Traumatic Stress Service

  • The Traumatic Stress Service (TSS) is national specialist service providing care and treatment for people  experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and associated conditions. We provide specialist treatment to people with PTSD who have been affected by terrorist attacks, to service and ex-military personnel, survivors of domestic abuse and trafficking, and refugees and asylum seekers, many of whom have experienced multiple traumas including war, torture and violent bereavements. We work with patients from a wide variety of ethnic groups and many of our patients do not speak English as a first language.

  • Service Type: Adult Community Services
  • Service Contact:
  • Service Category: Community
  • Address: Springfield University Hospital,  Elizabeth Newton Building,  15 Springfield Drive, London, SW17 0YF
  • Reception hours: Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm
  • Reception phone number: 020 3513 5000

About our care

The Traumatic Stress Service is an outpatient service providing assessment, psychological treatment and consultation for people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by experiencing or witnessing life-threatening events. PTSD can develop immediately after someone experiences a traumatic event or it can occur weeks, months or even years later. 

This can include victims of rape and sexual assault, serious physical assaults, serious road traffic accidents and victims of other ‘single incident’ traumas.  The team also provides specialist support to those caught up in terrorist attacks, service and ex-military personnel, survivors of domestic abuse and trafficking, and refugees and asylum seekers, many of whom have experienced multiple traumas including war, torture and violent bereavements.

The services offers therapies including Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR). It also provides teaching, training and supervision to other services within the Trust who support people with PTSD, and conducts a range of research activity in the areas of trauma and recovery.

Who is this service for?

This service is for adults living in the boroughs of Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton, and Wandsworth who have experienced one or more traumatic events in adulthood and have subsequently developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Please see our referral guidelines [pdf] 247KB for more information.

Referrals and access

Unless it is a mental health emergency, local GPs should be the first point of contact if you are struggling with mental health issues. GPs can provide referral to the local Single Point of Access (SPA) teams, who can in turn refer to the Traumatic Stress Service as needed. We are unfortunately unable to accept self-referral by patients.

Referral to the service is also available through your local NHS Talking Therapy services, Integrated Recovery Hubs and specialist mental health services. Referrals from outside the Trust catchment area are possible where funding has been agreed in advance

For healthcare professionals, referrals to the service are made by either completing the referral form or via an assessment report. The referral should include a detailed assessment that covers relevant background and personal history, trauma history and current symptoms. It should also include details of any previous treatment, a risk history and an up-to-date risk assessment.

 See our referral form [docx] 92KB

Patient information

People referred to the service will work alongside the team to develop a plan for their care and treatment. Alongside this, a named healthcare professional will help organise, manage and monitor this plan and will act as a main point of contact.

Treatment is always individually tailored to the patient based on a detailed assessment of their needs. Condition-specific outcome measures are used to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment and the service.


Once your referral is accepted, we will write to you to offer you an assessment appointment. We ask you to confirm by phone or in writing that you can attend.

Assessments normally take place at our clinic in Springfield University Hospital, Tooting, with one of our psychologists. The assessment usually takes 3-4 sessions of 1-1.5 hours, and involves finding out about you and your experiences, and asking you some questions about the problems you are having. The psychologist will also ask you about your current social circumstances and about treatment you have had in the past.

It is not usually important in the assessment to go into a lot of detail about the traumatic events, but the psychologist will ask you to briefly tell them as much as you feel comfortable to say. We will also ask you to complete a number of questionnaires during the assessment, to help us assess the severity and impact of your symptoms.

At the end of the assessment, the psychologist will discuss your case with our team, and then arrange to meet again and give you feedback about your diagnosis and the treatment options.  This is also a chance for you to ask any questions and for the psychologist to explain to you about what treatment may involve, so you can decide if it is something you would like to try.

After the assessment we will write an report back to your GP and your referrer, telling them about the assessment and about what our plan is for your treatment. If it was agreed that the treatments we offer in our service are appropriate for you, your name will then be placed on our treatment waiting list.

If you need any special arrangements, e.g., you require an interpreter, you need wheelchair access or if you would prefer to see either a male or female clinician, then please let us know prior to the assessment so we can organise it.


Trauma-focused Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (Tf-CBT) is the core treatment offered in the service. All our clinicians are also trained to offer Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for PTSD as an alternative evidence-based treatment.

Psychological treatment for PTSD generally includes the following components: psychoeducation, emotion-focused skills training, reclaiming life activities, reliving and reprocessing of traumatic memories, working with distressing beliefs, testing fears with behavioural experiments, gradual exposure to safe reminders of the trauma, returning to the scene and addressing negative core beliefs about the self and others. Treatment is offered in the following formats: standard (12-16 sessions), extended (16-40 sessions) and intensive (18 hours over 5 days).

Treatment is delivered by trained specialist staff using a phased treatment framework. All treatments offered are adherent with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE, 2018 ) guidelines for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), other anxiety disorders, depression, self-harm and personality disorders.


The service routinely collects information to help monitor the effectiveness of the treatments offered. Our outcomes for 2022-24 show that, in terms of PTSD symptoms, 74% of patients who completed treatment reported a significant improvement in their PTSD symptoms, with 61% making a recovery (defined as greater than 50% improvement in their symptoms).

In terms of depression symptoms, 74% of patients reported a significant improvement after treatment, with 50% making a recovery.

Further information

Find more information on PTSD :