Southwark Wellbeing Workshops are a series of free, day-long psycho-educational workshops which aim to offer help to residents of Southwark experiencing stress, low self-confidence or disturbed sleep. They are offered by the NHS.
Many people experience feelings of stress, low self-confidence, or disturbed sleep at different times in their life. Sometimes, these problems can become difficult to cope with and may start affecting other areas of life.
Southwark Wellbeing Workshops aim to help participants gain a better understanding of how they are feeling and to develop skills necessary to manage the thoughts and feelings which are problematic, whether the problem is low mood, feelings of anxiety, or difficulty with sleep patterns.
The workshops have been available in Southwark since 2005, and since then over 600 people have attended.
We try to make these workshops convenient for people who want to attend. We therefore run them at the weekend to allow people who are working (as well as those who are not working) to come.
Workshops are run on Saturdays in John Harvard library through out the year.
The program uses a Cognitive-Behavioural approach, which has been shown to be effective in different studies. The Cognitive-Behavioural approach provides workshop participants with the chance to learn a number of different methods which you can then apply in your day to day lives. Participants learn about the link between thought, feelings and behaviours, and will be shown useful techniques for dealing with the times when thoughts and feelings become difficult to manage or problematic.
The workshops are part of the service provided by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in Southwark and are led by Clinical and Counselling Psychologists working for the Trust. This ensures that the workshop program is delivered by health professionals with the knowledge, experience and skills required to deliver the program in the most effective and user-friendly way.
A rolling program of 3 different workshop programmes is run, with a workshop programme each month. These are:
- How to improve your Sleep
- How to handle your Stress
- How to improve your Self-confidence
Each workshop has four parts:
- Introductory Talk (1 hour)
- Workshop (1 Day)
- Help between the workshop and follow-up
- Follow-up meeting (2 hours).
At the Introductory Talk participants have the chance to meet the workshop leaders and familiarize themselves with the venue and transport links or parking.
The workshop leaders will explain in more detail the contents of the workshop. This will help you decide if the workshop is the right one for you.
Participants complete some self-assessments at different stages in the workshop programme. These are forms that you will be able to fill out each time we all meet
The self-assessments will help the workshop leaders provide feedback to all participants when the group meets for the last time at the follow-up meeting.
The self-assessments are also very helpful in letting is know how effective the workshops are being for the people who attend.
If you decide that the Workshop is right for you, you will be offered a place after the Introductory Talk.
The day-long Workshop runs from 9.30am to 4.45pm.
The day will be broken down into separate sections:
a) time will be spent building an understanding of the problem you are having, whether this is feeling stress, experiencing low self confidence or sleeping problems.
b) workshop leaders will teach participants about the interactions between the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are involved in the problem they are having. This will include learning to identify the thoughts and feelings that can influence how we behave.
c) you will be shown different methods to take home and 'try out' - this means applying the methods covered in the workshop in day-to-day life in the areas where problems are being experienced.
d) at the end of the Workshop, workshop participants are invited to identify changes they would like to make in their life. Your goals will be individual and chosen by you. Staff at the Workshop will be available to help participants identify personal goals and to create a plan for achieving them.
Between the workshop and the follow-up
In the time between the Workshop and the Follow-up meeting, telephone support is offered to participants. This phone call will be an opportunity to talk about the goals you would like to work towards, and to think about how you are working towards achieving them.
The Follow-up meeting will take place 1 month after the Workshop.
At the Follow-up meeting, participants can share their experiences of applying the methods, sharing the ones which were more effective for them and discussing areas that are not going so well and require more work.
Hearing how other people got on since the workshop can be very helpful - finding out how people applied the techniques in their own life and sharing their solutions often provides more ideas for methods you can try.
The Follow-up meeting also gives participants the opportunity to speak individually with workshop leaders and to get personalised feedback from the assessment forms completed at the Introductory Talk.
Working in a group will naturally be different to working individually.
Understandably people can sometimes find the thought of group workshops worrying. If this is something you have concerns about, it can be helpful to know that no one is required to speak in front of the workshop group unless they would like to.
As a workshop participant, you will not be expected to share the problem you are experiencing with the group. The workshop aims to teach participants about different ways of handling difficulties, and in order for this to be effective there will not be any need to discuss individual problems.
Also as the workshop is run in a group format, there would not be time to go through each person's own experience of the problem they are having.
You will learn methods that have been found to be helpful to most people
The best way to decide if the workshop is right for you, is to register a place at an introductory talk. There you will be able to find out more about the workshop and make a decision with the help of the workshop leaders.
The aim of the day-long workshop is to be gentle, effective, and practical. We hope that participants will go home at the end of the day with a new set of skills to use in their life and greater confidence to handle the problems they may have.
People can experience problems with sleep, stress, and self confidence at any stage in their life which is why Southwark Wellbeing Workshops are open to any Southwark resident over the age of 18.
Many Southwark residents have greatly benefitted from attending the Wellbeing Workshops. There is more about this in the 'Evaluation' section.
There has also been very positive feedback from previous participants:
Self Confidence Workshop January 2009
"The workshop covered all general aspects of self confidence and we had a chance to do exercises. I'm glad that the workshop was run"
"It was good to realize that I'm not the only one who thinks like this. I liked listening and talking to other people with the same issues, and earning some techniques to help with my anxiety."
"I was given good tips, the workshop was very practical."
"I found the workshop extremely helpful and the psychologists very kind and professional"
Stress Workshop December 2008
"I enjoyed the day - very clear and professional."
"I enjoyed the workshop, including the interactions in the group.”
"Excellent trainers; the points were well broken down."
Sleep Workshop November 2008
"I found the workshop comprehensive; Good analogies and examples; open and interesting."
"The presentation information was clear and informative; Speakers were supportive."
No, this is not a support group. Naturally it can be good to see that you are not alone and that others may be experiencing similar difficulties. However the workshop is about learning skills and taking information that will be helpful for you, rather than about providing information on individual situations.
At the introductory talk and at the follow-up, seats are arranged in a circle or horseshoe. This is so that workshop participants can see and hear the other participants more easily, in case people have similar questions to ask workshop leaders about the program.
For the day-long workshop, seating is arranged in 3-4 rows, facing the front of the room where the workshop presentation is displayed.
Unfortunately we are unable to provide childcare. Southwark Wellbeing Workshops hire community venues in which to run the workshops, which do not provide childcare facilities.