What to expect during online CBT

Signing up for online CBT is the first step towards feeling better and getting back to living the life you want to live. However, it is completely normal to feel a whole range of emotions after you have signed up for therapy, including anxiety or apprehension, especially if you don’t know what to expect.

Ieso therapy sessions taking place on a tablet

Once you've registered - what happens now?

Online CBT registration screen
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Complete your questionnaires

Once you have registered for online CBT you will be taken to your homepage. Here you have access to everything you’ll need for your sessions and some tools to help you get the most out of them. There is a short list of questionnaires that you’ll need to complete to help us find you the best therapist for you. There are three short questionnaires and one slightly longer one, but don’t worry, you only need to complete this one once!

Online CBT table of devices
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Tell us your availability

From your homepage you can also tell us your availability for sessions. Online CBT allows you to book appointments outside of normal working hours, so let us know what works best for your schedule and we’ll make sure we find you a therapist that can see you at the times you need.

Online CBT therapists
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Let us find you the right therapist

We will now find you the best therapist to suit your personal needs. This usually takes no longer than 10 working days, although during extremely busy periods it can take a little longer. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you are concerned at all.

Online CBT journey
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Start feeling better

When you have been matched with a therapist, they will send you a message to arrange your first appointment. You will receive an email to let you know when you have a message on your account. Sign into your account to respond to messages and confirm your first appointment.

Starting your online CBT sessions

Sitting on a bench talking to a therapist online

What to expect in your first online CBT session

Your first session will be a chance for your therapist to get to know you. They’ll want to find out exactly what problems you are experiencing and how they are affecting your life. They’ll also want to find out what you would like to get out of your therapy so they can put together the best plan to help you. This involves deciding on some things you’d like to improve and setting some goals you can work towards with your therapist. Don’t worry if you aren’t too sure how to do this, your therapist will be there to help you figure out the most effective goals for you. You can also [read some of our resources on effective goal setting] to get a better idea of where to start.

During your online CBT treatment

Your sessions will be completely unique to you. The activities you complete with your therapist will be focused around your situation, the symptoms you have been experiencing and helping you achieve your goals. In general, your therapist will help you understand some of the symptoms you’ve been dealing with, including what triggers them and what’s causing them to continue. From this, they will develop a plan for your therapy that will include a range of different activities to help you un-learn any negative thought patterns, tackle the difficulties you are currently experiencing and teach you some new coping strategies for different situations or triggers. Before each session you will be asked to complete an additional questionnaire. This shouldn’t take long and is a useful way of understanding key symptoms and tracking your progress.

CBT formulation on a tablet
Lady sat using her laptop

Practise outside your online CBT sessions

What you do between your sessions is also a very important part of CBT. Your therapist will ask you to complete some tasks outside of your sessions and practise what you have learnt, helping you to embed the skills and techniques you learn and to apply them to real life situations. Your therapist will talk you through the kinds of tasks you might be set depending on your personal treatment and will work with you to make sure this is manageable and suitable for you. Your therapist will also talk you through the specifics of any task before it is set and make sure you are fully comfortable with it. If you have any worries about any task at all, please do raise them with your therapist so they can find the best way to help.

Am I eligible for online CBT?

Our service is free for NHS patients in many areas of the UK.

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In an emergency
Call 111 - if you urgently need medical help or advice but it is not a life threatening situation
Call 999 - if you or anyone else is in immediate danger or harm
Call the Samaritans 24 hours a day on 116 123