Spinal Injuries Clinical Psychology Service

Sustaining a spinal cord injury is a traumatic life event which can create a great deal of stress and upset for everyone involved. Most people experience a whole range of emotions, which are entirely normal but may feel difficult to cope with.  Here at the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries (MCSI) we have a dedicated Clinical Psychology service which aims to support both patients and their families to cope in the time following the injury. 

The team are available to talk with patients about any concerns they might have and how they are coping. This can provide an opportunity to talk about losses, fears and worries about the future in a private and confidential setting.  There can be many adjustments that need to take place in life following spinal cord injury. Many people find it helpful to have the opportunity to talk to someone at this time. 

The service supports people with a whole range of different issues, which may impact on someone’s ability to cope with the situation including managing chronic pain, concerns about relationships and sexuality, mental health issues and problems with memory.

At the point of discharge, the department can provide advice for people with a spinal cord injury on how to access support from local services, to ensure that an individual has the required support in their local area.

The Team

Dr Christine Wilson, Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Chris established the psychology service in 1991.  She now manages the team and works Monday –Thursday.


Mrs Mary Watkins, Specialist Psychological Rehabilitation Practitioner

Mary has worked at MCSI since 1999.  She works Monday-Thursday.  Mary organises the Goal Planning Programme within the centre.


Mr Steve McCormack, Peer Counsellor

Steve has worked as a qualified counsellor at MCSI since 1999.  He also has the experience of having a spinal cord injury himself, for many years.   He works one day a week (usually a Tuesday).  Steve meets with patients and families on an individual basis and runs a Patient Group.


Dr Caroline Anderson, Trainee Clinical Psychologist

Caroline joined the team in 2014. She works on Tuesdays and Fridays.


What to expect when meeting with a Clinical Psychologist or Counsellor

The psychologists work as part of the multi-disciplinary team who look after you whilst you are a patient at MCSI.  We meet all new patients admitted to the centre.  The purpose of this meeting to let them know about what we can offer and to think with patients if there are ways that we may be able to support them and their families  , whilst they are in hospital.  We are here to see if there are ways that we can support patients to get through this difficult time.

As we work as part of the multi-disciplinary team, we work with the doctors, nurses and therapists to help to ensure that patients get the most out of their time at the centre.


What else does the Psychology Team do?

In addition to meeting with patients and their families, the Psychology Team also organise the following: 


Goal Planning Programme

When patients are able to get up out of bed and take part in rehabilitation, the Centre operates a Goal Planning System.  Goal Planning allows patients to take an active part in planning and reviewing their own rehabilitation.  The Psychology Team organises regular Goal Planning Meetings for each patient to meet together with their own team to set individualised goals that they can work towards.


Relatives’ Afternoons

Not currently running - please contact team for further information

When someone has a spinal cord injury and needs to stay in hospital for a considerable amount of time, the whole family can be affected.  We organise afternoon sessions that family members are invited to attend, so that they can find out more about spinal cord injury and how the MCSI works with patients to enable them to manage the situation.  This is an opportunity to meet the multidisciplinary team, other families who have also been affected by a similar injury, and at some of these sessions, past patients who have been injured for a year or more, who are happy to talk about how life has been for them since leaving hospital.  There is also a session with representatives from the Spinal Injuries Charities, so that families can find out more about the support that is available to them, outside of the MCSI.



The Psychology Team is involved in ongoing audit to evaluate and develop services within the centre, as well as research.

Contact Us:

Telephone: 01691 404649