CBT Essentials

24 modules


Dr William Davies

14 Nov 2019



Accredited online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) training from the The Association for Psychological Therapies (APT), includes APT accreditation, certification, and resources.

APT was one of the earliest organisations to teach CBT, starting in 1982, three years after the seminal book Cognitive Therapy of Depression was written by Beck, Rush, Shaw and Emery. Since that point, this course has constantly been one of the most attended of any of APT's courses. Constantly developing, this course was one of the first to systematically teach '5-factor CBT', also advocated by Padesky in the 'hot cross bun' and Linehan in DBT. Including not just emotions, behaviour and cognitions, the 5-factor approach adds biological factors and social/environmental factors into the mix, without which many conditions would not be addressed adequately.

For further information on the format of APT online training, guaranteed completions for group bookings, and how to make a group booking, click here.


What the CBT Essentials course will do for you:

  • You will have a 'feel' for CBT: you will know why it is so-called, how it has evolved and what techniques are CBT ones and why.

  • You will be introduced to the major cognitive, behavioural and cognitive-behavioural techniques in a way that you can envisage using them, and have some practice in doing so.

  • You will have access to important online resources for use after the course, free of charge for as long as you retain your APT-Accreditation.

The course covers:

  • The framework for successful CBT. Covering the topics:

    • The History and defining characteristics of CBT.

    • The first session or two: building the relationship, and making an assessment.

    • Case Formulation.

    • How to structure CBT: A typical session-plan; How often you should see a patient, and What Notes you should keep.

    • Guided discovery: diary keeping (an overview) and Socratic Dialogue.

    • Evidence-based practice and ‘Practice-based evidence’.

  • Treatments based on Behavioural factors and approaches. Covering the topics:

    • Behavioural interventions tend to be reliable, and respected by patients. They are also important and effective:

      • In depression, Lewinsohn first highlighted the fact that many depressed people lead depressing lives. The task therefore is to help them lead more rewarding ones.

      • In anxiety, graded exposure to the feared stimulus appears to be much more effective than systematically avoiding it (which patients often resort to).

      • In anger control it is often easier for a person to do something different (e.g. count to 10) in a difficult situation, rather than ‘look at it a different way’.

    • Diary keeping: keeping a diary gives patients a new perspective on their lives and it also records current behaviour and implies or suggests behavioural changes. It allows both patient and therapist an insight into the patient’s life, and enables adjustments to be agreed to make the person’s life more enjoyable and more meaningful.

    • Scheduling: helping people schedule more rewarding activities and de-schedule less rewarding ones is an important skill: it literally helps the person build a life worth living.

    • Video analysis of scheduling.

    • Behavioural Activation. Behavioural activation is a clear strategy which is effective in helping depressed people. It hinges on scheduling key behaviours into the person’s day.

    • Hedonism versus Eudaimonic well-being and the work of Ryan and Deci. What constitutes ‘a rewarding activity’? Why isn’t fun more fun, and why do some people enjoy work? As Noel Coward once said: “Work is more fun than fun”. ‘Poor little rich girl’: the girl who has all the fun in the world, yet is still miserable. Video: Martin Seligman.

    • Mini case study and examples.

    • Teaching new skills. In DBT, patients are often taught new skills, especially: Mindfulness, Emotional regulation, Interpersonal effectiveness, Distress tolerance, and Walking the middle path. In fact, the teaching of helpful skills has always been an important part of behaviour therapy (and hence cognitive behaviour therapy), so a CBT therapist should feel relaxed about teaching patients helpful skills such as these.

  • Treatment techniques based on Biological factors. Covering the topics:

    • Increasingly recognised in importance, biological factors are probably still the most under-rated of the 5 inter-relating factors in CBT. A pity, because patients like to address them and they can make a massive impact.

    • Illnesses: such as hyperthyroidism (mimics anxiety) and hypothyroidism (mimics depression) and are themselves important to address medically.

    • Sleep. People who do not sleep well tend to suffer impaired mood during the day as a result, and have extra time at night when they can dwell - or become agitated - about life events.

    • Routine. An impaired circadian rhythm is highly disruptive, and quite widespread.

    • Diet. Some people may consume plenty of calories, or even too many calories, yet may not get the nutrients they need for a healthy physical and mental state.

    • Exercise. Journal articles over many years have pointed to the beneficial effects of exercise in alleviating depression and anxiety.

    • Alcohol, its harmful effects, and how to address it and them.

    • Relaxation, why it works so well, and available relaxation exercises.

