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Here are a few of the things people often ask about therapy with ieso

Find out everything you need to know about our treatment, how to access it, the therapy site and more.

People often ask us...

If you don't see your question here, get in touch with us via the contact details at the bottom of the page. We'll be glad to help.

How long before I feel better?

ieso doesn’t provide a pre-set number of sessions. We offer you the right number of sessions needed for your treatment. Practicing the CBT techniques, you will learn between therapy sessions will help you feel the benefit more quickly. But, as a rough guide, we can typically address mental health issues like anxiety and depression in 4-8 sessions.

What is the therapy site? Is it hard to use? 

The site is simple to navigate, so even if you don’t consider yourself an expert in technology, if you can use the internet you’ll be okay. Our therapy is accessible via computer, tablet or smartphone. When you first log into the ieso therapy site there are helpful guides which you may wish to read before you start your therapy sessions, including “Online CBT with ieso”. Our Patient Services team are available to help if you have any issues with the therapy site, Monday-Friday, 9am-5:30pm.

What is CBT?

-It’s a very effective therapy technique. CBT – ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ – is an effective psychological treatment for moderate and severe depression and one of the most effective treatments for anxiety and other common mental health issues. CBT helps you make sense of your problems by breaking them down into smaller parts, so it’s easier to notice the effect that some of your thoughts (cognitions) have on what you do (behaviours).

- It’s fast-acting. CBT tends to have impact in a much shorter amount of time than other talking therapies. And, if you’re motivated and can spare time to complete tasks between sessions, it can often affect as little as four sessions.

- And it’s very practical. Unlike some other talking treatments, CBT is very practical and focuses on 'here and now' problems and difficulties. Instead of looking for the causes of the symptoms you’re feeling, it looks for ways of improving them. CBT involves learning practical skills for managing your difficulties that you then practice in real life, helping you cope better long after your therapy has ended.

What is a clinician?

A clinician working with ieso will be a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner or a CBT Therapist. These clinicians work with different symptoms and presentations. This can be dependent on what you would like to focus on as part of your therapy journey. All our clinicians are accredited with the BABCP or equivalent. You can review their accreditation with the BABCP at any time.

What happens after treatment?

After your therapy sessions have ended, you’ll be able to log in to the ieso site for 20 years after discharge, allowing you to access all of your sessions, messages and goals to remind yourself of the skills you’ve learnt. If you find yourself feeling worse again or experiencing new difficulties, you can go back and use this information. However, you are welcome to return to therapy if you are still struggling. *

*Provided you’re still registered with a GP in an area where we’re contracted by the NHS.

What should I do in a health crisis?

Call Samaritans on 116 123 if you need to talk to someone.

Call 111 if you are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Call 999 or go to A&E if your life is at immediate risk.

How does ieso prepare you for the end of treatment?

Your clinician will help you prepare for ending therapy so that you feel confident to continue developing your CBT skills independently. Towards the end of therapy, you may be asked to lead the sessions more to help build your confidence. During your final session, you will create a plan that works for you and that will maintain your progress and enable you to cope with any setbacks.

Typed or video therapy - What's the difference?

ieso provides therapy in two forms: Typed therapy, and – in some areas – video therapy. Both are one-to-one and tailored to suit your needs.  

The main difference is that in video therapy, you will speak to, see and hear your clinician via video, while typed therapy uses typing via live chat (much like a text conversation). Both video and typed therapy take place in your secure therapy room, and they use the same CBT techniques and involve weekly 30–60–minute sessions with your clinician.

Both have benefits and suit different people. If you’re self-referring and video is available in your area, external clinicians will assess you and decide whether typed or video will be more effective.

Please note we have limited spaces for video therapy. In video therapy, your sessions are retained as an audio file for you to refer to at a later date, rather than in text. We do not retain the video.

If you’re being referred to us by your GP, your local IAPT service will assess you and recommend the best type for you.

Can I treat myself with self-help materials?

Self-help materials like videos or journaling can certainly help treat common mental health issues. However, lots of people find they feel better much quicker with ieso therapy because it’s:  

  • One-to-one: With the support and guidance of weekly sessions with your clinician it’s easier to stick to your treatment plan.
  • Personalised and targeted: Our therapy isn’t one-size-fits-all. We specifically tailor it to suit your needs.
  • Faster: Because it’s more targeted, it’ll usually take less time.
How does access through the NHS work?

