Preparing for CBT Groups

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    Preparing for CBT - Group Session

    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 seminars delivered by First Step are specifically designed to help with these typical experiences. These are 2 hour, conference style seminars delivered by experienced cognitive behavioural therapists (CBT). The seminars 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.

    Evidence from other services suggests that attending the seminars 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 seminars and their one to one CBT, they make a better recovery compared to people who only attend CBT.

    Attending the seminars 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

    You can choose to attend any or all of the 3 seminars, each of which covers a different topic.


    The “Manage you Mind” seminar 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 seminar may be helpful if you tend to be troubled by your own thoughts.

    Self-help booklet for the “Manage your Mind” seminar


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

    Self-help booklet for the “Do what matters” seminar


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

    Self-help booklet for the “Cope with your feelings” seminar

    Although attending the sessions in person is likely to be most beneficial, for people that cannot attend the groups, a recording of the session content is available at the links below.

    Click on these links for video presentations of the three preparation sessions:





    What will happen when I get there?

    You will be welcomed by the seminar facilitators who will take your name. They will ask you to complete a brief questionnaire every time. The seminar will start promptly at the advertised time. After each seminar you will be asked to complete an evaluation form. This allows us to review the seminars, and make changes if we need to.

    What will I have to do?

    During the seminar, you will not need to say anything and the material is presented in a conference style. At the same time you are welcome to make comments or ask questions or to clarify anything. You will never be asked to talk about yourself or your difficulties.

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

    You are welcome to bring a drink or light refreshments.

    What will I have to bring?

    You will be sent a questionnaire prior to the seminar starting, and will be given one to take away each seminar. It is important that you complete this and bring it back and hand it to one of the facilitators.  Don't worry if you forget, we will have spares.

    You are welcome to bring a pen and paper to make notes if you want, but all the accompanying booklets can be downloaded here.

    Who else will be there?

    There may be around 20 people attending the workshop, who will have similar problems to you. They are people who have been referred to First Step in the same way you have, and will have been assessed as suitable for the seminars and are on the CBT waiting list.  On occasion, other First Step Practitioners may attend to observe the sessions so they can run future seminars.

    How long do the workshops run for?

    Each seminar is 2 hours long, with a 10 minute refreshment break. The series of seminars is three sessions long, and you can attend all three or pick and choose depending upon your needs.

    What happens if I am late or if I can't make it?

    If you cannot attend the seminars 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 seminars and you inform us in advance, you will still remain on the waiting list for one to one CBT treatment.

    We will start the seminars promptly, but if you are late don't worry, try to come in quietly without disturbing others. The facilitators will be around in the break if you need to speak to them.

    What if I have questions?

    If you have any questions, we would be happy to hear them.  You can ask questions throughout the seminars, but if you prefer you can wait until the break or the end of the seminar and ask then.  We can't guarantee to know the answers, but if we don't, we will try to find out for you!