How will I become a CBT therapist?

Becoming a CBT therapist is the easiest thing in the world, like playing piano – just press the right key at the right moment. This easy to say thing put into action would go like that:
School of CBT curricula >>>
Step 1: choosing the proper core professional training
To become a CBT therapist one would study psychiatry or psychology at university. CBT is treatment of vulnerable people, therefore needs adequate core professional training. As the EFPA (European Federation of Psychology Associations) and UEMS (European Union of Medical Specialists) European Board of Psychiatry put it in their Letter to Director of Unit of Regulated Professions and European Commission Competent authorities of European governments dealing with health care professionals: “(1) Psychotherapy is a multiprofessional activity which is practiced by psychologists, psychiatrists and in some European countries also by persons with other professional backgrounds. (2) The profession of psychotherapy is based on psychology and psychiatry, which are scientific disciplines conducted and taught at university level. Psychologists and psychiatrists form the core of this professional activity both scientifically and professionally. In most European countries, the majority of psychotherapy practitioners are psychologists and psychiatrists.”*

Step 2: passing the course „Introduction to CBT”
The course provides basic knowledge on theories, techniques and therapeutic process of CBT, research base for CBT approach and effectiveness of treatment, also cognitive-behavioural models for different mental and behavioural disorders. EKKA offers the course in every 2nd year, sometimes more. The course includes 64 hrs of face-to-face lectures plus self directed study and case conceptualizations. Graduation certificate is a prerequisite to apply for the advanced course in CBT. Also the Master level course in the University of Tartu „Introduction to CBT” is accredited by EKKA and gives equal rights to continue in training scheme of EKKA.

Step 3: passing the course „Advanced course in CBT”
It takes two years of regular study, a two-day face-to-face session every month plus extensive self directed study and practical homework. During the course the trainees acquire the broad knowledge and skills of CBT and practice techniques on themselves and on common mental health problems. Participants who have successfully passed the course receive a certificate of graduation, giving the right to become a member of EKKA, practice under supervision and participate in continuing education courses of EKKA.

Step 4: passing the supervised practice of CBT
Supervision consists of regular feedback and discussion of case work carried out face to face in individual and/or group format delivered by supervisor recognized by EKKA. It takes 1,5 years and at least 232 hours of conducting CBT under supervision, often longer, to master all CBT skills. A minimum of 8 cases covering at least 3 different types of mental health conditions will have been assessed and treated during this period. For evaluation of the practice applicant will present a log-book and 8 case conceptualizations to the accreditation committee of EKKA. When receiving positive evaluation don`t forget to praise yourself. You are competent CBT therapist now!

Step 5: continuing practice and self development
To be a competent and effective CBT therapist one would maintain certain level of continuing professional development. For this purpose EKKA organizes annual conferences, workshops, specialized courses etc. Also there are many options out everywhere to keep up with current CBT – international congresses and workshops, literature, supervision and covision etc.

Step 6: obtaining title of clinical psychologist-psychotherapist
The CBT therapists with professional qualification of clinical psychologist may apply for qualification of clinical psychologist-psychotherapist. This step makes no trouble indeed – just send to the Certification Committee of Clinical Psychologists the copy of your EKKA certificate (NB! Merely copy. It would be wise to keep the original!)

To carry out these steps in real life might take more time and effort than just to desribe them. Who is still ready to try finds detailed descriptions, entry and graduation requirements of EKKA courses here on our homepage

* EFPA Presidents Council meeting, nov 2009, doc 8
What is CBT?