In many areas of the UK our service is free for NHS patients. 

You can quickly check here if our therapy is available in your area.
If it is, then you simply have to visit your GP to ask them to refer you to us, or – in some areas, such as Surrey, Rotherham, Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney – you’ll be able to save time and refer yourself directly.

How long do I have to wait for my first appointment? 

You will receive an SMS with a link to select a session time that suits you, and to book your first session with your clinician.  All future sessions after your initial one will be arranged and confirmed with your clinician via messaging in the therapy room. Nothing else will be required of you (other than to make a note in your own diary of the day and time agreed with your clinician). Your first session is usually a maximum of 10 working days from sign-up (though in very busy periods it can take a little longer).

Why do I have to do questionnaires?

We totally understand that when you just want some help, completing questionnaires can be frustrating. We wish there was another effective way. Unfortunately, we can’t safely allocate you a clinician and start your treatment until all the assigned questionnaires are complete.

‍The questionnaires help your clinician understand you and your current state of mind. And they’ll help you to check your progress and flag up any problems. The NHS also requires everyone to complete these questionnaires. This is why, throughout your therapy, you'll be asked to complete the questionnaires before each session.

Where will I meet my clinician?

You will meet your clinician via the secure ieso therapy site in your personalised therapy room at a time that suits you, so you can attend treatment sessions from wherever you want. This means you won't have to travel, take time off work or explain your situation to your employer.

I've signed up for therapy - what happens now?

The time it takes from sign-up to first session with a qualified clinician is usually around 10 days (although in very busy periods it can take a little longer).

As soon as you’ve been referred or have self-referred to us, you’ll be able to create and activate your ieso account and complete a self-assessment.

We’ll then check we have all the information we need to match you with a clinician. We ask that you provide this information to make sure ieso is a suitable service for the support you need. Information we require include:

  • Details of your GP
  • Your home address and a few other personal details that we collect on behalf of the NHS
  • Your mobile number
  • When you’re available to have sessions
  • Your completed self-assessment questionnaires

Once we’ve checked your information and are sure this is the right service for you, you will be sent an SMS link to book your first session. 

(If our service isn’t suitable for you for any reason, we’ll contact you to explain why and give you details of a local service that can help.)

How will I receive messages from my clinician? 

As we’re an online therapy service, the communication you have with your clinician is through written messages on our therapy site.  

In your dedicated online therapy room, you will attend your regular sessions, but you can also send and receive messages and documents with your clinician outside of your sessions, so every message and document can be easily found in one place.

You will receive SMS updates when a session is booked / or cancelled and reminders to complete your questionnaires.

When can I schedule my appointment?

Session appointments are available 7 days a week, from 6am – 11pm so you can find a time that works best around you and your current commitments. It may be helpful when booking your first session to find a regular time that fits around your daily commitments, as this will likely be your ongoing session time for future sessions.

Can I attend sessions from abroad?

We have a duty of care to operate within UK clinical safety standards/boundaries, and it is not possible to ensure access to support and emergency services outside the UK should these are needed. For this reason, we ask that therapy is only accessed from within the UK.

By sharing patient data with ieso for research, you help us help you and others

Click on the questions to find out more about our research, the way we use and protect patient data, and the choices our patients have.

What have we learned from ieso research so far?

The research we’ve conducted has delivered breakthroughs in our understanding and treatment of mental health conditions. For example, we have:

  • Proven that online, typed therapy is as effective as face-to-face therapy.
  • Identified specific elements of therapy that are associated with better patient outcomes.
  • Developed an algorithm that can identify different types of depression from patients’ mental health measures. We are using this to develop and test targeted, precision therapies that are more effective at treating depression.
  • Built models that use health, care and socio-demographic data to predict patients’ pathways to recovery, and identify patients who are in need of additional support.
  • Demonstrated that the healthcare and societal costs caused by therapy wait-list delays are much greater than the cost of delivering therapy.

We want the knowledge generated by our research to benefit as many people as possible. We therefore publish our findings in peer-reviewed scientific journals and share our work with our patients, the public, researchers, clinicians, policymakers, the NHS, and other global healthcare providers and payers.

