Psychological Intervention (CBT) PGDip - 2024/5

Awarding body

University of Surrey

Teaching institute

University of Surrey


FHEQ Level 7

Final award and programme/pathway title

PGDip Psychological Intervention (CBT)

Professional recognition

British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychologies (BABCP)
Accredited by BABCP as providing all the necessary training so that on graduation from Level 2 courses, individuals will have received the training required to fulfil BABCP's Minimum Training Standards.

Modes of study

Route code Credits and ECTS Credits
Full-time PLD56001 120 credits and 60 ECTS credits

QAA Subject benchmark statement (if applicable)

Other internal and / or external reference points

BABCP competencies leading to level 2 accredited programmes. The course Educational Aims and Learning Outcomes are dictated by the BABCP and Talking Therapies National Curriculum. The course team have added to this.

Faculty and Department / School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences - Psychology

Programme Leader

CROUCH Emma (Psychology)

Date of production/revision of spec


Educational aims of the programme

  • As part of the National NHS Talking therapies programme this course aims to train up Cognitive behavioural therapists to increase the workforce and improve access to individuals presenting with moderate to severe anxiety disorders and depression. The training is for those who either have a core profession in a specific area of healthcare or have suitable prior experience and training in mental health. Once qualified trainees will go on to be employed within a talking therapies service. The course has a cognitive behavioural theoretical base and teaches approaches with the soundest evidence, where cognitive and behavioural techniques are integrated into therapy. In addition to providing intensive skills training to facilitate skill development to a defined standard of competency, the course will aim to increase trainees knowledge of theory and research in CBT and promote a critical approach to the subject. It will aim to equip trainees to become skilled and creative independent CBT practitioners, in accordance with BABCP Practice Guidance. The course will provide opportunities for trainees to develop and demonstrate knowledge, understanding and skills in the following areas:
  • To develop critical knowledge of the theoretical and research literature relating to CBT.
  • To instil in trainees a commitment to and competence in working with equality, diversity and inclusion demonstrating a high level of professionalism across contexts
  • To develop practical competency in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for depression and anxiety disorders
  • To support the development of reflective, resilient and resourceful CBT clinicians.

Programme learning outcomes

Attributes Developed Awards Ref.
Knowledge and understanding of adult clients with mental health problems K PGDip
Demonstrate ability to assess and construct maintenance and developmental CBT conceptualisations for depression, anxiety and trauma-related disorders (PTSD/CPTSD), for their cooccurrence and for other common forms of comorbidity. KP PGDip
Demonstrate ability to develop CBT specific treatment plans KP PGDip
Practice CBT with depression, anxiety and trauma-related disorders systematically, creatively and with good clinical outcome CP PGDip
Demonstrate ability to deal with complex issues arising in CBT practice CP PGDip
Demonstrate ability to take personal responsibility for clinical decision making in straightforward and more complex situations CPT PGDip
Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving therapeutic problems CPT PGDip
Practice as scientist practitioners advancing their knowledge and understanding and develop new skills to a high level KCP PGDip
Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of the principles of CBT and the evidence base for the application of CBT techniques KC PGDip
Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of CBT for depression and anxiety disorders K PGDip
Demonstrate a critical understanding of the theoretical and research evidence for cognitive behavioural models and an ability to evaluate the evidence KC PGDip
Demonstrate an ability to sensitively adapt CBT, and actively address disparities in equity of access and outcomes across all protected characteristics, taking into account cultural and social differences and values PT PGDip
Demonstrate an ability to select and use recommended patient reported outcome measures including anxiety disorder specific measures to assess outcome and guide treatment. KP PGDip
Demonstrate an ability to deliver CBT via a range of delivery modes including in-person and video consultation PT PGDip
Demonstrate effective and constructive use of supervision, including an ability to give and receive constructive feedback PT PGDip
Demonstrate knowledge of the evidence base for the delivery of group CBT for clinical conditions where this is NICE recommended, including knowledge of which clinical conditions NICE does and does not recommend group treatments, and demonstrate an ability to determine for whom group therapy may be appropriate. KP PGDip
Practice safely and effectively, and in such a way that the protection of the public is assured, adhering to BABCP code of conduct. P PGDip
Demonstrate commitment to consultation/collaboration with service users and carers from diverse backgrounds. PT PGDip
Demonstrate that they are aware of, responsive to, and able to represent the changing needs of the Profession. CP PGDip
Demonstrate ability to reflect and work on their own therapist beliefs to improve outcome and to build resilience and maintain well-being. PT PGDip

