Find out more by watching the video below:

What is stress?

The more you ‘know your enemy’, the easier it is to fight back against it. So, this session aims to help you build a solid foundation to allow you to do so. We will look at stress – often a mix of anxiety, depression, panicky feelings, poor sleep and poor wellbeing. We will look at the most common signs and will explain how we will starve the vicious circle that is keeping your stress alive. We’ll look at how to replace it with the positive circle that will then help keep stress at bay. We do this by teaching you to become your own therapist.

Control Your Body

Everyone knows exactly how stress affects their body and vice-versa. So, this is a good place to start. We make sense of what happens to our bodies when we get stressed, look at the role of stress in protecting us from threat and talk about fight/flight.

Skills include how to get the best from exercise; whether too much caffeine is playing a role, how to use your belly breathing and progressive relaxation to control stress. You can download all the forms of the relaxation from this site.

Control Your Thoughts

Getting in touch with stress thoughts is a lot harder than describing body symptoms but controlling thoughts will be, for many, the key to success. So, this is a crucial session. We build on the body skills by understanding how stress affects our thoughts and vice-versa. We look at the importance of radars, blinkers, grasshoppers, and meerkats.

Skills include Building the Foundation, the Big 5 Challenges and Breaking Stress Up

Control Your Actions

Now we have learned about the body and thoughts, we turn to actions and divide them into two: avoidance and behaviour. While avoidance works in the short term, it makes things worse in the long term. When stress affects our behaviour, it makes us more self-conscious and feeds into our stressed thoughts and body (creating another vicious circle).

Skills include Face your Fears, Stepping out your Comfort Zone and Problem Solving.

Control Panicky Feelings

Some of us have panic attacks; most of us have panicky feelings so we will learn about both. We will explain what panic feelings are and what they are not. We’ll look, in detail, at the role of breathing and look at ways to prevent these feelings arising in the first place.

Skills include using everything we have learned so far as we look at how best to combine them.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Daytime stress tends to affect your sleep. And, if you don’t recharge your batteries, it makes your stress worse the next day. And another vicious circle emerges. So, getting a good night’s sleep is crucial in helping get back on top of your stress. We’ll look at what happens when we sleep and the importance of deep and dream sleep.

Skills include simple sleeping tips and, for those with long-standing problems, a great way to retrain your sleep.

Boost Your Wellbeing

The very best way to get on top of stress is to hit it from two sides: learn skills to control stress (as above) and, at the same time, learn ways to boost your wellbeing. We will look at how good wellbeing – ‘thriving’ – protects us against stress and makes us more resilient.

Skills include the ‘five-a-day’: connect, keep learning, give, be active and take notice (this one takes us into mindfulness) along with gratitude, compassion and values.

Controlling Your Future

We’ll pull together everything we have learned on the course to make sure the big picture emerges and look at good ways of staying on top. Stress Control sets you on the right path and, by working hard at the skills, you start to rebuild your self-esteem. Stress Control sets you on the right path and, by working hard at the skills, you start to rebuild your self-confidence and self-esteem. As you gradually become your own therapist, you will become more resilient and feel better about yourself.

Stress Control In 9 Words

These are the most important words you will hear at your Stress Control class.


Stress Control works as well as individual therapy

Burns et al. (2016). “Stress Control” as a Large Group Psychoeducational Intervention at Step 2 of IAPT Services: Acceptability of the Approach and Moderators of Effectiveness. Burns, P., Kellett, S., and Donohoe, G. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 2016, 44, 431 – 443.

“Stress Control appears comparatively clinically equivalent to the other IAPT interventions and produced higher recovery rates than the Green et al (2014) and Firth et al (2015) analyses of one – to – one PWP work”


Stress control works as well as computerised CBT and guided-self-help


Delgadillo et al. (2016). A multi-service practice research network study of large group psychoeducational cognitive behavioural therapy. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 87, 2016,155-161.“

The effectiveness of Stress Control in routine practice appears to be comparable to that of other brief interventions including individual guided-self-help and CCBT. The delivery ratio (up to 100 participants per 2 facilitators) and minimal need for clinical-patient contact are unique aspects that enable Stress Control to considerably enhance access to psychoeducational support and low cost”


Stress Control continues to help participants improve after the class ends (as they become their own therapists)

Van Daele, T. et al (2013). Effectiveness of a six session stress reduction program for groups. Mental health and Prevention, 1, 19-25.“

Overall, the main conclusion of this study is that there are preliminary indications that the intervention has substantial long-term effects on participants’ stress and anxiety and depression, especially for those who have higher initial symptoms and as far as up to one year after the intervention”


Participants really like it and feel it should not be changed in any way

Mills et al. (2016). Responding to mental health statutory drivers: experience of a low intensity cognitive behavioural therapy programme. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 33, 217-224.

“Stress Control was effective and feedback was overwhelmingly positive on the course. There remains no pressing need to address course content or its delivery”