Module code: PSYM162

Module Overview

This is the first in a series of four modules and provides grounding in the fundamental principles of CBT. This module introduces trainees to the theory and research in CBT for common mental health problems. It begins with an introduction to NHS Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression and the stepped care system, grounded in the diagnostic and classification systems for common mental health problems and the bio-psychosocial models. The module provides the trainees with the theoretical foundations and principles that shape CBT, establishing an empirical basis for informed practice. Trainees are encouraged to develop a critical understanding of these concepts and principles and to evaluate the research evidence underpinning Cognitive Behavioural theory and practice. The core competencies of formulation, treatment planning, change techniques and relapse prevention are embedded as a strong foundation for CBT practice and for the development of an effective therapeutic practitioner. The module provides a breadth of knowledge and opportunities for experiential and reflective practice to develop skills related to CBT application that are fundamental for the development for later modules that look at this in further depth. Trainees are encouraged to reflect on examples of concepts and principles which include: the structure of CBT, the therapeutic alliance, difference and diversity and anti-discriminatory practice, and the issue of risk. 

We acknowledge that this module has drawn on research that historically privileges white, male and Westernised epistemologies, assumptions, theories and outcome research that may not fully reflect the diversity of students and the populations we serve, and in some cases discriminate against more diverse perspectives. We are actively working together to develop a less biased and more balanced knowledge base through more varied reading lists, culturally sensitive application, diverse case studies and assessment rubrics. We welcome the collaboration with our students in the endeavour to provide a more robust, just, and inclusive representation of the discipline. Please email if you have any queries or feedback. 

Module provider


Module Leader

JERAJ Sarfraz (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 30

ECTS Credits: 15

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 55

Independent Learning Hours: 150

Lecture Hours: 55

Guided Learning: 30

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Phenomenology, Diagnostic classification, and epidemiological characteristic of common mental health problems. CBT theory and development. Assessment methodology, clinical research, clinical trials, and outcome studies. Principle of stepped care system and the role of high intensity psychological therapy. Use of critical measurement to monitor CBT process and outcome. The role of the medication and possible contra-indications to therapy e.g., substance misuse. Introduction to risk assessment, mental state examination and personal medical history. Fundamental principles of CBT such as collaborative empiricism and treatment structure. The role of the therapeutic relationship in CBT. CBT Assessment and Formulation. Maintenance and development of conceptualisation for Anxiety and Depression. CBT skills - Examples of CBT skills developed through experiential and reflective practice in workshops: Guided discover identifying and evaluating key cognitions, working with automatic thoughts, developing alternative perspectives, identifying common thinking errors and processing bias, identifying and evaluating underlying assumptions, attitudes and rules, employing a range of change techniques, identifying and evaluating core beliefs, eliciting cognitions associated with upsetting emotions, identifying problematic cognitions and related behaviours. CBT treatment plans and change techniques for Anxiety and Depression e.g., pie charts, positive data logs, behavioural experiments

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Critical Literature Review 50
Coursework Case Report 1 (Written) 50
Coursework KSA Portfolio or Evidence of professional body membership Pass/Fail

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide trainees with an opportunity to:

  • Demonstrate their understanding of the theoretical and research evidence of cognitive behavioural therapy and an ability to evaluate scientific evidence that informs CBT clinical practice

  • Provide evidence of their Knowledge, Skills and Attitude appropriate for CBT training and to practice within a professional code of conduct and ethics

  • Demonstrate their understanding of the fundamental principles of CBT in clinical practice, with particular emphasis on the stages of assessment and formulation which will then inform and guide the subsequent clinical treatment.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of: 

For KSA candidates: A KSA portfolio which includes their membership details to the BABCP.

For Core Profession candidates - The submission of evidence of membership of a professional body with a code of conduct Critical Literature review:

A critical literature review reflecting trainee's understanding of the empirical basis for CBT and its implications for clinical practice. (Learning outcome 1,2,3,4,5)

Case report: Clinical case report reflecting fundamental principles of assessment, formulation and rationale for treatment within the Cognitive Behaviour framework carried out with a patient presenting with either an anxiety disorder or depression. This should include consideration of the stepped-care model, suitability for appropriate treatment, reflection on trainee's identity and the interaction of this with the client's identity which can impact on the therapeutic relationship. (Addresses learning outcomes: 2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16)

Formative assessment:

Journal Club The trainees will be given the opportunity to take part in a journal club where they will present an up to date and relevant article/research paper as part of a small group to the wider group. The trainees will be expected to demonstrate the relevant theory practice links. There will be opportunity for both teaching staff and trainees to ask questions, discuss and feedback on this presentation. (Completed Start of October) CTSA Formative video recorded assessment session and self-rated assessment CTS-A with a client assessed and marked by the Course Supervisor using the assessment CTS-A and formative feedback given to the trainee in a meeting with the Course Supervisor. (Completed End of November)


  • Trainees will have regular opportunities to receive verbal feedback throughout teaching, skills workshops, supervision, and the Journal club

  • Supervisors will provide written and verbal feedback specific to the CTSA

  • Trainees will meet with their personal tutor during this module and will have the opportunity to give and receive feedback on progress and understanding to date.