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Programme structure


This programme is studied full-time over one year, consisting of 120 credits at FHEQ level 7. All modules are worth 15 credits with the exception of project, practice based and dissertation modules.
Possible exit awards include:
- PG Cert (60 credits)

Programme Adjustments (if applicable)



Opportunities for placements / work related learning / collaborative activity

Associate Tutor(s) / Guest Speakers / Visiting Academics Y
Professional Training Year (PTY) N
Placement(s) (study or work that are not part of PTY) Y Yes
Clinical Placement(s) (that are not part of the PTY scheme) Y Yes
Study exchange (Level 5) N
Dual degree N

Other information

Programme overview
The PGDip In Psychological Intervention (CBT) programme is accredited by the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (BABCP). The programme meets the requirements of the Talking Therapies High Intensity National training curriculum and the University of Surrey's curriculum framework. It is designed to enable trainees to develop the skills, knowledge and competencies that they need to achieve professional accreditation (and employment) as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (High Intensity).

Programme structure
The PGDip in Psychological Intervention (CBT) programme lasts 12 months and it has a 4-module structure. There are 72 university taught days. The BABCP required all university taught days to have a split of 50% theory and 50% clinical skills practice. The programme is delivered in partnership with local Talking Therapies services who employ trainees for the duration of their training. Through this partnership, trainees are provided with many opportunities to apply their university-based learning in practice and to accrue the clinical experiences they require to pass the programme. These include the following;

A minimum of 200 clinical assessment and treatment hours. This must include at least 8 completed training cases with three different anxiety disorders, 1 PTSD case, 1 SAD case (the PTSD and SAD cases can make up two of the three different anxiety disorder cases) and two depression cases.

At least 70 hours of CBT supervision.

Trainees typically attend university two days a week and are employed three days a week in a clinical service. The university provides six block weeks of teaching in addition where trainees attend 4/5 days teaching Monday to Friday.

The learning journey
The University of Surrey's PGDip In Psychological Intervention (CBT) programme aims to develop highly reflective and resilient trainees who demonstrate sophisticated levels of criticality and meta-competence. This is because these competencies have been associated with enhanced health service delivery, and better patient care and effective decision making. They are therefore essential skills for CBT therapists.

The emphasis on developing critically reflective practitioners means that training is structured to optimise trainees' opportunities to enhance this skill. This is whilst simultaneously advancing their ability to assess and treat adult patients who are presenting with moderate to severe common mental health difficulties.

The course begins with teaching on the Fundamentals of CBT PSYM162 which sits in semester one. Trainees learn the core principles and theories of CBT and get a chance to practice these core skills before they go onto the engage in PSYM163 which spans across the central part of the year and teaches the trainee specific approaches to working with anxiety disorders and depression. This module builds on the fundamentals module and enables trainees to learn to treat specific disorders such as panic, social anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. Alongside the fundamentals and the specific anxiety and depression teaching, trainees engage in PSYM164 which is: Experiential, professional, and reflective practice, and spans across the whole year. This module includes clinical supervision of trainees work with clients and experiential self-practice and self-reflection workshops where trainees are supported to elicit and understand their own therapist values and beliefs and the try out the CBT techniques on themselves. The combination of clinical supervision to support the development of clinical competency and the reflective practice sessions helps the trainee to further integrate their theory and research knowledge into active clinical practice and supports the course aims of developing reflective and resilient practitioners. It also provides an opportunity for trainees to build the kinds of professional and transferable skills that are required by CBT employers. Module PSYM165 sits in semester 2 and builds on the fundamentals and anxiety and depression modules to teach the trainees to work with more complex and co-morbid presentations. Each module either builds on or complements the others in supporting the trainees to develop as knowledgeable and competent cognitive behavioural clinicians.

