Postgraduate Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Course details

The Postgraduate Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a part-time course for qualified healthcare professionals, providing high-quality training and supervision in CBT theory and practice. Oxford is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence in CBT and the course draws on an impressive body of local specialist skill and knowledge.

Students attend 21 days of teaching in Oxford over two terms, including weekly supervision groups. During the course they are expected to practise and develop their CBT skills within a treatment setting, and to complete written case reports and clinical recordings for assessment.

After successful completion students are awarded a Postgraduate Certificate from the University of Oxford. This award can contribute towards a Postgraduate Diploma in CBT, accredited by The British Association of Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies at Level 1.

Coronavirus update

The admissions cycle for this programme is progressing as planned, and the University is committed to ensuring that offer holders can take up their place as expected. Information will be made available as the situation develops. Find out more here.

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Who is this course for?

CBT is recognised by the National Health Service as a major psychological treatment modality, with a substantial and growing evidence base. The Postgraduate Certificate will appeal to a wide range of healthcare professionals. The course has attracted students from clinical and counselling psychology, psychiatry, general practice, nursing, social work, speech therapy, occupational therapy, counselling and the voluntary sector.

Course aims

The Course aims to provide students with:

1. A sound knowledge of cognitive behavioural models, concepts and methods.

2. An understanding of issues of importance relating to the theory and practice of CBT. These include:

  • the relationship between CBT theory and therapy
  • the use of CBT with a variety of client groups and disorders
  • related research on outcome and process

3. Competence in assessing patient suitability for CBT

  • in developing CBT case-formulations
  • in devising and implementing individual treatment programmes
  • in evaluating their effects

4. The ability to convey clearly the central concepts of CBT and to communicate basic treatment skills.

The Course does not aim to prepare students to teach and supervise CBT. The emphasis is on acquiring, practising and communicating specialised clinical skills, within an explicit theoretical framework in relation to associated empirical research.

Course content and structure

The course begins with an induction teaching block followed by one full day per week over two terms. In teaching sessions, emphasis is placed on observation of CBT in action and on experiential learning with participation in role-play and other practical exercises. Students receive two hours of small group supervision weekly.

Reading and completion of written assignments will be undertaken in addition to the teaching days. Many students find it effective to set aside six to seven hours a week for private study.

Students will be expected to have access to treatment settings with regular clinical and CBT supervision where cognitive behavioural therapy skills can be practised and refined on a regular basis throughout the course.

Part I: Basic concepts and skills

These sessions provide a theoretical and empirical basis for the practice of CBT. There is a strong emphasis on observation of CBT in action and on experiential learning with participation in role-play and other practical exercises.

Topics include:

  • Beck’s cognitive model of emotional disorder
  • CBT assessment and formulation
  • The structure of CBT (agenda setting, goal setting, pacing, homework etc.)
  • The style of CBT (collaboration, explicitness, feedback)
  • Socratic methods
  • Identifying and re-evaluating automatic thoughts
  • Identifying and re-evaluating rules and assumptions
  • The role of behavioural experiments
  • Process and ending therapy issues in CBT

Part II: Special applications - developing the basics

This part of the course covers the use of CBT with common mental health problems (anxiety disorders and depression,). Sessions focus on consolidating and developing basic knowledge and skills and on emphasising concepts and methods especially relevant to each problem area. Teaching practical CBT skills is grounded in current and emerging evidence base derived from related empirical research.

Workshops focus on problem areas such as:

  • Depression and suicidality
  • Simple phobias
  • Panic disorder and agoraphobia
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Health anxiety
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • An introduction to trauma Assessment

Students are required to:

  • take an active part in teaching and supervision sessions, and carry out CBT with the required number of patients
  • complete a 2000 word clinical assessment report
  • complete a 4000 word case report of one treated case
  • submit audio/video recordings of CBT sessions for formative and summative assessment 

Teaching staff

Alison Croft (Course Director)

Alison Croft trained as a clinical psychologist in Oxford. She has over 30 years’ experience of working in various adult mental health teams from primary to tertiary care and has extensive experience of applying CBT with a wide range of clinical presentations. She is accredited as a CBT practitioner, supervisor and trainer with BABCP.

Alison’s specialist clinical interests include promoting good mental health in doctors, working with anxiety disorders and with complex presentations related to trauma. She currently works in Oxford as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with the Medic Support Service, the Oxford Specialist Psychological Interventions Centre, and as a CBT trainer and supervisor with the Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre (OCTC).  Alison is course director for the PG Cert in CBT and a course tutor on the PG Cert in CBT for Psychological Trauma & Personality Development. She has experience of delivering training and supervision to a wide range of clinicians, from beginner to expert level, both in the UK and overseas. She has published several book chapters related to CBT practice and research papers in the areas of CBT training and service innovations, and clinician mental health.

Anne Garland (Deputy Course Director)

Dr Anne Garland Consultant Psychotherapist, is a mental health nurse by profession, trained in both behavioural and cognitive psychotherapies. Anne has a twenty-six years’ experience of using CBT to treat depression, specialising in working with patients experiencing persistent, treatment resistant depression, including complex comorbidity and personality difficulties. 

Between 2008-2019 employed as Nurse Consultant in Psychological Therapies, Anne established and led the Nottingham Specialist Depression Service which emerged from a randomised controlled trial testing the clinical and cost effectiveness of a depression service delivering (NICE) recommended pharmacological and psychological (CBT and MBCT) treatments for depression for patients diagnosed with persistent, treatment resistant depression. Anne was a grant holder for this five-year study which demonstrated both clinical and cost effectiveness of this approach in the treatment of complex depression.

Anne has published widely in the field of CBT and depression and has an established reputation as a CBT trainer, both at national and international level.  Anne established the PGDip/Masters in CBT at the University of Manchester and the University of Nottingham. Anne is past president of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive psychotherapies (BABCP) and currently chair of the BABCP CBT Practitioner Accreditation Committee.

Libraries and computing facilities

The Rewley House Continuing Education Library, one of the Bodleian Libraries, is situated in Rewley House. The Department aims to support the wide variety of subjects covered by departmental courses at many academic levels. The Department also has a collection of around 73,000 books together with periodicals. PCs in the library give access to the internet and the full range of electronic resources subscribed to by the University of Oxford. Wifi is also available. The Jessop Reading Room adjoining the library is available for study. 

Student support

For general guidance and advice and for special needs provision: +44 (0)1865 280355 student.support@conted.ox.ac.uk

Provision for students with disabilities

Application details

Fees and funding

Please visit the Postgraduate Certificate in CBT page on the University of Oxford Graduate Admissions website for details of course fees and costs for this programme.

How to apply

Applications for this course should be made via the University of Oxford Graduate Admissions website. This website includes further information about this course and a guide to applying.

All applications must have been fully completed before the application deadline in order to be considered.

Visa information

For part-time courses longer than six months with a weekly or monthly attendance requirement you will not be eligible for a Tier 4 visa or the Short Term Student route based on the structure of the course.

Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course