Foundation in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: Continuing Professional Development Unit (Formerly Certificate in CBT)

About the programme

The Foundation in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) aims to provide an introduction to the theory and practice of CBT with an emphasis on the development of clinical skills. The programme runs for 15 consecutive weeks and has an intake in February and September each year. It focuses on core clinical competencies in CBT, which include CBT assessment and evaluation, formulation, cognitive and behavioural interventions, and relapse prevention. The Foundation is also focused on developing the interpersonal and reflective skills required to build and maintain an effective therapeutic relationship with clients (Adults / Children and Young People) with problematic anxiety and/or depression.

The course has recently achieved validation by the University of Manchester as a 'continuing professional development' unit (CPD).  It is delivered in collaborative partnership with Manchester University (School of Health Care Sciences - Division of Psychology and Mental Health). The completion of the Foundation is awarded with academic credits at level 6 or 7. The level for each student is dependent on their prior academic attainment.

Students on the course will also receive weekly feedback and supervision from accredited therapists. The course is assessed by two recordings of clinical role-plays, a short presentation and a written essay in which students reflect on their skill development, with reference to clinical and research literature.

Programme Aims

The overall aim of the programme is to provide an introduction to the theory and practice of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). The programme aims to provide an equal balance between theoretical knowledge of CBT and clinical skills practice.    

The specific aims of the course are to enable students to:

  • Understand the fundamental principles of CBT
  • Carry out a comprehensive cognitive behavioural assessment
  • Formulate problems using a CBT framework
  • Demonstrate competency in key CBT interventions
  • Develop awareness and knowledge of cognitive behavioural models of specific mental health disorders
  • Show competence in interviewing skills with an awareness of the importance of guided discovery
  • Reflect on their therapeutic development and practice
  • Integrate CBT skills into their current clinical role

Programme Participants, KSA and Fees

Entrance criteria

The programme is designed to meet the needs of professionals and mental health practitioners from a variety of clinical contexts.


To be eligible for the course you will meet one of the criterion below:

-You have a core mental health or social care professional qualification (e.g. clinical psychology, mental health nursing, occupational therapy, psychiatry, social work, counselling at an accredited level and health visiting) with at least one year’s practical experience of working with people with mental health difficulties. The course follows the guidelines of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapists (BABCP) for eligible core professions (which will be accepted as entry criteria): see

-You have worked with people with mental health difficulties for at least two years on a regular, face-to-face basis. You will need to demonstrate your mental health experience via the Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes (KSA) framework (see below). Applicants who need to complete the KSA will be supported by the course tutors and this will be discussed at interview


All applicants are required to attend a brief interview at the centre.  


Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes (KSA)

Students who do not have a core-profession, as categorized by the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapists (BABCP), will have to complete a selected part of the Knowledge Skills and Attitudes (KSA) framework to be eligible for the Foundation course. Previously a full KSA was mandatory when students were required to see clients from their current employment. In line with the changes we have made to the Foundation programme we have reduced the requirement to only six KSA items. The KSA documents are available here:

The new requirement is to complete:

-  Section 5. Competency in key relationships

-  Section 8. Awareness of risk

-  Section 10. Commitment to ethical principles

-  Section 11. Fitness to practice

-  Section 12. Capacity to reflect and evaluate own values and priorities

-  Section 14: Biography (narrative)


Sections 1,2,3,4,6,7,9 and 13 do not have to be completed for the Foundation course. The website ( has links to documents which give examples and details of what is required for these six sections. If you want to apply for the postgraduate CBT diploma in the future (when you have completed the Foundation) you will need to complete all the KSA sections. The Foundation will help you to build up evidence for these additional sections. The shortened KSA portfolio will need to be completed to finish the course and gain certification.  You are welcome to contact the course tutors and for support in completing the documents. The KSA requirements will be discussed at interview.


Programme Fees

The total cost of the course will be £1,500. This can be paid in instalments (please contact our administrator, Nadine Smith, for further details:

Training Component

The course includes a variety of learning methods including taught lectures, small group discussions, 1:1 clinical role-plays, and structured personal reflection. Students on the course will also receive weekly feedback and supervision from accredited therapists.

The programme runs for 15 consecutive weeks, one day per week on a Friday.

Frequently asked questions

What does a typical day on the course involve?

A typical day on the Foundation program starts on Fridays at 9am. The first half of the day involves an interactive lecture on a core CBT skill or theoretical theme (for example, case formulation). Lunch is not provided but there is a canteen on the site. The afternoon will begin with small group discussions to continue exploring and consolidating the morning’s learning. This will be followed by supervised 1:1 role-plays to develop your clinical CBT skills and gain feedback from the course staff. The final part of the day involves a structured reflection on your personal and practical learning. The day ends at 4:45pm

What do you cover on the course?

