Brief Intervention Talking Therapy

Brief Intervention Talking Therapy (BITT) is a non-urgent service for people over 16 years old who need short-term support with their mental wellbeing.

It is a private and confidential process that allows you to talk with an experienced mental health clinician. The clinician will work with you to find coping strategies that are helpful and lasting. For many people, the most helpful thing about BITT is talking to someone they can trust and come up with a plan.

In an emergency or an immediate and serious situation when you are concerned for your safety or the safety of those around you, call emergency services on 111. If the situation does not require an immediate urgent response, contact Crisis Resolution on 0800 920 092 (24 hours, 7 days a week). This service is provided by Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury and covers Kaikoura to Ashburton.

Who can access Talking Therapy?

If you are a patient at any Pegasus Health GP, you may be eligible for Brief Intervention Talking Therapy. Once we receive a referral from your GP, you will be contacted by one of our team.

To be eligible, you need to be:

  • Aged 16 years or over
  • Enrolled at a Pegasus general practice
  • Seeking support for mild to moderate mental health needs.

You may not be eligible if you are:

  • Receiving support from another talking therapy provider
  • Receiving care from a Specialist Mental Health Service provider.

As there is high demand for our service, we encourage you to access support that may be available through your education provider or workplace before considering BITT.

Not enrolled at a general practice? Find a local Pegasus practice on our Practice Locator map

What does the Brief Intervention service provide?

The first session will be about an hour long. Follow-up sessions will be about 30 minutes and take place every 2-4 weeks.  You can access up to five free sessions.

Sessions usually take place in person at one of our locations but you can arrange to have sessions by phone instead.

Our clinicians are English-speaking but let us know if you need interpreter services and we can arrange this for you.

Once you have completed your sessions, you can access further sessions after 12 months, with a referral from your general practice.

How do I book a session?

Once we receive your referral from your GP, our triage team will contact you to discuss your referral and arrange an appointment time. We may suggest a more suitable service to access support through.

As referrals often exceed our capacity, there is usually a wait of 3-5 weeks for your first appointment.

You can book follow-up appointments with your clinician at the end of your session.


Our mental health clinicians work from different locations in the community, as well as in some general practices. Directions to our locations in the community can be found below.

FAQs about Talking Therapy

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Our mental health clinicians work from different locations in the community, as well as in some general practices. Directions to our locations are listed above. If you aren’t sure of the location of your appointment, please call our triage team on 0800 246 099.

First appointments are generally scheduled between 9:00am and 3:00pm. Follow-up appointments can be booked between 8:30am and 4:30pm

The service is free to for patients enrolled with a Pegasus Health GP.

Generally, no. The brief intervention model is not designed for ongoing therapy.  If you would like further sessions, you can talk about this with your clinician who can refer you to another service when you finish with us.

Your clinician will not be able to offer you private sessions under the Pegasus service.

Please let us know if you would like to bring a support person.

If you find getting to the appointments difficult (due to transport, location or timing) there is an option to have appointments by telephone. We can refer you to a phone counselling service called Puāwaitanga.

We will send you a text confirming the time and date of the appointment, the clinician you will see and the location you will need to go to (further reminders will not have this location information so make sure you keep this text, so you know where to go)

We understand that things change and at times you may not be able to make your scheduled appointment. The service is popular and our capacity is limited, so to be fair to others:

We require a minimum of 24 hours’ notice if you are unable to attend your appointment. You may be offered a phone appointment if you are unable to attend
If you cancel less than 24 hours from your appointment time you may lose one of your allocated sessions
Two cancellations or two missed appointments will result in you being discharged back to your GP.

24 hours’ notice gives us time to offer that appointment to someone who may need it and increases our options to rebook your appointment.

If your clinician is sick or unavailable, we will contact you to arrange an alternative time.

If we cannot provide regular service, for example, due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will contact you to inform you about alternative arrangements.

In your first session, you will be asked to complete a consent form and a questionnaire to help us understand how you are feeling.

Your clinician will spend time getting to know you and what you would like to get out of talking therapy.

Your contact details and session notes are stored electronically in a secure internal Patient Management System
You have the right to access the personal information we hold concerning you
Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury requests patient information for the purpose of planning health services.
Confidentiality and sharing of information

All interactions with our service including the scheduling of your appointments, your attendance at appointments, the content of your sessions and your records are confidential and won’t be shared without your authorisation.

As this service is an extension of your GP’s service, a summary of the first session will be sent to them and they will be notified when you finish with us.

Clinicians work as part of a team and in consultation with their management. They attend monthly supervision and training to reflect on and share their practice. Your identity will be protected where possible.

Exceptions to confidentiality may occur when:

There are serious safety concerns in the immediate or foreseeable future to you or others (e.g., personal safety, family violence and child protection)
There are legal requirements that demand that confidential material be revealed.
Responding to a complaint about the service.
Giving feedback and making complaints