The programme's pedagogical approach is one of experiential, critical and reflective learning. This approach supports trainees to develop their capacity to manage their learning independently and autonomously. This is a competence that trainees require post-qualification when they become responsible for their ongoing professional development. The rationale for endorsing reflective learning is also supported by research which has associated reflective capacity with enhanced decision making, better patient care and improved health service delivery. The specific methods of teaching and learning used to facilitate reflection across the programme include clinical supervision, self-practice and self-reflection workshops, case and problem-based learning, expert by experience input, interactive lectures, independent study, and clinical skills practice sessions.

In relation to the programme's assessments, these are designed to be authentic. This means that they aim to assess the competencies that CBT therapists require in practice. There is also a significant emphasis on using assessment to support learning. This is evident in the programme's extensive use of self and peer-based assessment across all modules. Trainees must achieve a pass on all pass / fail assignments and at least 50% at FHEQ level 7 on all graded assignments to pass the programme.

The University of Surrey's Curriculum Framework
In line with Surrey's Curriculum Framework, the programme is committed to developing practitioners who exhibit strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This programme aims to develop trainee's strengths in these areas in the following ways:


The PGDip CBT is a professional training programme that prepares trainees for employment (and accreditation) as Cognitive Behavioural Therapists. Given this, the programme emphasises professionalism and ethical conduct with all trainees being expected to exhibit the values and principles espoused in the NHS constitution and British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (BABCP) ethical framework. The programme also supports trainees to accrue the kinds of transferable skills required by CBT employers through supervised clinical practice, case-based group learning and written assessments. These skills include communication skills, teamwork and time management.

Resourcefulness and resilience

CBT therapists must demonstrate resilience in managing the demands of high-volume working with emotionally distressed patients. They also need to show resourcefulness in relation to problem solving ethical dilemmas and working both independently and co-operatively in developing their knowledge and skills. The ability to maintain one's professional development is a key principle of ethical practice and a requirement for accreditation post-qualification. It follows that the PGDip CBT programme use methods of teaching and learning that actively support trainees to acquire these attributes. For example, trainees are helped to develop a tolerance and openness to feedback through the extensive use of clinical skills practice sessions and clinical supervision that incorporate peer and self-assessment. Equally, trainee's ability to refine their decision-making skills and to enhance their capacity to learn collaboratively is promoted through case-based learning opportunities. The workshops on self-practice and self-reflection promote trainee well-being and resilience. Autonomy and independence are facilitated through the encouragement to access the provision of online resources.

Digital capabilities

CBT therapists must exhibit high levels of digital literacy in their clinical practice and to support them to undertake their studies. For example, they need to be able to provide patient consultations using online platforms, use databases to retrieve research, navigate web-based guided self-help programmes and maintain accurate clinical records using electronic patient management systems. It follows that trainees are supported to develop their digital capabilities throughout training using varied methods. At university, trainees are required to use the University of Surrey's virtual learning environment, video conferencing and online research databases. They complete an oral case presentation via an online platform and these capabilities are also required for the written assignments across all modules given that these require trainees to source literature using online research databases.

Global and cultural

CBT therapists must demonstrate meta-competence in their ability to work sensitively and effectively with equality, diversity and inclusion. They need to be able to work respectfully with diverse clients (and colleagues) as part of multi-disciplinary teams and to engage with the wider contextual factors that are relevant to this area. Global and cultural issues are explored across all programme modules given that they are fundamental to all areas of practice. Trainee's competencies in these domains are the primary focus of PSYM162 and PSYM164 which is concerned with intersectionality, diversity and ethical practice. Trainee's ability to critically reflect on diversity and inclusion is assessed in many of the written assessments which require them to critique the evidence based that informs their practice and to critically reflect on how their practice is shaped by their personal, organisational and socio-political contexts.


CBT therapists work with patients whose mental health can be impacted by sustainability issues such as health inequalities and climate change. Trainees must therefore develop an understanding of the how mental health difficulties and sustainability concerns inter-relate to inform their case conceptualisations. They should also understand their role in positively addressing sustainability problems through more systemic action.

Quality assurance

The Regulations and Codes of Practice for taught programmes can be found at:

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.