What is a typical session like?

CBT sessions are quite structured so clients know what to expect when they come to treatment.

  • Mood check and quick review Once the session starts, the therapist and client do a brief mood check and review of what has happened for the client in the time since they last saw each other.

  • Bridge from the last session The previous session will be reviewed for what the client found most and least helpful and to ascertain if there are any issues from the previous session that need to be followed up on.

  • Homework review Since CBT involves clients doing tasks between sessions and the task is reviewed and explored.

  • Agenda An agenda for the main part of the session is collaboratively agreed. Clients can put items on the agenda to be dealt with during the session. Usually each session is focused on dealing with one main issue so that enough time can be devoted to that issue.

  • New homework assignment Towards the end of the session the homework for the next week is agreed. This is all about the client putting into practice what they’ve worked on during the session. One of the hallmarks of CBT is that it’s expected that a lot of the work and progress that occurs happens outside of sessions. Research has shown that clients who engage in appropriate tasks between sessions have better outcomes, here these tasks are reviewed. The therapist and client decide together what would be the most helpful task for the client to do, and how to make it manageable.

  • Session review Lastly, the therapist and client review the session. This is an opportunity for the client to ask any remaining questions they have, bring up anything that’s bothered them about the session, or clarify anything they think the therapist has misunderstood. Clients are encouraged to ask questions and clarify issues during the session, as well as during the end of session review.