Our Stress: Getting the Balance Right Courses are freely available to anyone registered with a GP Practice in South Gloucestershire.

What are the courses like?

Our psycho-educational courses are similar to an evening class or adult learning. There will be one or two course facilitators who will present information, tools and techniques and open up discussions. They are informal and we aim to create a calm, friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

The courses are based on Cognitive Behavioural Theory (CBT). This is a way of looking at our thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and considering what can be done to improve the way we well. It will be fully explained at the beginning of each course.

Have a look at a typical course in the video below:

What will happen when I get there?

Upon arriving you will be welcomed by a member of staff who will ask you which course you are attending and take a note of your name. You will be asked to take a seat in the room where the course is being run, and you will be asked to complete a questionnaire. These questionnaires are confidential and will be fully explained at the start of the course. If you would like any assistance with completing the questionnaire, please do not hesitate to ask a member of staff.

What will I have to do?

The short answer is nothing. While the course facilitators will ask questions to the group as a whole, they will never address anyone specifically. People are free to participate as much or as little as they would like. Here’s a basic list of what we do and don’t do:


  • We don’t do ice-breaker exercises, so you wont have to tell everyone your name, find out about the person sat next to you or say something interesting about yourself.
  • We don’t ask people to share their experiences. While we welcome people sharing and try to encourage discussion, no-one will be forced to participate or say anything.
  • We don’t do group therapy. These are psycho-educational courses, so our aim is to teach people how to overcome or cope with particular emotional difficulties.


  • We do respect that everyone will be attending for different reasons and will have their own range of knowledge and experiences and we ask that people show that same respect to each other.
  • We do acknowledge that coming to these courses can be difficult. For many people, this will be their first experience of anything like this, so we try to be friendly and welcoming. At the start of each course we go through a list of Group Guidelines to alleviate some of the fears people might have.
  • We do try to answer your questions. We will do our best to answer any questions you may have and if we cannot, then we will try to find out for the following session, but we hope that the course content will answer many questions that people have.
  • We do encourage home practice. We encourage people to try some of the things we suggest on the courses as this enables people to try things and then address any difficulties at the next session. However this is not compulsory and we won’t ask anyone why they didn’t try something as we recognise that not all techniques will be suitable for everyone.

What will I have to bring?

The short answer here is also nothing. We provide handouts which summarise the content of the session as well as any worksheets where applicable. These can also be printed on coloured paper or in larger print if required. People are very welcome to bring a pen and notepad if they want to make their own notes as well. On almost all courses, we will have a break for refreshments. These are self-funded so any voluntary contribution to this is very welcome, however if you don’t have any change with you on the day, you are still welcome to help yourself.

Who else will be there?

The Stress: Getting the Balance Right course is  open to everyone who is registered with a GP in South Gloucestershire. People can self-refer which means that they can book a place directly via our website, or contact us to book a place over the phone. Many people will have been referred by their GP, or by a mental health practitioner. What this means is that a wide range of people will be attending the courses. It is perhaps important to state here that they are aimed at dealing with what are known as common mental health problems. These are the types of difficulty that most people face from time to time.

How long do the courses run for?

Our daytime and evening Stress: Getting the Balance Right courses run for three weeks, and each session will last 1 hour 45 minutes. There will be a break about half way through for refreshments for 10 to 15 minutes.

The Saturday courses are 1 day workshops that are 6 hours long with a 30-45 minute lunch break and a couple of shorter tea breaks.

Who runs the courses?

Courses are facilitated by Psychology Practitioners and Assistant Psychology Practitioners from the team at South Gloucestershire Talking Therapies, and sometimes will be co-facilitated by volunteers.

What if I cant make all the sessions?

You need you to commit to coming to the whole course, which means attending each session. If you know in advance that you cannot make a particular session it would be better to book on a different date, please feel free to give us a call. If you can’t make it to a session due to unforeseen circumstances we do appreciate it if you let us know beforehand. If you would like to carry on with the same course then simply come along to the following session or you can book on to another one if you’d prefer. If you have any concerns about missing sessions then please feel free to give us a call.

What happens if I am late?

Firstly, don’t worry. We would rather that someone was late rather than miss the whole session. The course facilitators won’t make a fuss and will be available either during the break or for a few minutes afterwards if you had any questions.

How do I find the course venue?

For venue information about where our courses are held, please see the venues page. If you have any questions which aren’t covered or would simply prefer to speak to someone then give us a call. We will do our best to provide information on bus routes and times if we can. Unfortunately travel costs cannot be reimbursed.