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Promoting Excellence In Psychological Health & Wellbeing

Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (CBT Therapist)

Cognitive behavioural therapists are trained to assess and support children and young people (CYP) and adults with common mental health difficulties. They offer interventions that are based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is a talking therapy which aims to help people manage their difficulties by changing the way they think and behave. It is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.

As a cognitive behavioural therapist you will be working with CYP, their parents/carers or adults from many different backgrounds. Interventions are mostly delivered on a one-to-one basis in person (with or without parents / carers present), or, to groups. Cognitive behavioural therapists work within a variety of mental health settings including NHS childrens and adolscent mental health services (CAMHS), adult improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) services and 3rd sector and private organisations commissioned by the NHS. These can been based in GP practices, healthcare centres or other community venues.

As a cognitive behavioural therapist you will be working alongside other clinicians, such as psychological wellbeing practitioners (PWPs) or mental health nurses, delivering evidence-based psychological therapies, and will be supervised in your work by more senior practitioners. Managing referrals and signposting to other agencies may also be a core part of your job role. This requires working closely with other healthcare professionals, employment and education advisers as well as support staff.

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Required Training for this Role icon

Required Training for this Role

In order to be a qualified cognitive behavioural therapist there are currently two nationally funded training options / roles:

Adult CBT
To work as an adult cognitive behavioural therapist (high intensity CBT) in improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) services, you will need to complete a High Intensity IAPT post graduate diploma training course that is commissioned by Health Education England (HEE).

Child and Adolescent CBT
To work as a CYP (children and young people) cognitive behavioural therapist, you will need to complete a CYP IAPT post graduate diploma training course that is also commissioned by HEE.

Training courses are offered by a number of universities and training providers and course titles may vary. They typically consist of approximately 64 days of training distributed over an academic year, up to 12 months in duration. During training, you will be employed by a local CYP mental health organisation or an adult IAPT service and spend the majority of your time in the service working with CYP or adults as part of your supervised practice.

Entry Requirements to Train for this Role icon

Entry Requirements to Train for this Role

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The cognitive behaviorual therapy (CBT) training is open to people with a range of experience. You will normally need a degree to undertake the postgraduate diploma, and you will need to apply for a position as a trainee cognitive behavioural therapist / high intensity therapist in a children and adolescent mental health service or adult IAPT (improving access to psychological therapies) service to access the training. If you don't have a degree but can demonstrate equivalent academic skills you may still be considered for the training. You will also need to have a core profession to access the training or be able to demonstrate equivalence to core mental health professional training. To find out more, see knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA) requirements article on the BABCP (British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies), see useful links below. You can search for vacancies on the NHS Jobs website, or other local platforms. You will need to demonstrate foundation level training or experience in CBT.

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The course is aimed at mental health professionals (or those with the equivalent Knowledge and Skills Attitudes), who have had some experience in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and who continue to work in a mental health environment. Applicants should demonstrate evidence of interpersonal skills to engage and develop working alliances with adults / children and young people, and with their colleagues. They should will need to show evidence of an openness to learning new knowledge and skills.

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Salary Expectations

Some cognitive behavioural therapists work in adult IAPT (improving access to psychological therapies) services and for other CYP (children and young people) or adult NHS organisations; others for third or private sector organisations that deliver NHS services. Trainee cognitive behavioural therapists are typically appointed at Band 6 or equivalent on the NHS Agenda for Change pay scales. Once qualified, they will may progress to Band 7 or equivalent.

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Future Career Options

As a cognitive behavioural therapist , you will specialise in working with children and young people, or adults. You may develop areas of clinical specialism or work with particular groups of patients, such as adults with with long-term health conditions, patients who have psychosis, or patients from black and ethnic minority communities. You may, subject to national and regional developments, have opportunities to progress into more senior cognitive behavioural therapist roles, where you may supervise other cognitive behavioural therapists or manage aspects of a service, depending on the mental health setting. As a cognitive behavioural therapist it is an expectation that you will work in the role for a minimum of two years before you can progress into any other funded psychological professional training.

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Registering or Accrediting Body

The adult IAPT (improving access to psychological therapies) high intensity (HI) courses are accredited with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). Successful completetion of the course would allow you to become an accredited HI cognitive behavioural therapist. The children and young people (CYP) CBT training courses can be accredited with the BABCP and successful completetion of accredited courses would allow you to become an accredited CYP cognitive behavioural therapist. Currently not all of the CYP CBT training courses are accredited.

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Professional Organisation

Trainee and qualified cognitive behavioural therapists should join the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).