Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Introductory Practitioners Course (IPC)

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is an increasingly popular form of psychological therapy, and many people who have learned about the methods find that it helps them a great deal in doing their job - if their job involves helping people in distress experience less distress (eg. as in health care work), or perhaps helping people learn how to manage their life more effectively (eg. also health care - but also education, the prison service, etc).

The IPC consists of ten days of direct teaching with the aim of introducing CBT to a person, and helping those with a partial knowledge of some of the ideas to structure and consolidate those ideas into a limited set of skills, so that they can use some CB methods with some of their clients in their routine clinical work. The IPC is not aimed at producing CB therapists. (For that please see information about the Diploma in CBT).

This basic cognitive behavioural competences course is a stand-alone accredited module of ten days plus two written assignments.

Key Features

  • Structured cognitive methods
  • Reducing fear and anxiety using CBT methods
  • Developing your use of CBT methods
  • Using CBT methods in routine service delivery

Who are these courses aimed at?

  • Mental health services, including primary care mental health teams; secondary care specialist teams, inpatient or day services; drug and alcohol, or forensic services;
  • Physical health or non health care services who have clients with a range of psychological problems;
  • Content focuses primarily on CBT as applied to ‘generic adult mental health´ issues, but those who work with other client groups - e.g. adolescents, older adults, drug & alcohol services, physical healthcare, educational or occupational support services, for example, will usually find the course useful as CBT is such a 'broad spectrum approach' - but they should not anticipate that their specialty will feature very much in the teaching days. However, tutors are very open to questions about the use of CBT in other specialities, and some discussion about wider applications can of course be included as the day’s progress.

Introductory Practitioners Course frequently asked questions

Why study this course

Comments from past students

I felt it extremely useful to explore and practice using techniques that I had been introduced to but still wasn’t familiar with.

Group work very useful to consolidate learning, plus videos showing real life cases.

Have found today very stimulating. As always, really enjoyed lecturer’s style of delivery!

Very well paced providing useful examples from practice.

Very good – covered a huge amount of detail in a short time but wasn’t overwhelming at all


Course structure


Day Title Skills / Knowledge
1 Introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Approach 1. Introductions
2. Aims and scope of the IPC
3. What is the CB approach?
4. Cognitive and Behavioural models
5. Characteristics and myths of CBA
2 Assessment, Formulation & Suitability for CBA 1. Why assess?
2. Formulation
3. Protocolised approaches to treatment
4. How to assess
5. Identifying the client’s aims
6. Preparation for treatment; socialising the client to CB interventions
3 Structured Cognitive Methods 1. Identifying thoughts & Using thought diaries
2. Guided discovery & Socratic questions
3. The role of practice - homework, including diary-keeping, bibliotherapy, etc
4 Structured Behavioural Methods 1. Behavioural experiments;
2. Exposure (using specific phobia as clinical material)
3. Problem solving
4. Sleep management
5 Reducing fear and anxiety using CBA methods 1. What is anxiety and when is it a problem?
2.CB models of panic
3. Assessment and formulation
4.Managing physical symptoms
5. Managing cognitive responses
6. Managing behavioural responses
6 Managing your mood using CBA methods 1. Understanding depression in Cognitive-Behavioural terms
2. Cognitive interventions
3. Behavioural interventions
7 Using CBA methods with other specific presentations 1. GAD
2. Social phobia
3. Health Anxiety
4. OCD
8 Alternative methods of delivery, limits and endings 1. Helping a client to help themselves
2. Groupwork
3. Monitoring progress: Reviews
4. Relapse management and “Blue printing”
5. Limits to what you can do
6. Endings and referring on
7. CB supervision
8. Ending the IPC exercise – planning future development
9 Consolidating your CBA skills and knowledge 1. Self-assessment of your knowledge and skills so far
2. Using CBT methods in various service settings – Revising methods in view of your ‘real-world experience’
3. Consolidation: Assessment & formulation Skills
10 Developing Your Use of CBA Methods 1. Picking up things identified in day 8
2. Case supervision
3. Planning your development

Fees and funding

The fees for 2015/16 are:

Accredited IPC = £1,145

Learn more about fees and funding.

Entry requirements

  1. Minimum of either: (i) a relevant professional qualification (e.g. health, social care, education related) or (ii) a relevant 1st degree or postgraduate award (e.g. in psychology, counselling, social care, teaching) or (iii) 2 years full time equivalent work experience with clients with mental health or psychological problems in a supervised clinical setting.
  2. Currently working with clients with mental health or psychological problems.
  3. You should not only have access to clients with whom you must be able to use some basic CB methods, but be able to write about a few sessions of your work with such clients, and submit this information, preserving client confidentiality, to the Programme as part of an assignment. This contact can be with individuals or groups.

How to apply

Specific dates can be found under the ‘Learning and Teaching’ tab.  Please add which specific IPC course you wish to attend.  There is no course taking place in the Autumn.

The deadline for applications to start in January 2017 is 30 November 2016.
The deadline for applications to start in May 2017 is 31 March 2017.

Applications to start in 2018 are open (course dates to be confirmed).

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

The Introductory Practitioners' Course (IPC) is taught over ten sessions taking place over ten weeks, with teaching always taking place on a Thursday. There are three different start dates throughout the year – but if you wish to do the complete diploma, we recommend starting in Spring. 

Dates are as follows:

Course starting in January 2017

10 January
17 January
24 January
31 January
7 February
14 February
28 February
7 March
14 March
21 March

Course starting in May 2017 

9 May
16 May
23 May
6 June
13 June
20 June
27 June
4 July
11 July
18 July 

2018 dates to be confirmed 

Assessment methods


a 2,000-word description of their use of core CB methods during one clinical session with each of two clients, plus some self reflection on their use of such methods.There are two assignments in relation to the Accredited IPC, and they are:

  • a 2,000-word essay demonstrating the student’s understanding of the typical Cognitive Behaviour Approach to the treatment for anxiety