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What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive behavioural therapy combines behavioural therapy with talk therapy and helps patients and clients reframe patterns of negative thinking into positive thoughts. The goal of cognitive behavioural therapy is to give patients the tools to deal with difficult moments and negative thoughts with productive behaviours that will replace these negative thoughts with positive action or thinking.

CBT is grown from the idea that our thoughts shape the way we experience situations and how we behave in them. Reshaping our thoughts helps reshape the way we experience stressful or anxiety-inducing events.

What do CBT courses teach you?

CBT courses are suitable for those who have studied CBT before, as well as those who are just starting to explore CBT. CBT courses teach you:

  • The theories that sit behind CBT
  • CBT techniques
  • How to apply CBT practically in a variety of settings
  • How to treat specific conditions with CBT, such as anxiety and depression
  • Advanced CBT tools and techniques
  • A foundational, intermediate or advanced understanding of neuroscience (depending on the level of the course)
  • An understanding of how the mind and body are interconnected (and thus how thought affects behaviour, and vice versa)

Each CBT course will have its own unique set of modules and sections, so it's worthwhile researching courses in relation to your field. Selecting the course that is right for you will depend on how you want to apply CBT. If you are a practising psychologist it might be worthwhile choosing an advanced course that focusses more heavily on the psychological theory sitting behind it. If you are a coach or manager, it might be worthwhile choosing a course that focusses more heavily on the practical application of CBT, with a specialisation of CBT in the workplace or working environment. 

Who should take CBT courses?

CBT courses are useful for those who are already using CBT, as well as those that aren't. For those that are using CBT, it's an opportunity to further develop your knowledge and skills in this area and deepen your theoretical knowledge. For those who are new to CBT, CBT courses provide the foundation to what CBT is and how it is applied, offering the chance for you to either select an accredited course and gain a diploma or select and informational course and gain knowledge in the field.

CBT courses are especially useful for those who have a coaching element as part of their role, whether that's as a life or career coach or as a line manager. Professional freelancers can also benefit from CBT courses, as they will help you along the way to becoming an executive coach.

Do I need a degree in Psychology to take CBT courses?

Some CBT courses are aimed at a higher level, so there is an expectation of a pre-existing foundational understanding of what CBT is, however, there are also beginners courses available for those who are new to CBT.

Generally speaking, it's useful to have experience with CBT and, occasionally, courses will stipulate a degree qualification, although this does not necessarily need to be within the field of psychology.

Management experience is also useful (although again, not required) as it will help you understand how CBT can be applied in the workplace. 

If you're applying to an MSc programme, the entry requirements may be slightly more regimented - it's worth getting in touch with the training provider directly to find out whether the course will be suitable for you.

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