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Cognitive behavioural therapist

Alternative titles for this job include CBT, talking therapist, behavioural therapist

Cognitive behavioural therapists help patients change negative patterns of thinking or behaviour with talking therapy.

Average salary (a year)

£35,000 Starter


£50,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Cognitive behavioural therapist

You can get into this job through a university course or by applying directly.


You'll usually need an accredited postgraduate course in cognitive behavioural therapy and experience of working in mental health.

To do a postgraduate course, you'll usually need a degree in a health and social care subject like:

  • mental health nursing
  • social work
  • counselling
  • art therapy
  • psychology

You might be able to get onto a postgraduate course without a degree if you have the knowledge, skills and attitudes required by the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information


You'll find it useful to get experience of working in mental health.

You could:

Direct Application

If you're already a qualified healthcare professional, you might be able to do cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) training with the NHS. 

You could apply for roles like trainee psychological wellbeing practitioner or high intensity therapist.

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) for professional accreditation and training opportunities.

Further information

You can find out more about how to become a cognitive behavioural therapist from the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) and Health Careers.

You can also explore other careers in the psychological professions.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • active listening skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You could work with individuals or groups to:

  • assess if a client will benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy
  • discuss therapy plans, build trust and teach skills and techniques
  • focus on what a client wants to change and encourage them to talk
  • give advice to other health professionals and talk to family members
  • keep records and follow data protection and confidentiality rules

Working environment

You could work at a health centre, in an NHS or private hospital, in the community, in a prison or in a therapy clinic.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience you could:

  • supervise other cognitive behavioural therapists
  • work as an independent practitioner and set up your own practice to see clients privately
  • specialise in teaching or research for a healthcare trust, college or university

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Cognitive behavioural therapist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Counselling Skills

  • Start date: 13 September 2024
  • Location: BARNSLEY

Counselling Skills

  • Start date: 01 August 2024
  • Location: CHELTENHAM

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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