In this way, our research contributes to continually improving the mental healthcare delivered by ieso and other providers, and we can evidence to our patients the value they add to mental health science and treatment by sharing their health and care data with us for research.

Our scientists, clinicians and experts-by-lived-experience are also using the insights from our research to build clinically validated digital products that make effective therapy available to many more people.

What types of research does ieso conduct?

We prioritise research that is likely to deliver benefits for patients. The research we conduct falls into two main categories:

  1. Analysis of routinely collected health and care data

By analysing patterns in the aggregated, de-identified health, care and socio-demographic data routinely collected from our patients as they complete a course of therapy, our scientists and clinicians are able to learn more about the drivers of mental health conditions, why different people respond better to different types of treatment, and how cost effective treatments are for the health system. We use this information to make our existing products and services more effective, and to develop new ones. We also use the insights from our analyses to form new hypotheses about the causes of mental health conditions and treatment response, which we then test with experimental studies and clinical trials.

  1. Research studies and clinical trials

When we want to formally evaluate a new concept or product, we conduct research studies and clinical trials that are designed to test a specific hypothesis. For example, we use research studies and clinical trials when we need to:

  • Evaluate or compare the effectiveness of different therapy protocols;
  • Formally test hypotheses generated by analysing routinely collected health and care data;
  • Develop, test, evaluate and validate the safety and effectiveness of new products.
What choices do ieso patients have?

All our patients receive the highest quality of care. This is never affected by the choices a patient makes about sharing their health and care data for research or taking part in a research study or clinical trial.

To protect our patients’ safety, wellbeing and freedom of choice, we comply with (1) local data privacy laws, policies and regulations (2) international standards on data security (e.g., ISO 27001), and (3) Good Research and Clinical Practice guidelines.  

For research that involves analysis of routinely collected health and care data, UK patients can opt out of sharing their confidential patient information for research – either by using the national data opt-out service or by contacting ieso directly.

For research studies and clinical trials, patients and research volunteers must always give their voluntary informed consent before participating. They can choose to withdraw from any research study or clinical trial at any time without giving a reason. To help people decide whether they would like to participate, we provide detailed information about:

  • What is involved;
  • What the benefits and risks are;
  • What personal data will be collected, how it will be used, and how it will be kept safe and secure;
  • How they can stop participating in the research;
  • How and when they can withdraw their data from the research;
  • Who they can speak to if they have any questions or concerns or want to access additional support.

Please see our privacy notices for more information.

How does ieso make sure our research studies and clinical trials are safe?

Whenever patients or research volunteers are invited to participate in a research study or clinical trial, there are potential benefits and risks involved. At ieso, we are committed to ethical research practices that protect the safety, dignity and wellbeing of our patients and research volunteers, and comply with international guidelines on Good Research and Clinical Practice. This means that, before starting a new research study or clinical trial, we seek proportionate ethical review to confirm:

  • The benefits of the research outweigh the risks for our patients and/or research volunteers;
  • Appropriate risk mitigation strategies are in place to reduce the risk of harm;
  • The benefits and risks of the research are effectively communicated to our patients and/or research volunteers, so that their consent to participate is fully informed;
  • Appropriate data management procedures are in place to protect the data collected from our patients and/or research volunteers, and keep it confidential;
  • Appropriate procedures are in place to identify and manage any harmful or adverse events that result from the research.
What is patient data?

Patient data refers to the information in a patient’s health record that we hold and process. It includes information about their:

  • health (e.g., mental health measures; other physical and mental health conditions);
  • care (e.g., therapy delivered; treatment outcomes; other treatment and medication);
  • socio-demographic information (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, geography, work status);
  • contact details (e.g., name, email, address, phone number).

Please see our privacy notices for more information.

How does ieso protect patient data?

We take data privacy extremely seriously. Mental health is deeply personal; we store patient data confidentially, protect it using the highest encryption and security standards, and use it responsibly, in accordance with local laws, regulations and standards. We are committed to being transparent about how we collect, use, retain, share and protect patient data for treatment and research, so that our patients understand the benefits and risks and can make informed choices about how their data is used.

Please see our privacy notices for more information.

Who can see ieso patient data?

