Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive & Behaviour Therapies: CBT for Personality Difficulties (CBTpd) pathway

About the Programme

This specialist programme, alongside the Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Applications of CBT to Personality Difficulties (CBTpd ‘Top Up’) has been commissioned by NHS England (NHSE) to help support the new targets for access to psychological therapies in secondary care services.

This 2 year part-time programme validated by the University of Manchester, is aimed at mental health professionals with generic skills and basic CBT experience and knowledge, to train as a CBTpd therapists.

Year 1 covers foundation, fundamental, basic and advanced affective disorders units made up of four x 15 credit units (2 taught, 2 supervised practice). One day’s training per week is provided over a 10 month period (a total of approximately 45 days including 3 week blocks). The content of curriculum is based on the core CBT competencies framework (Roth & Pilling, 2007).

Year 2 comprises 4 x15 credit, specialist units (2 taught and 2 supervised practice), tailored to understanding and working effectively with people who present with patterns of experiencing, relating & behaving, that are persistent and pervasive, and which cause significant levels of distress. Such difficulties would generally meet the criteria for a ‘personality disorder’.   One day’s training per week is provided over a 9 month period (a total of approximately 25 days). The content of the curriculum is based on the CBT components of Roth & Pilling’s (2013) competency framework for ‘personality disorder’.


Programme Aims

The main aims of the programme are as follows.

In the first year:

To provide high quality training in the basic skills relevant to cognitive and behavioural therapies for students aiming to work with clients with disorders of depression and anxiety. It aims to do this by presenting the relevant theoretical bases of the therapies alongside research evidence of their effectiveness. It endeavours to enable students to develop an understanding of the links between research in the relevant areas of psychological science and practical applications of these therapies.

To provide practical support, guidance and supervision in the practice of therapies delivered to clients with disorders of depression and anxiety, and to help programme participants to develop the clinical skills necessary for working with their client group.

To ensure that all graduates of the programme meet recognised minimum clinical competence in working using CBT with clients with disorders of depression and anxiety.

In the second year:

To equip participants with the knowledge necessary to go on to develop skills in the application of cognitive behavioural theory and therapy to a broader range of clinical presentations

To provide high quality training in the application of CBT to personality-based difficulties.

To enable students to develop competencies consistent with the competencies framework for psychological interventions with people with ‘personality disorder’ developed by Roth & Pilling (2013)   Psychological Interventions with People with Personality Disorder | UCL Psychology and Language Sciences - UCL – University College London and in particular the CBT specific competencies CBT for PD web version May 2015.pdf (

Who Can Apply

Applicants for this programme will predominantly be current staff within Secondary Care Mental Health Services, who have the support of their Manager/Clinical Lead, and for whom funding is available from Health Education England.

They will be predominantly qualified members of the main mental health professions (Clinical Psychologists, Psychiatric Nurses, Psychiatrists, Mental Health Social Workers, Occupational Therapists in Mental Health, Accredited Counsellors). Please consult the following link for a list of all health, Mental health and social care professions currently accepted by BABCP as a recognised core profession, which will be accepted as entry criteria: Core Professions (

Applicants without one of these recognised core professions will be considered for eligibility via the Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes (KSA) framework based on that developed by the BABCP.  The KSA requirements for this training programme will be sent out to applicants.  An example of KSA requirements can be found on the BABCP website Knowledge Skills and Attitudes (

Applicants will generally be graduates, although non-graduate applications can be accepted if they demonstrate equivalence to level 6 academic standards.

Training Component

The training component is in the form of lectures, workshops and supervision of clinical practice. Attendance is weekly, on one day per week, over each of the two academic years.


Course days will be comprised of weekly supervision in the morning and skills workshops in the afternoon.  These workshops will include those delivered by local, regional and national leaders in the field of CBT / personality disorder.

How to Apply

If you are interested in this programme, you will need to talk to your service manager, who should be aware of the allocation of funding for places available in your service, and be able to facilitate access to application forms.

Recruitment usually takes place between August – October.

Contact Us

If you have any queries regarding this course not covered in the information detailed in any of the sections above or in the FAQ section of this website, please email:  In the Subject Line please ensure you put the full title of the course to enable us to forward it to the appropriate programme team.  We will not be able to forward or respond to any emails received without this.

We are happy to answer questions related to the course itself, but unfortunately are unable to provide any general career advice.


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