The course covers core elements of CBT. It is structured in a circular way so that the theory and skills students initially learn are returned to throughout the course in different contexts and with different disorders; this offers students a means to deepen their understanding and application of CBT in a graded manner. The core topics include: CBT theory and principles; CBT assessment; case formulation (including the use of disorder-specific models); developing and maintaining the therapeutic relationship; cognitive change intervention; behavioral interventions; relapse preventions and endings; and the integration of CBT skills into health care.  

What would be the benefits of me doing the course?

Benefits of the course include the development of inter-personal therapeutic skills that are relevant across a variety of health and social care settings. Such skills include Socratic questioning, clinical case formulation, planning effective short-term treatment, applying evidence-based CBT interventions, and self-reflective practices to aid personal development. The course is designed to be directly applicable for health and social care workers, and a section of the teaching is centered on the transferal of skills back into student’s employment.

The Foundation provides an opportunity for continued professional development, with the potential to improve employability and provide access to full CBT psychotherapy training.

The Foundation has been designed to build student’s knowledge of common mental health problems, including depression and a variety of anxiety disorders. Students will practice assessing, formulating and treating problems such as social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder from within a CBT framework.  

By studying for the Foundation at the training centre, you will receive teaching and regular feedback from a team of fully qualified and accredited therapists. The course is well established and continues to receive high levels of student satisfaction (from weekly and overall evaluations). Students on the Foundation will also have access to specialist CBT literature and training resources via the Trust’s library.

How do students usually finance the Foundation?

Students on the Foundation commonly finance their study in two ways. They are self-financed, and pay independently, or they are supported by their employer who pays their course fees.

Do I have to find clients to work with?

The course has recently been redesigned so that students don’t have to find suitable clients to work with on the course. This redesign will allow greater access to health and social care workers who would have difficulties accessing appropriate clients with which to train (i.e. clients with mild to moderate mental health problems). This change will support applicants from ward-based roles, as well as community teams working with client groups with severe and enduring mental health conditions. Students will now be assessed and supervised via clinical role-plays.

What if I don’t have a core profession?

Applicants without a core health or social care profession will be considered for eligibility via a shortened version of the Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes (KSA) framework. For information about this route see various documents available to download on the course website page. The KSA essentially requires prospective students to collate evidence that demonstrate adequate experience, knowledge and qualifications to undertake CBT training (as set out by the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies).

Relevant core professions include qualifications as a clinical psychologist, mental health nurse, occupational therapist, psychiatrist, social worker, accredited counsellor, health visitor and school nurse

Am I eligible to join the Foundation if I work as a counsellor?

If you are an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) this classes as a core profession and you would not have to complete a KSA (see above). If you are not an accredited counsellor but have gained a level 3 counselling certificate and have had over 2 years of face-to-face contact with people with mental health difficulties, then you can gain access to the course by completing the KSA.

Does the course allow me to become accredited as a cognitive behavioural therapist?

The course does not, in itself, allow you to apply for accreditation as a cognitive behavioural therapist with the BABCP. It can, however, open access to full CBT psychotherapy training. The training for full accreditation with the BABCP is at post-graduate diploma level, and requires a year of supervised practice. The Foundation provides an excellent foundation and experience of CBT that can either be used as continuing professional developments for student’s current roles, or as a stepping stone towards full CBT training and accreditation.   

What do I have to do to pass the Foundation?

To pass the Foundation students are required to complete two DVD recordings of clinical role-plays. The first role-play is of an assessment and initial formulation. The second involves a treatment intervention based on a sound formulation. These recordings will take place during course time and will be marked using the Cognitive Therapy Scale- Revised (CTSR) which is the most commonly used scale to assess therapist competence in CBT. 

Students will also be required to complete a written reflective essay (maximum 1,000 words) and a short presentation (10 minutes in legth) on their skill development, with reference to clinical and research literature. The structured reflections that form part of each teaching day will prepare you for these assignments, and the library service can support you in a search of relevant literature.

How many people are on each intake?

The intake of students for each course is intentionally small to allow for greater support from the course tutors. The student numbers vary, but are no greater than 20.

Is there an interview?

Eligible applicants will be invited to short interview with the course team before being offered a place on the Foundation.

How do I apply for the course?

To apply for the course, complete the application form attached to the website and return it to Nadine Smith, Programme Administrator,, GMMH Psychological Therapies Training Centre, Psychology Services, Bury New Road, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 3BL.

Programme Administrator

Nadine Smith

Please note that we are unable to give advice on what programme is best for you or give career advice.