When is the programme running?

The 8 week programme will start in Spring 2016 (dates to be confirmed with participants) and will be run at least twice yearly, and again in the Autumn.  Interested participants should contact either Ann to provisionally put your name on the waiting list and engage with the screening process to ensure that this is the right intervention for you.

The weekly sessions run on a Saturday morning from 10am until 11:30am.  The group size is limited to between 6 and 8 participants, with a minimum number of 4.  The dates will be agreed in advance with participants, with the aim of running weekly.  However, the weekly schedule aims to be flexible around participants’ academic and training commitments. Planned breaks will depend on holiday and study commitments and will be agreed by the group, rather than on an individual basis.

Who is this programme suitable for?

The age range is 18-24 years old, with some flexibility on age limits, depending on presenting difficulties.  It is suitable for young people (male and female) who are struggling with psychological and emotional difficulties, including anxiety, depression, emotional outbursts and mood swings, low self-worth, self-harm (including substances), interpersonal and relationship difficulties and eating problems.

How can you expect to benefit from the programme?

The psychoeducation group programme has five broad goals.

  1. To provide you with an opportunity to learn about your emotional difficulties
  2. Develop your communication and interpersonal skills
  3. Provide exercises to allow you to practise skills in a safe interpersonal setting
  4. Get support, feedback, validation and approval from others who have similar difficulties
  5. Provide reliable online resources and learn how to access and use other reliable self-help materials.

What commitment are you required to make?

Essential Commitment
  1. Individual screening consultation: If you are interested in attending the group you will be invited to an initial individual 50 minute screening consultation session where you will meet the two clinicians running the group to discuss your current difficulties and needs. You will be given brief written feedback, including a psychological formulation, which is our understanding of the psychological factors that may be contributing to your current presentation. The feedback will also outline our rationale for offering or not offering you a place in the group.  If we do not offer you a place in the group we will signpost you to alternative services.
  2. Eight week Psycho-education Group (6-8 participants): If you are offered and accept a place in the group you will be committing to and required to attend a weekly group session on a Saturday morning from 10am-11:30am. The sessions will start and end on time and will not be delayed for late arrivals.  You are required to attend all weeks and nonattendance could mean that you miss out on essential programme content.
  3. End of programme individual review: Shortly after completion of the group programme you will be invited to a 50 minute individual review session where you will again meet the two clinicians to discuss your progress. You will be given brief written feedback on your progress and we will endeavour to provide you with suggestions on next steps.
Optional Commitment
  1. Individual psychological therapy sessions: Individual 50 minutes sessions are available on a weekly or ad-hoc basis to all members of the group providing you with the opportunity to meet with a psychologist who is running the group. In this session you have the opportunity to explore your experience of the group and consider aspects of the group you are finding difficult or challenging and to explore ways you can use the group work more effectively.  There is widespread belief that the two therapies (group and individual) have an enhanced and complementary effect in addressing the young person’s needs. It is therefore recommended that participants meet with one of the psychological therapists on an individual basis at least once during the 8 week programme, but this is optional.

What does the Programme consist of?

The programme will follow the Mentalization Based Treatment Introductory (MBT-I) Group process which is a recognised psychoeducation approach.  The MBT-I approach promotes a mixture of didactic (teaching) and experiential learning where participants not only learn about the psychological concept of mentalizing, but also get the opportunity to practise doing it.  The focus of the group will be to learn about mentalization, emotions, attachment styles and relationships, interpersonal communication/interaction and mental health, in particular anxiety and depression.

We will introduce new ideas and topics each week, but learning will aim to be incremental, building on information explored in previous weeks.  A detailed weekly breakdown of topics will be provided in an information leaflet for participants who are offered and accept a place in the group.