Guided Self Help Service - patient information leaflet


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What is Guided Self Help?

Guided Self Help is one to three sessions lasting up to one hour provided by a Guided Self Help Worker trained in cognitive behavioural principles, (CBT), and psycho-education. Relevant self help materials may be issued as appropriate.

The Guided Self Help Worker facilitates understanding of how people’s thoughts and feelings can affect their bodily sensations and the way they behave using a CBT model. People are encouraged to take personal responsibility in finding practical solutions to their difficulties.

This is a Primary Care Service and provides the first point of contact in the mental health system, acting as the 'front door' of the NHS. The Primary Care Mental Health Team are a team of practitioners and therapists offering a wide range of treatments and interventions to help those experiencing common mental health problems.

Please consider the following inclusion and exclusion criteria when referring to the  Guided Self Help Service for MILD/ MODERATE difficulties.


  • Mild/moderate depression or low mood
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Stress at work
  • Panic attacks
  • Health anxiety
  • Mild/moderate phobias
  • Acute stress reaction to life event (excluding  post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) up to 3 months duration post-event thereafter refer into Adult Mental Health Services)
  • Bereavement (we only suggest a referral to CRUSE  if this lasted over 3 months)
  • Mild/moderate anger issues
  • Relationship concerns
  • Assertion
  • Problem solving
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) scores below 21


  • A patient with current or previous contact with Community Mental Health Team (CMHT), Psychology, or Psychiatry as this is suggestive of more complex mental health difficulties
  • Admitting to suicidal ideation / self harm/suicide attempts within last 3 months
  • When the primary difficulty is sexual abuse or other ongoing  forms of abuse
  • Current misuse of substances drugs / alcohol
  • Couples
  • Families with social work involvement
  • Longstanding physical health problems/adjustment to physical health concerns
  • People on charges or awaiting court appearances or with a serious forensic criminal record
  • To test a person’s motivation to engage in psychological interventions

Last reviewed: 02 November 2020

Next review: 02 November 2023

Author(s): Psychology Service

Approved By: TAM subgroup of ADTC

Reviewer Name(s): Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Document Id: TAM259