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Becoming a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist: Steps to Take and Skills to Develop

CBT therapist

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a highly effective form of psychotherapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. If you are interested in becoming a CBT therapist, check importantmentalhealth.com there are several steps you can take to get started. In this article, we will provide an overview of how to become a CBT therapist, including the education and training requirements, skills to develop, and steps to take to become licensed.

Education and Training Requirements

Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

The first step in becoming a CBT therapist is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work, or a related field. During this time, it is important to take courses in abnormal psychology, research methods, and statistics.

Complete a Master’s Degree

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, the next step is to complete a master’s degree in psychology or social work. A master’s degree program typically takes two years to complete and involves coursework in CBT theory and practice, as well as supervised clinical experience.

Complete a Postgraduate Clinical Training Program

Once you have completed your master’s degree, it is important to obtain postgraduate clinical training in CBT. This may involve participating in a clinical training program that provides supervised clinical experience in CBT or attending workshops and conferences on CBT theory and practice. (1)

Skills to Develop

Empathy and Active Listening

Empathy and active listening skills are crucial for CBT therapists. It is important for therapists to be able to listen actively to their clients and understand their experiences and feelings.


Flexibility is important for CBT therapists, as each client may require a different approach or treatment plan. Being able to adapt to different situations and approaches is crucial for success as a CBT therapist.

Patience and Persistence

CBT can be a challenging form of therapy for some clients, and it may take time for clients to see progress. It is important for CBT therapists to have patience and persistence, and to be able to support their clients through the ups and downs of the therapy process. (2)

Steps to Take to Become Licensed

Obtain Licensure

To become a licensed CBT therapist, you must obtain licensure in your state. The requirements for licensure vary by state, but typically involve completing a certain number of clinical hours and passing an exam.

Seek Continuing Education

Continuing education is important for CBT therapists to stay up-to-date on the latest research and techniques in the field. This may involve attending workshops and conferences, participating in online training programs, or pursuing advanced degrees.


Becoming a CBT therapist requires a strong educational foundation, clinical training in CBT, and the development of key skills such as empathy, flexibility, and persistence. It is important to seek licensure in your state and to pursue continuing education to stay up-to-date on the latest research and techniques in the field. With dedication and hard work, you can become a successful CBT therapist and help individuals overcome their negative thought patterns and behaviors to lead fulfilling lives.