The personal information our patients share with ieso is confidential. We collect the minimum amount of data required for specified treatment, safeguarding and research purposes. We minimise access to patient data on a strict need-to-know basis and take steps to de-identify it as much as possible. Patients’ health and care data is only accessed in connection with their personally identifiable information when there is a treatment delivery or safeguarding reason to do so. For example:

Our clinicians, clinical supervisors and patient services team can access a patient’s health and care data alongside the personally identifiable information that is required to deliver therapy to that patient and keep them safe.

  • Our approved scientists and researchers can access de-identified health and care data, that is stored separately from a patient’s personally identifiable information, to carry out research and analysis.
  • Our engineers may access a patient’s personally identifiable information to support with a technical issue with one of our products or services.

We share personally identifiable information about a patient’s health and care with the NHS (in the case of UK NHS patients) or a patient’s referrer (in the case of private UK patients) where there is a contractual requirement to do so to manage treatment delivery and safeguarding. This may include questionnaire scores, progress measures and treatment outcomes. If there is a serious risk of harm to a person, or a requirement by law, we may share a patient’s personally identifiable information with emergency services.

Our general policy is to never share transcripts of the typed conversations a patient has with their clinician or digital guide with anyone outside ieso. In extremely rare circumstances, we may be legally or contractually required to share a patient’s therapy transcripts with the NHS (UK NHS patients), their referrer (private UK patients), or law enforcement bodies, for example in the case of a death, serious harm to a person, or a police-related matter.  

We partner with researchers at universities and other demonstrably trustworthy organisations, who can contribute unique methods and expertise to enable additional research that improves mental health outcomes for more people. We only ever share de-identified or anonymised patient data with external researchers for specified research purposes as set out in legally binding data sharing agreements.

Please see our privacy notices for more information.

Does ieso sell patient data?

No. We never sell patient data or share it for advertising or marketing.

What patient data does ieso retain?

We recognise how important the retention of data is to our patients. The data our patients share with us can be very sensitive and relates to their mental health and personal lives. For this reason, we set our retention policies with care and diligence, informed by best practice guidance from relevant authorities (e.g., the NHS Transformation Directorate's Records Management Code of Practice) and experts-by-lived-experience.

We retain the minimum amount of data required for specified treatment, safeguarding and research purposes, and for specified durations.  

Please see our privacy notices for more information.

Involving patients and the public in how we use their data

Health data is about people, so it is important that people have a say in how it is used.

Health and research organisations, like ieso, are required to comply with laws, policies, regulations and standards that keep patients’ data confidential, safe and secure.

At ieso, we recognise that using patient data in a way that is trustworthy requires us to do more. We are committed to involving patients, experts-by-lived-experience and the broader public in shaping how we use patient data for research, so that we can understand and address their needs, expectations and concerns.

This starts with making sure we provide clear information about how we collect, use, retain, share and protect patient data for treatment and research, so that our patients understand the benefits and risks, and can make informed choices about how their data is used.

We know that we must also keep our dialogue with patients and the public open, so that we can adapt our practices as technological capabilities, regulations and societal expectations evolve. We are committed to continually learning and improving in public.

A note on terminology
Choosing the right term to describe people receiving mental healthcare is a contested area. Some people criticise the use of the term ‘patient’ because they believe it implies a passive relationship with healthcare providers. This has contributed to the use of alternative terms such as ‘client’ and ‘service user’.

Our Lived Experience Partners have recommended that we use the term ‘patient’: when asked, most people receiving treatment for anxiety and depression prefer this term as it is consistent with the terminology used in physical healthcare. As such, it gives parity of esteem to mental and physical health and helps to de-stigmatise mental health conditions. Beyond any one label, those receiving mental healthcare are – first and foremost - people, who deserve agency to navigate their own care.

Contact us
Monday-Friday, 9am-5:30pm

For general enquiries, technical or administrative support, please call our freephone number and speak to a member of our Patient Services Team who are on hand to make your experience as smooth as possible.

Please note, this phone line is managed by an administrative team who are not clinically trained.

In a health emergency:
Call 111 - if you are experiencing mental health crisis and urgently require 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 116 123 - to speak to the Samaritans 24 hours a day  

For corporate enquiries only;
Please contact us here

The Jeffreys Building, Cowley Road
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK, CB4 0DS

Registered in England and Wales
no. 4063351  |  VAT no. 247968939

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