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. 

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 a stress disorder caused by experiencing or witnessing life-threatening events. People who can develop PTSD include survivors of sexual assaults, serious physical assaults, serious road traffic accidents and victims of other ‘single incident’ traumas. PTSD can develop in the weeks after experiencing a traumatic event, or it can occur months or even years later.

The TSS also provides 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.

We also provide teaching, training and supervision to other services within the Trust who support people with PTSD, and conduct a range of research activities in the areas of trauma and recovery.


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.


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.


The Traumatic Stress Service has helped me to achieve many things in my life, and also with my family. When my friends see me now they see the change in me.

That was the hardest part for me…admitting that I had a problem. Since then, it has been difficult getting through the treatment but the end result is my life has become more manageable.

The doctor asked me several times to recall the incident which happened. It was really difficult to confront this memory. It was so distressing talking about the past that I wanted to leave, but after a few sessions, I started to use the treatment techniques at home and I realised that what the doctor had told me was helping me to deal with my memories of the incident.

When the doctor said that he wanted me to talk about what happened in the past, I was not willing to do it. But after he explained that it would help to talk about the past, I agreed. I told the doctor I would only talk about what I was able to. It was very difficult in the beginning but it got easier.

My advice would be to continue coming to the treatment sessions and not to stop. It will be difficult at first, but they will get results and feel much better in themselves if they finish the whole course of treatment, and they need to have patience.

It’s hard getting it out of you, and bearing your soul so to speak, but it is definitely worth it.