Let’s talk. How to access digital therapy with steps2change

Published on: 3rd February 2022

One in four people will experience a common mental health problem such as anxiety, stress or depression. Talking helps. steps2change is a free NHS service that provides a range of evidence-based talking therapies. We can help with problems such as depression, anxiety, post-trauma reaction, panic, phobia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Coronavirus has influenced our lives and many of us have had to use digital means of communication. This has allowed people to access our service who may not have been able to do so before. Many clients have reported that they find these appointments much easier to attend, open up and take notes. Others find that without the commute they can find time more for the sessions. As this has been so positive, it is something we will continue to provide.

Service user feedback

“Accessing the sessions over the phone helped me significantly. If I had to have face to face sessions, I do not think I would have had as much success.”

“I preferred talking over the phone. I feel more comfortable in my own environment and was able to open up more.”

This article aims to let you know what we offer and how you will receive digital therapy.

What to expect from digital therapy with steps2change.

There are a few digital means by which we can deliver therapy.

The first is the simplest, which involves talking to you over the phone. We have done this for a long time. Most people accessing our service would have had an assessment this way.

The next is something that we have been using more since the pandemic, which is video conferencing. You can still see your therapist/supporter on screen but can do this from wherever you can access the email link using a smartphone, tablet or computer. If you use this method, a link would be emailed to you to click on at the time of your appointment.

We also have digital platforms that you can use to access guided self-help information. You can work through the modules, with the support of a clinician, via a messenger feature on the platform. We call this option computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or cCBT. Here you can complete the work at a time that suits you. The appointment time is for the clinician not for you. 

At the appointment time, the clinician reviews the work that you have chosen to share and will provide feedback or support via the messenger. You would create your own login details from a link that we would email to you whilst on your first call. You can also access the digital platforms and work with a clinician over the phone. This is a less flexible way to access the platform but is possible. We would set an appointment time with you and you can complete any agreed work in between calls.

We also deliver therapy using an advanced live messaging system. For each session, you log into your secure therapy account and meet with your therapist in a secure online therapy room. You would take it in turns to type to each other. Typing means you have time to think about what you want to say. There is no need to worry about perfect spelling or grammar. Your conversations are saved to your personal account so that you can review transcripts of each session. This is a popular and effective way of accessing therapy. Appointments are at a scheduled time that is convenient to you.

If you have been assessed and are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), we can offer a digital program to support you in understanding your symptoms alongside sessions with a therapist. Divided into a number of useful sections, the programme provides a range of information relevant to PTSD. We have used this blended approach for a number of years and clients tell us it helps support them through their treatment journey. People accessing the programme are more likely to engage in trauma therapy and resolve their symptoms.

How can I request one of these methods?

If you would like to try one of these methods, you can ask your assessor at your initial assessment. They can look at this with you. For these methods, you will need a stable internet connection, an email address, and if an appointment is booked with a clinician, the time and space to complete this session away from distractions. You may be given work to complete in-between sessions, so you will need some time and space to complete this.

How will this impact the support I receive?

The support that you receive will be the same, regardless of which route you choose. The delivery method is the only thing that will change. You will still receive the resources but these may be sent to you in a different way. On the digital platforms, these are accessed via the platforms themselves. Over the telephone you will have a choice between the materials being emailed or posted. We can adjust our materials to make them more accessible and we have translated versions if English is not your preferred language.

If you are unsure about any of the methods, please ask your assessing clinician.

Referrals to steps2change

To refer to steps2change, visit your GP or refer yourself online.