Psychology service for inherited cardiovascular diseases

Families come to the Inherited Cardiovascular Diseases clinics for different reasons.Some children and young people may have symptom that the doctors are trying to better understand, some may have already been given a diagnosis of a heart condition, and others may be having screening tests because of a possible heart condition in the family.

All of these situations can present different challenges. The Psychology service is here to help children, young people and their families in times of difficulty. We listen to your concerns and try to find a helpful way forward

What kind of things do we talk about?

What we talk about depends on what is most important to you and your family at the time of the meeting. Often children and young people talk about worries about their health, the impact of symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain, and fainting on their lives, and the challenges they are facing in managing treatment or coming to hospital for tests. Some families have suffered a close bereavement or traumatic experience and choose to talk about the impact of this. In our work we always think about how these challenges have affected the whole family.

How do we work?

We are normally available to meet you during your visit to the hospital to see the doctor. If you are new to the service or you have recently been given a diagnosis, we will try to meet you to introduce ourselves and explain our role within the team. We can meet with children and young people themselves, as well as their parents, carers and siblings. Sometimes we meet with people in the family individually and sometimes we meet with the family altogether; we can work out together what would be most helpful. You can ask to speak to us at any point. You can arrange this by speaking to a member of the healthcare team who can let us know on your behalf that you and/or your family would like to talk with a psychologist. You can also contact us directly by telephoning the Psychology Service reception on 020 7405 9200 extension 5166.

What will happen when I meet the psychologist?

We try to learn from you about how coming to hospital impacts on your life and how you would like to manage any problems that concern you. We aim to build on your strengths and help you to draw on the resources and skills you already have. Most people say that as the appointment goes on they gradually feel more comfortable with talking. At the end of the appointment you and the psychologist will make a plan together, which might involve agreeing to meet again or to talk over the telephone. If you live far away, we can look at options for support closer to home, if you would like us to do this.


We work closely with your doctor and specialist nurse and always let them know that we’ve seen you. We often think as a team as well about the best way of supporting you. You can let us know if there are issues you would prefer not to be shared with the wider team. However, if we are worried about a child or adult’s health and safety, we are legally bound to inform the relevant agencies. We would discuss that with you at the time if relevant.

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Compiled by:
The Psychology Service in the Inherited Cardiovascular Disease team in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group
Last review date:
June 2016