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What happens after my online CBT sessions finish?

July 4, 2022

There’s a good reason we don’t begin a course of online CBT treatment by deciding how many sessions somebody is going to receive. First of all, everyone progresses at a different pace, and your therapist will review how you’re doing and tailor the treatment as you go along.

Another very important reason is that online CBT is designed to equip you to become your own therapist once you’ve finished your sessions, continuing with what you’ve learned for the rest of your life. Preparing properly for this is a vital part of the process.

You and your therapist will start to prepare for the end of treatment pretty early on, in a collaborative way, and agree together when you’re ready to stop. You’ll never arrive at the final session not knowing it’s your last!

To consolidate what you’ve learned, you’ll write up a Therapy Blueprint together, which includes a summary of everything you’ve covered so you can come back to it in the future. This will involve making a list of the different exercises and tasks you’ve done during your treatment, which ones worked well, and how to do them.

You and your therapist will identify the behaviours that help you, along with those that keep your problems going. You’ll also spend time talking about how to prevent relapses, including potential triggers and setbacks, how to spot the warning signs, and how to help yourself if you’re in that situation. For instance, being aware that certain patterns of thinking tend to lead to low mood means you’ll be able to notice these early enough to nip them in the bud.

This thorough preparation and the Therapy Blueprint you create will provide you with an online CBT ‘toolbox’ that you can open whenever you need to, and use to maintain your progress.

One advantage of typed online therapy is that you’ll have unlimited access to the transcripts of every one of your sessions, so you can read them back any time, and ‘relive’ any exercises or discussions that were particularly effective. It can also be motivating and reassuring if you’re struggling to see that you were able to successfully work through tough times before, and feel better.

Once you’ve finished your treatment, it’s up to you to keep the momentum up. Regularly checking in with yourself and reflecting on how the week has gone and how you’re feeling, much as your therapist will have done, is a good way of doing this. You might want to keep a journal, or talk with a friend or family member about how you’re getting on. Making the most of the support network you have around you is key, as is having regular reviews with your GP if that’s how you came to be referred for online CBT.

It's important to emphasise that setbacks are perfectly normal: online CBT is an ongoing process. Life is complicated, and problems and challenges are bound to pop up! Turn back to your Therapy Blueprint, and remember what worked for you before can help you again. However, if you find you’re really struggling, our door is always open and you’re welcome to come back for further treatment if you need it.

If you have any other questions about online CBT therapy with ieso, you might find the answer here.

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