is creating a rich and meaningful life, while accepting the pain that comes with it. Instinctively, we as humans want to reduce the pain so it becomes a much smaller part of our lives. However, the reality is that this is not always possible. In these circumstances, ACT aims to help people add more to their life, make their life bigger, so the pain becomes more manageable. ACT can help to deal with long-term pain by developing mindfulness and acceptance-based techniques. For more information about ACT you can visit .

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) encourages the person to respond to their pain using skills of compassion. It helps to deal with shame and self-criticism, which often accompany people living with long-term pain. CFT can help to deal with this by developing self-soothing, mindfulness and compassion-based techniques. CFT is a biopsychosocial approach developed to help people understand how their brains and bodies work, and recognise that by design we have "tricky brains". For more information about CFT you can visit . 


Often more than one type of therapy may be beneficial for a person, so do not worry about trying to pick the right one for you. We will discuss your options with you at your first appointment and suggest a treatment plan tailored to your needs.