The Woodfield Trauma Service provides treatment for refugees, asylum seekers and forced migrants suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The service is for anyone aged 18 years and over who lives in the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea or Westminster.  

To be eligible for the service you should be assessed as having a primary diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The symptoms of PTSD can start immediately following a trauma or after a delay of weeks or months. It usually appears within six months after the traumatic event. After a traumatic event a person will have understandable emotional reactions such as grief, depression, anxiety, guilt and anger. There are three main types of symptoms a person with PTSD will show:

  • Re-experiencing the event: Re-experiencing the event can include getting ‘flashbacks’ of the event during the day or nightmares during sleep. These are so realistic that it feels like the experience is being lived all over again. People may see images from the event but also the emotions and physical sensations of what happened such as fear, sweating, smells, sounds and pain. Flashbacks can be triggered by everyday things.
  • Avoidance and numbing: Re-living the traumatic event is a distressing experience. People will distract themselves by avoiding people, places and anything that may remind them of the event and they try not to talk about it. Some people try to deal with the pain by trying to feel nothing at all, they become emotionally numb. They will avoid communicating with people and withdraw.
  • Being ‘on guard’: People with a PTSD diagnosis often feel alert at all times and try and constantly look out for danger. They find it difficult to relax. This is called ‘hypervigilance’. They feel anxious and find it hard to sleep, feel jumpy and irritable.

There are some things that you can do to manage symptoms:

  • Concentrate on slowing your breathing
  • Talk to a friend or family member
  • Eat well and exercise regularly
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol or caffeine
  • When you have a flashback, concentrate on a good image or an object nearby or smell something strong like perfume.

This service offers treatment that can help to reduce your symptoms. This includes:

• Learning about your symptoms and teaching you skills to manage them and feel more in control

• Support to help you identify and take steps towards meaningful activities and new goals in your life

• Psychological therapy that focuses on talking about what happened in a way to make it feel like it is in the past. This happens weekly with a therapist for up to 20 sessions.

Treatment follows a stepped-care approach. Service users are offered a specialist PTSD assessment and following this, we work collaboratively to offer treatment in two phases:

Phase 1: Stabilisation: We offer psychoeducation, teach grounding techniques and coping skills, and support patient with any practical needs they might have.

Phase 2: Trauma-focused Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). The patient is supported to talk about the traumatic events that are causing their unwanted memories, to help process these memories and reduce symptoms.

Patients are transferred to the care of their GP as they wait for each stage of treatment, as there is a wait for each. 

We accept referrals for an adult individual:

  • Who has a history of being an asylum seeker, refugee or forced migrant (i.e. having to leave their country of origin because of trauma and danger)
  • Who resides in Kensington and Chelsea or Westminster.
  • Who has a primary diagnosis of PTSD. If the person is showing signs and symptoms of PTSD, we can assess them. If they have a primary diagnosis of psychosis, OCD, substance misuse, the patient would need to receive treatment for that first.
  • Who has practical and emotional stability to attend weekly therapy appointments at our clinic and discuss their trauma history in a structured way, and who is not in crisis.
  • Generally, the trauma will have occurred in the service users place of origin. We will consider referrals from an asylum seeker, refugee or forced migrant who has experienced UK-based trauma.

Download a referral form (opens word document)

We accept referrals from the following:

  • Community Mental Health Teams (now known as Hubs) - please note that referrals from GP surgeries should come via the Hubs.
  • Secondary care psychology services
  • Talking Therapies Services (formerly Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services or IAPT services)

This page has important resources for people who are using the Woodfield Trauma Service. 

Symptom management audio recordings

Below are list of symptom management audio recordings in different languages. 




Bus: 18, 28, 31, 328, 36, 607

Tube: Circle, District, Jubilee, Piccadilly

Train: Overground


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