How to Choose a CBT Training Course

Before training in CBT

Prior mental health training and experience are needed to get onto many CBT courses, and for accreditation. The section on Core Professions is the best place to start finding out about this. 

Considerations when choosing a course

BABCP Level 2 accredited courses will allow you to meet all the requirements for accreditation - you won't need to work through the points below as they satisfy all of our criteria.

BABCP Level 1 accredited courses - meet our accreditation criteria in the sections below marked with *an asterisk. However there will be other requirements they don't meet. They have achieved Level 1 accreditation because they meet our standards in training quality.  

Other courses - sometimes cost, location or other commitments may mean that it is more practical for you to complete a non-accredited course. It may still be possible to become accredited if you take one of these - the points below should help you choose. 

Its important to contact the Directors of any courses you are considering and ask for their curriculum details.

Firstly, ask yourself if you want to get accredited at the end of your CBT training. if you do, this will affect some of the criteria you will need to look for in a course.

Why get accredited?  This link in our Getting Accredited FAQs might help you decide on this.

If your aim is to become accredited, you will need to check that the training you take will ultimately allow you to meet the our Minimum Training Standards (MTS). This training will usually be a Post-Graduate diploma. However, there can be great variation between diploma courses and this section aims to help you choose courses that are more likely to lead to accreditation. It will still be very important for you to compare the course curriculum with our Standards to be sure you will be able to meet them after graduating.

If you aren't intending to get accredited with us, and you simply want to gain some CBT skills and knowledge, then you may not need to be so selective in your choice or length of training, and your own previous experience will be less important. However this section will still provide recommendations on how to check the quality of a course.

Our Minimum Training Standards are the criteria for accreditation. If you want to become accredited after the course, you should check how close the course comes to allowing you to meet these.

What if I need to top up my training to meet the requirements? This section in our Getting Accredited FAQs will give some details on the minimums you should look for on the course and what to do to make up any shortfall.

To be eligible for accreditation, your CBT training must be at Post-Graduate level (university level 7). 

This will usually by a Post-Graduate Diploma in CBT specifically, on a University validated course.

There are many courses with CBT components.  However, unless they are Post-Graduate trainings in CBT alone, they might not offer the 200 taught CBT hours needed for accreditation – you will need to check this against the course information.

Therapeutic training involves learning interpersonal skills. For this reason we require that at least 80% of training on courses is face to face and interactive.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, for now, we are accepting face to face training which is online provided that -

  • it is live – not recorded
  • it offers you the opportunity to take part in discussion and ask questions
  • it includes small group work
  • it incorporates skills development like demonstrations and role play
  • it has a 50:50 ratio of theoretical to skills teaching

Once the pandemic is over, we will review our requirements on how much training needs to be in person. We give plenty of notice if we intend to change our requirements on this. This means you will have time to apply for accreditation using the current guidance before any changes are brought in.

More guidance on training during the pandemic can be found at COVID-19.  

Our Minimum Training Standards say that you need to have completed 200 taught CBT hours on core CBT skills and theory. 

What if I need to top up my training to meet the requirements?  This section on our Getting Accredited FAQs page will tell you what to do if the course falls a little short of these 200 hours.

To get accredited after a non-accredited training, you will need to give us evidence that all the trainers and supervisors who oversaw you are suitably trained qualified CBT themselves. 

This means they will either be BABCP accredited practitioners, or clinicians who are  trained in CBT to at least post-graduate diploma level, practising CBT for at least half lf their practice and receiving specifically CBT supervision .

Training and supervision on all our accredited courses is provided entirely by practitioners accredited with us.

CBT training should teach the fundamental theories and skills that underpin cognitive and behavioural therapy. This includes the best evidence-based treatments and core protocols for depression and anxiety disorders.

To meet the criteria for accreditation, the first 200 CBT taught hours of your training should be these core skills. To be certain the course covers these, you could check their programme details against our Core Curriculum. Some courses may be able to give you information on how much of this they meet. 

To learn any skill, you have to practice it. As a trainee CBT therapist, ideally you will be on placement during your training. For accreditation, you will need to have completed 200 clinical practice hours that are supervised by a BABCP Accredited Therapist or equivalent.

Some courses provide the placements (e.g. IAPT courses), others you will have to find your own placement.

A substantial element of your learning within training comes from the supervision of your placement.

Supervision which is provided within the course will probably provide a more coherent learning opportunity than if your supervisor is not linked to the programme.  External supervision is also likely to add to the cost of your training.

Live supervision (reviewing of audio or videotapes or sitting in a session) is essential for accreditation and there's evidence that this enhances your learning and skills as a therapist. It's worth checking if this is required for any course you are interested in.

Both of these are provided on all accredited courses by supervisors who are BABCP all accredited practitioners. 

You have to have had four CBT case studies formally assessed to apply for accreditation. 

If you train on a course that requires less than this, you will need to complete the remainder before applying for accreditation.

If you are accepted onto an IAPT training, you will not have to pay for your training - you will be an NHS employee during the course and your placement and supervision will be included in this training. 

Many other post-graduate trainings have to be paid for by the student or sometimes are partly funded by a commissioner or employer.

You can find out more about this on our Training in CBT page.

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