- Requires excellent communication and listening skills, empathy, and the ability to deal with people in distress
- With experience, option to supervise other CBT practitioners
- Option to specialise in teaching or research for a college or university
Cognitive behavioural therapists work with clients who have mental health difficulties like anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or panic disorders and help them change the way they think and act.
- Assess clients to see if they'll benefit from CBT
- Discuss therapy plans with clients, and focus on what they want to change
- Encourage clients to talk about feelings and behaviour
- Teach skills and techniques that build positive ways to think and act
- Help clients practise the changes you've discussed
- Provide group sessions
- Check clients' progress
- Provide advice to other health professionals
- Talk to family members
- Keep accurate records
- Follow data protection and confidentiality rules
Salary levels for jobs outside the NHS will be different. You'll usually work from an office or consultation room. You may also visit clients in their homes. You could work in a GP surgery, health centre or clinic hospital, prison, or community mental health team. Your work may be emotionally demanding.
This role is ideal for someone with counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach, knowledge of psychology and the ability to understand people’s reactions.
You'll usually need an accredited postgraduate qualification in cognitive behavioural therapy and experience of working in mental health and pass enhanced background checks.
You'll need a degree in a subject related to health and social care such as mental health nursing, social work, counselling, art therapy or psychology to get onto a postgraduate course in cognitive behavioural therapy.
You may still be able to get onto postgraduate training without a related degree by showing that you meet the knowledge, skills and attitude requirements of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies.
You'll also need experience of working with people who have mental health issues through your job or from volunteering. Youmay be able to get experience of working in mental health with charities like Mind, Rethink and Turning Point.
'Do-it' also has information on voluntary opportunities in your area. You could also contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.
It may be of benefit for you to join the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies for professional accreditation and training opportunities.
With experience, you could supervise other CBT practitioners. You could also set up your own practice, working as an independent practitioner and seeing patients privately. You could also specialise in teaching or research for a healthcare trust, college or university.