Well, thanks to Mumsnet, I sought help for my crippling phobia and now I have finally got my appointment through - for the week after next. Trouble is, although the letter names one person, an accompanying leaflet says it is usual to see two people who will talk to me for 40 mins or so and then have a short break together before talking to me again. That seems very intimidating for me and I am really scared about attending. Do you suppose I can insist on only seeing one person so I am less intimidated? The person I am seeing is a CPN. Remind me again what that stands for please! Anyone else gone through this who can reassure me?
Just saw your thread and don't know the background (what is your phobia, if you don't mind me asking?) but thought I might be able to answer some questions.
Initial assessments are made in order to assess the nature of your difficulties and whether there are any urgent issues that need to be addressed (e.g. very low mood), and then to allocate you to a suitable professional within the mental health team. The CPN will not necessarily be your therapist, although in teams I have worked within CPNs often take care of people presenting with 'simple phobias' where there are quite well-defined fears that are not complicated by other problems a person might also be experiencing. Some CPNs are enormously experienced and as good as (if not better than!)the psychologists and psychiatrists in the team.
The number of people in the initial meeting will depend on the way the service choses to work. Some services find it very helpful to work in pairs so that there is someone to 'bounce off' when thinking about what a person said and how to understand their difficulties. They should explain this to you when you arrive: don't let it put you off.
Do remember that all you will do in an initial assessment session is to sit in a room and talk to someone about the things you are finding difficult, answer any questions they might have so that they can understand what you are describing, possibly complete some tick-box questionnaires about your mood and worries (but not in all services), and then hear from them as to how they think you can best be helped.