Your guide to how therapy works and what to expect from your treatment

What to expect from therapy

You may feel you could benefit from Talking Therapies but are unsure of how the process works or what to expect. 

This step-by-step guide explains what happens when we receive a referral for you. This is a general guide and we will work with you to meet your individual needs.  

If you have any questions, take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). You can also get in touch with our friendly team to talk through any concerns or questions. 

Most people will start with a treatment based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

This video from the mental health charity Mind explains more about what CBT is and how it is different to counselling or forms of therapy and what you can do to get the most out of your treatment with us.

You can also find out more on about CBT on the NHS website (opens in new browser tab)

You can refer yourself by phone on 0300 365 2000 or by completing our online form.  

Tell us as early on as possible if you have any communications needs or preferences that we need to consider during your treatment, such as:

  • An interpreter
  • Information in alternative formats such as large print, Braille or language other than English
  • Speech or hearing difficulties that require a Deaf therapist or other adaptations
  • Preferences for therapy delivered in a certain format e.g. by phone, by video on in-person

We welcome referrals for adults of all ages who are over the age of 17 and registered with a Berkshire GP – and we have no upper age limit. 


We will be in touch within 1 or 2 days to arrange a time to talk to you about your situation and organise a wellbeing assessment with one of our therapists. 

Our calls may appear to be from a withheld number. We may also write to you asking you to call us to book your first appointment. 

If we can’t make contact with you within 7-10 days we may have to close your referral on this occasion but you can always open a new one by calling us back on 0300 365 2000. 

Getting help early can help you recover and get your life back on track more easily so we do encourage you to take that first step, however daunting it can be.

If Talking Therapies isn't quite right for you at this time, we may transfer your care back to your GP, or suggest another service that could be a better match for you.

Before we can suggest a treatment, we'll first offer you a Wellbeing Assessment once you're referred to us.

Your Wellbeing Assessment will generally take about 40 minutes. We can do this by call, or through a virtual video consultation.

We’ll talk you through a couple of questionnaires, which will help us understand the difficulties you’re having, and how we may be able to best support you.

You can complete these before your appointment if you want to take a bit more time to think about your answers.

Read a copy of the Are you depressed (PHQ9) and Are you anxious GAD7) questions

We’ll ask you to complete these questionnaires before each appointment that you have, to help us keep track of your progress.

If you have a long-term physical health condition, such as diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), we may ask you to complete an additional questionnaire.  

At the end of your Wellbeing Assessment, we’ll discuss the different treatment options we think may help you.

In some cases we may ask that you speak to another member of our team for further assessment to make sure you get the right support.

We aim to complete your wellbeing assessment within 28 days of your first contact with us. 



Your therapist will discuss your treatment plan with you. This plan will be based on your individual needs and may be delivered online, by phone, by video call or in-person depending on your situation and what works for you. 

We will ask you to complete questionnaires to track your progress and measure your recovery.

You may also be set tasks to complete between sessions to help you gain insight into how you're thinking and acting and make changes that help your recovery.

The exact number of sessions, and your expected waiting times, will depend on the main reason that brings you to therapy and the type of support you need. 

We’ll continue to review how you’re doing and work with you to make any changes to your treatment plan.

Most people start out with some self-directed support - with help from one of our therapists - either working through an online therapy programme, following a workbook with set tasks or watching a series of weekly videos. 

Most of our patients start a course of treatment with us within six weeks. You may have to wait longer than this if you are stepped up to a more specialist, intensive, type of therapy however. 

To help you make the most of both your appointments and therapy support, we encourage you to:

  • Ask us questions if you don’t understand a term or phrase we’ve used, or if you’re unsure what happens next
  • Make your treatment aims as clear as possible, as working towards a goal can help boost your confidence
  • Make notes about your sessions, to help you remember what we’ve discussed with you and what you need to do next
  • Keep your notes and sheets organised, such as in a folder or a notebook
  • Plan time each week to complete any activities we’ve suggested for you
  • Bring reading glasses if you need them

It’s important that you’re able to concentrate on your session as much as possible.

We can’t treat you if you are distracted or intoxicated – e.g. driving while on the phone, talking to other people, or affected by alcohol or drugs.

You can find out more about what happens in appointments on our Talking Therapies Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If we think you would benefit from further support, we may refer you to other services from Berkshire Healthcare, or other teams from different hospitals and care centres.

We’ll talk to you about these options and guide you on how this support can help you.

Depending on your treatment, it may also be appropriate to arrange for a follow-up to see how you are maintaining your recovery after your treatment has finished.

Once you have finished your treatment with us we may contact you to recommend other services that can help you maintain the progress you have made in therapy or give you further support for your emotional wellbeing.

If you would find it helpful, we can put you in touch with our peer support networks SHaRON (Support Hope and Recovery Online Network) and with HealthMakers to help maintain your progress, connect with others and stay well. 


We aim to keep our waiting times as short as possible. If you can’t make your appointment, we kindly ask that you contact our team as soon as you can so that we can offer the time to someone else.  

We require at least two days’ notice if you need to cancel your appointment, so that it can be re-allocated. 

Call 0300 365 2000

Unfortunately, we may need to close your referral if you don’t attend without letting us know first or if you don't give us enough notice.

You can find more information about booking appointments and therapy options on our Talking Therapies Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)