Cognitive Behavioural Therapist

Job Description:

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) practitioners use talking therapy to help patients change negative patterns of thinking or behaviour.

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

You’ll work with clients who have mental health difficulties like anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or panic disorders. You’ll help them change the way they think and act.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • assessing clients to see if they’ll benefit from CBT
  • discussing therapy plans with clients, focusing on what they want to change
  • encouraging clients to talk about feelings and behaviour
  • setting ‘homework’ for clients to do
  • helping clients practise the changes you’ve discussed
  • providing group sessions
  • checking clients’ progress
  • providing advice to other health professionals
  • talking to family members
  • keeping accurate records
  • following data protection and confidentiality rules

In the NHS, you’ll work with other professionals like psychiatrists, other therapists, social workers and mental health nurses.


You’ll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently for recording information
    report writing and presentation skills

As well as:

  • excellent communication and listening skills
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
    empathy and the ability to deal with people in distress
  • problem-solving and decision-making skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You usually need:

  • a degree in nursing, social work, occupational therapy, arts therapy, psychology or psychotherapy
  • experience of working in mental health
  • an accredited postgraduate qualification in CBT

To work with children and vulnerable adults, you are likely to need criminal or security clearance from the local authorities in the country where you intend to work.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work from an office or consultation room. You may also visit clients in their homes.

You could work in a:

  • GP surgery, health centre or clinic
  • hospital
  • prison
  • community mental health team

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could supervise other CBT practitioners. You could also set up your own practice, working as an independent practitioner and seeing patients privately.

You could also specialise in teaching or research for a college or university.