Emma’s Story

Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT) at Field House, Alfreton

Emma is a patient at Ballington House in Leek, Staffordshire. Ballington House is a specialist rehabilitation service for women with a Mental Illness, Personality Disorder and/or complex needs. The service focuses on psychological input and provides specialist, evidence-based interventions including Trauma focussed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT).


“I have Paranoid Schizophrenia, Psychosis and Depression. I have been hearing voices since I was younger. I’ve been in and out of hospital most of my life. I could sense strange things going on and was sure they were real. I could hear voices saying that my apartment was on fire and I could smell it and thought it was real.

As I got older with my illness the voices got worse and worse. I started harming myself and finding life difficult. I was hearing voices that used to tell me what to do. I became violent and struggled a lot.


I came to Ballington House in the January after being on an acute ward near Manchester. I’ve decided this is the last rehab I am going to be in, let me tell you how I’ve done it. I’ve been here for eight months now and I’ve made a lot of progress.

When I arrived at Ballington House it appeared to me as a posh, lovely place. The apartment was very nice and it was like having my own little place, but with help. The bedroom was nice and it was en-suite. The staff and the patients are lovely, they talk to you if you need it and they point you in the right direction.


I’ve had different medications to try and find one to suit me. Some of them took a while to get used to but the tablets I’m on now are the best ones for me. I had to do a lot of work at Ballington House to get to where I am now. I did group psychology sessions such as stress and anxiety management, OT meaningful activities such as arts and crafts and the group walk. The reading group was good and the exercise group was ok. We have a structured day every day.


I have learnt lots of new skills. I have learnt how to manage money, eat healthily and I have learnt about calories. I have worked with my named nurse on budgeting skill and had 1:1s with the OT.


I have keyworkers that also help and staff are always around for support if you need it.

As I spent time at Ballington House, I realised it wasn’t only about me. I wasn’t on my own with my illness and I learnt to appreciate other people’s illnesses. Talking to peers has been positive for me.

There isn’t anything bad about Ballington House and it is the best rehab I have been in. The days are structured and we learn everyday living skills which will help me to live in the community. In other rehabs I had difficulties in getting motivated after I was there for 10 months with no leave.


Now my care team are looking for a step down service for me. My hopes and goals are to be able to manage my money in the community, keep taking my medication and to continue my daily living skills and have structure in my life. I want to do everything I have learnt at Ballington but in the community. In the future, I want to start looking after animals. If I was to give someone advice about coming to Ballington House, I would tell them to talk to staff or peers, as they are always there to help.”


Click here to learn more about Ballington House.