    • Exercises and suggested post-course project.

  • Treatments based on the Surroundings, especially Social. Covering the topics:

    • President Clinton, in explain politics to a colleague, famously said “It’s the economy, stupid”, meaning everything hinges on the economy. In mental health, the importance of relationships is similar: they appear to fundamental to a person’s sense of wellbeing, so we need to be good at helping people address them.

    • The Grant and Glueck (the Harvard study). This massive, four-generational study of Harvard graduates and under-privileged Boston children, demonstrates the immense power of relationships to influence and determine both our mental and physical health.

    • IPT (Interpersonal PsychoTherapy). An overview of the problems addressed by IPT, and the strategies for addressing them.

    • ‘Popular People live longer. The meta-study by Holt-Lunstad, ( Brigham Young University) reviewing 148 investigations published over 28 years on the effects of social relationships.

    • Slavich and Cole, (human social genomics at the University of California, Los Angeles): how our genomic make up reacts to social rejection.

    • Exercises, case-studies, addressing (yourself, your friends and acquaintances if you want to, and) your own case-load.

  • Treatment techniques based on Cognitions and Thinking style. Covering the topics:

    • The ability to address people’s thinking style was the original breakthrough behind cognitive therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy.

    • Core beliefs: ‘Rigid, long-lasting views about the nature of oneself, other people, the world.’ Adaptive ones work well for us and maladaptive ones very much don't. Triads: Core beliefs which interact with each other to produce depression and anxiety.

    • Negative Automatic Thoughts and Core Beliefs: the interaction.

    • “Everything I touch always goes wrong.”

    • Unhelpful thinking styles, Negative Automatic Thoughts, and ‘Thinking Errors’. Terms often used to mean much the same thing, and we can often influence core beliefs by repeatedly tackling such ‘thinking errors’ and unhelpful thinking styles.

    • Where do these thinking styles come from?

    • The Top10 thinking errors and the 5 key interventions: Graded Questions; Putting a name to it; and an overview of Logical evidence-based reasoning; Guided Discovery, and Hypothesis Testing.

    • Why do I get so upset about such a small thing? ‘Critical Incidents’: sometimes an apparently minor incident can have a seemingly disproportionate effect.

    • Feature Exercise: Straightening out cognitive distortions.

    • What’s BEST to think about? Enough of thinking errors, what should we think about if we want a sense of wellbeing? Includes video featuring Philip Zimbardo.

    • Logical Evidence-Based Reasoning / Cognitive re-structuring.

    • Identifying Hot Thoughts and cooling them down using logical evidence-based reasoning.

    • Included are forms available to you as a download for 3 years, renewable.

    • Video: Cognitive Restructuring.

    • Exercise: Using it with yourself.


By completing/passing this course, you will attain the certificate Level 2 Accreditation (18 hours CPD)

Learning Credits

Welcome and Introduction
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What is CBT
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The first session or two
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Case Formulation
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A Standard Session Plan
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Evidence-based practice
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An overview of behavioural interventions
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Graded Exposure
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Behaving in Line with Your Values
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Behavioural Activation
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An Introduction to Biological Interventions
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Mood Altering Substances
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Exercise and Relaxation
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Environmental Interventions
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Cognititions and Thinking Style
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Evaluating Progress
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Applying CBT Reliably
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What have you earned from attending this course
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Added 4 days ago, by Anonymous
Good and informative
Added 4 days ago, by Peter
An excellent course that was enjoyable and insightful.
Added 5 days ago, by Anonymous
Good and thorough
Added 5 days ago, by Maeve
fantastic. really enjoyed the course throughout.
Added 6 days ago, by stacey
Good course for very formal settings, very much about the techniques but not so much focus on what tools to use
Added 6 days ago, by Anonymous
A very tangible online course, with helpful real-life examples throughout to assist with the teaching.
Added 11 days ago, by Athina
I thoroughly enjoyed this course. I found very helpful the way it has been structured, the lecture lengths and the variety of examples. The content is wonderful and the facilitator very clearly understood with a sense of kindness and calm. Thank you
Added 16 days ago, by Anonymous
I expected to get a bit more information on the subject and definitely much more CBT techniques. Anyway I enjoyed the lecturing and demos.
Added 17 days ago, by Anonymous
This is a good introduction to CBT, led at a good pace and covers the key elements for an understanding of what it is and how to use it with clients.
Added 20 days ago, by Anonymous
Useful in that it gave a broad over view of CBT

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