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Preparing for CBT – online sessions

Making the most of your CBT

Many people waiting for CBT:

  • Find it hard to stop worrying or dwelling on problems
  • Find that life isn’t all that fulfilling
  • Feel down, on edge or overwhelmed

The CBT preparation sessions delivered by First Step are specifically designed to help with these typical experiences. These are two hour, online sessions delivered by experienced cognitive behavioural therapists (CBT). The sessions are open to people who are waiting to access CBT with First Step, as a way to prepare them to make the most of treatment and to learn ways to start to improve their wellbeing straight away.

The sessions are delivered to a group of people, all waiting for one to one CBT. Although delivered to a group of people, the sessions are not group therapy and you will not be expected to discuss your problems and are able to remain anonymous to other participants throughout.

Evidence from other services suggests that attending the sessions have helped people get more out of their one to one CBT and as a result are less likely to drop out of treatment. Evidence also suggests that if people complete both the sessions and their one to one CBT, they make a better recovery compared to people who only attend CBT. In order to access these sessions patients will have been assessed by a practitioner as suitable to attend. The sessions will be delivered virtually using an online secure system. All you will need is a computer, laptop or other device such as a smart phone or tablet and an internet connection. Participants may use a confidential ID number and will not be asked to switch on their camera.

Attending the sessions will help you to:

  • Learn some effective coping strategies and tips to improve your emotional health
  • Learn about key principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Be well prepared to make the most of your CBT when you start therapy

Manage your Mind
The “Manage your Mind” session focuses on problematic ways of thinking (like excessive worry), how this causes anxiety and low mood, and how to prevent this from taking over your life. This session may be helpful if you tend to be troubled by your own thoughts.

Self-help booklet for the “Manage your Mind” session (835kB)

Do What Matters
The “Do What Matters” session focuses on common obstacles to living a fulfilling life and achieving your personal goals. This session may be helpful if you feel ‘stuck’ and feel low in mood.

Self-help booklet for the “Do what matters” session (1Mb)

Cope with your Feelings
The “Cope with your Feelings” session focuses on strategies to deal with overwhelming emotions and physical symptoms. This sessions may be helpful if you constantly struggle with emotions.

Self-help booklet for the “Cope with your feelings” session (865kB)

Frequently asked questions

What will happen when I log in?
You will be sent the details in advance to log in to the online consultation system. Once you are logged in, you be asked to provide either your name or confidential ID number. You will then be welcomed by the session facilitators. You will be able to see the session facilitators throughout, however you will be able to switch off your own camera for privacy. They will ask you to complete a brief questionnaire prior to the session every time. The session will start promptly at the advertised time.

What will I have to do?
During the session, you will not need to say anything and the material is presented in a teaching style. However, you are welcome to make comments or ask questions or to clarify anything and there will always be time at the end for any questions you may have. You will never be asked to talk about yourself or your difficulties.

We ask that all group participants are respectful of others in the sessions, and this means that we ask everyone to keep the information provided within the group.

We will always have a comfort break during the sessions.

Do I need to do anything before the sessions?
You will be sent an online questionnaire prior to the sessions starting. It is important that you complete this each time you attend. If you have any questions about using the online consultation system, practitioners will be happy to speak to you before the sessions to guide you through this process.

Who else will be there?
There may be around 12 people attending the sessions, who will have similar problems to you. They are people who have been referred to First Step and will have been assessed as suitable for the sessions and are on the CBT waiting list. On occasion, other First Step Practitioners may attend to observe the sessions so they can run future sessions.

How long do the sessions run for?
Each session is two hours long, with a 10 minute refreshment break.

What happens if I am late or if I can’t make it?
If you cannot attend the sessions you will need to let us know in advance. If you don’t contact us this may affect you being offered one to one treatment.

If you decide that you do not want to attend the sessions and you inform us in advance, you will still remain on the waiting list for one to one CBT treatment.

What if I have questions?
If you have any questions, we would be happy to hear them. You can ask questions throughout the sessions, but often people find it easier to wait until the break or the end of the session and ask then. We can’t guarantee to know the answers, but if we don’t, we will try to find out for you!