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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: An Introduction


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: to be confirmed
  • Assessment: a 2000-word essay (30%) and a 1.5-hour examination (70%). Both elements need to be passed with over 40% in order to pass the module.

Module description

This module helps you to acquire a comprehensive understanding of cognitive behavioural therapy as it is used within the NHS. It is likely to be of interest to anyone who works in a context in which CBT is used; anyone wishing to train and a CBT practitioner; anyone who has had or is thinking of having CBT; and anyone interested in mental health and evidence-based therapeutic intervention.

On this module you will:

  • identify the characteristics of this specific type of therapy, and how it differs from other treatment approaches
  • clearly demonstrate the techniques used to treat a range of psychological problems
  • understand how CBT theory is applied to aid understanding and treatment of particular psychological problems laid out in the Diagnostic and Treatment Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5)
  • explore the development of ideas and practice within CBT, including first, second and third waves of CBT
  • discuss how CBT would be adapted for use with different groups, eg children
  • evaluate the research methods used within this area of psychology, including their relative advantages and disadvantages
  • highlight the ethical issues involved when conducting research (with particular reference to harm) and the issues that arise when trying to generalise results (for example across cultures).

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • explain and discuss how the principles of behaviourism and the cognitive model of psychology are applied in current psychotherapeutic practice
  • explain and discuss - within a cognitive-behavioural model - the aetiology of specific disorders treated by Cognitive Behaviour Therapy within the NHS
  • explain and discuss some of the specific techniques that are used within this treatment approach, with reference to relevant research relating to these techniques
  • demonstrate an understanding of the development of ideas within this field, and of contemporary approaches and issues - in particular third wave approaches - and the implications for practice
  • compare and contrast CBT and other forms of therapeutic intervention with reference to relevant research
  • explain how CBT would be adapted to the needs of different client groups and context
  • discuss the range of research methods that might be appropriate to the study of this area of psychology (identifying strengths and weaknesses of core methodologies including both qualitative as well as quantitative approaches)
  • identify the ethical issues when conducting research in this area (with particular consideration of harm)
  • demonstrate an appropriate awareness of cultural considerations in the evaluation of theory and research
  • explain the limitations of CBT, with reference to relevant research
  • clearly explain the training required in order to practise as a CBT therapist, and demonstrate awareness of the various routes to becoming a qualified practitioner.