​What Should I Expect at PPSS?

By now you will have had your initial assessment, which is usually with a Physiotherapist and either a Psychologist or a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Practitioner. This will have taken around 45 minutes. From the information you gave us in the questionnaire and the answers you gave at the meeting, we will be able to suggest which part of our programme may suit you best.

We may have suggested a programme of group sessions or one-to-one appointments with the professionals in our team. These professionals may help you with things like:

  • Recognising things that trigger flare-ups of your symptoms, and helping you plan your activities to avoid them;
  • Managing stress, anxiety and low mood caused by or adding to your symptoms;
  • Suggesting exercises/stretches to reduce or alleviate symptoms;
  • Managing your pain medication.

The Biopsychosocial Model of Care

At PPSS we use a model of care called the biopsychosocial model. This  model of healthcare recognises that someone’s health and well-being is not just caused by their biology. It is also affected by psychological factors that affect their coping abilities (mood, personality, behavior, etc.), and social factors that support them in terms of the world they live in (family, culture, work, etc.). As part of our support we will help you understand how these elements may contribute to your own experience, and how you can make changes to help you to live better.

Biopsychosocial Model Venn Diagram Physical Symptoms


You may hear the term self-management used a lot. However, self-management doesn’t mean being abandoned to ‘get on with it’ on your own. Support can come from healthcare professionals, family, friends, voluntary organisations or support groups. If pain is having a big impact, symptom management programmes like ours can help people to get their lives back on track. This involves focusing on what’s most important in life to you – this could be relationships, activities, work – and learning how to be more involved in them without flaring-up the pain. Watch this video developed by the  charity Pain Concern to see what this means, and look at our Patient Stories Section to see what happens in practice.

What Self Management means in practice

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Published on 22 Sep 2015

Watch this video from the charity Pain Concern to understand how programmes like the PPSS can help you better manage your symptoms and lead the life you want to.

You may hear some new words and phrases within the PPSS. You can learn more about what these mean in our Glossary of Key Terms.

Tools to Help

As you work with our service, we will give you many tools to help you understand your symptoms and the impact on your life.  Some of these are worksheets we will use in the sessions, and some are links to other sources of support and ideas to help.

You can access these tools direct from the Patient Portal when you log into this website or by clicking wherever you see the "Tools to Help" title, as shown below.

Listening to the stories from other patients who have made a better life by managing their symptoms can help you to understand what you may achieve too.

Patient Tools To Help Listen to Some Patients