Module aims

  • To develop critical knowledge of the theoretical and research literature of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • To develop practical competencies in the fundamentals of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate knowledge of the phenomenology, diagnostic classification, and epidemiological characteristics of common mental health disorders KPT
002 Relate knowledge of CBT theory and development to clinical practice KP
003 Critically appraise cognitive and behavioural research and relevant therapeutic interventions CT
004 Demonstrate how to complete a thorough CBT Assessment including risk assessment KPT
005 Reflect upon the fundamental principles of CBT (e.g. collaborative empiricism, clinical process, formulation) and their function within clinical practice KCPT
006 Reflect upon the importance of the therapeutic relationship and critically appraise its role in therapy KCPT
007 Apply knowledge of the principles of the stepped care system¿ KP
008 Demonstrate an understanding of relevant pharmacological interventions KPT
009 Assess client's suitability for short-term CBT, including presenting difficulties, background history, risk assessment and contra-indications. With the ability to use standard and idiosyncratic measures to aid assessment, diagnosis, progress, and outcome KCPT
010 10. Deliver a clear CBT treatment rationale appropriate to the individual client and with the client's collaboration. KCPT
011 Construct developmental and maintenance CBT conceptualisation with consideration to the client's environment, culture, and any other relevant individual identity characteristics. To be able to demonstrate ongoing critical evaluation of the conceptualisation. KCP
012 Devise treatment plans based on theoretical understanding with the ability to develop these based on presentation and end of treatment plans to maintain therapeutic gains. Within this, the ability to structure CBT sessions and set agreed goals for treatment that are relevant, achievable, and measurable. CPT
013 Demonstrate knowledge of key CBT skills (e.g. guided discovery, evaluation of key cognitions, identification of common thinking errors and processing biases) KCP
014 Demonstrate an ability to identify and evaluate underlying assumptions, attitudes rules and core beliefs, with an awareness and appreciation of individual identity characteristics. To employ a range of change techniques, such as pie charts, continuums, and behavioural experiments. KCP
015 Demonstrate ability to form effective therapeutic relationships. PT
016 Demonstrate the ability to take responsibility for clinical decision making and to evaluate their treatment choices and reflect on their understanding KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

Drawing on the thee-part modal of Therapist skill development presented by Bennet-Levy (2006). This modal proposes that systems of learning must operate for effective skill development: the declarative system (knowledge gain through lectures and reading), the procedural system (knowledge gained through application of declarative knowledge in practice) and the reflective system (knowledge gained through reflection on practice. Throughout this module and across the course the Trainees will therefore be encouraged to;

  • Acquire theoretical, empirical and practice-based CBT knowledge and its core competencies for clients with mental health problems

  • Think critically to evaluate this knowledge to support their clinical decision making and practice Develop clinical skills to achieve the best outcomes for patients.

  • Develop reflective practice skills to help evaluate their development as effective CBT practitioners and therapy professionals.

  • The above learning and teaching strategy relates to this module in terms of supporting trainees in the acquisition of the fundamental theoretical, empirical and practice-based knowledge of CBT for clients with common mental health problems. Together with the opportunity to apply critical thinking to the knowledge acquired; and to develop clinical and reflective practice skills to build a solid base as effective CBT practitioners.

The learning and teaching methods include:

The three systems of learning described above will be utilised through lecture/workshop presentations of a key concept or method and their application to clinical practice.

Structured opportunities for reflection on this form of practice will be included, as will opportunities to self-practice (i.e. application of CBT methods to participants' own lives). Skills will be practiced extensively using peers and tutors in role-play scenarios, and through reviewing audio and video footage of each other's clinical work. Other methods employed will be; class debate and discussion, participant presentations, group exercises, skills practice, video and audio recordings, tutorials, self- directed inquiry, personal reflection, and guided reading. The above methods allow for key skills to be developed and tested in application. Critical evaluation and personal reflection is encouraged, drawing on research evidence, clinical experience and knowledge of self, fellow trainees and tutors.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSYM162

Other information

The school/department of Psychology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Digital capabilities:

Teaching will be provided on how to effectively deliver CBT for Anxiety and Depression via online, video or audio platforms, including critical reflection on the advantages and disadvantages of delivering therapy in this way. Trainees are required to work with a minimum of two clients online to meet the requirements of the BABCP. Trainees will be expected to access and utilize resources on SurreyLearn, which tutors can monitor via the Surrey Engagement tool. Tutors will provide opportunities to watch videos, listen to audios resources, and podcasts to diversify learning opportunities and enhance engagement. Students will be required to digitally record therapy session in order to engage meaningfully with supervision, submit assignments and meet accrediting body requirements. Trainees submit their KSA portfolios in a digital format. The journal club involves developing and presenting a PowerPoint presentation as a group. In lectures and workshops, students will engage with a range of digital tools including PollEverywhere, WordWall, Kahoot, Qualtrics, and use screen sharing tools when seeing patients online.


All trainees are required to evidence membership of our professional body (the BABCP) as part of a summative assignment. Any trainees who do not have a core profession are invited to attend a KSA portfolio workshop over the Summer – before the course starts. Trainees are expected to have completed their KSA portfolio prior to the start of the course. This helps to ensure that they have met the requirements to apply for provisional BABCP accreditation as early as possible after course completion. Trainee’s will be supported to build CBT competencies throughout the module with the aim that they will be eligible to for professional accreditation with the BABCP on completion of the course. Trainees are expected to hold a clinical caseload within a talking therapies service, alongside participating in the course. This provides trainees with the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills required to develop their clinical practice. Within the lectures, skills workshops, and clinical supervision, trainees will be encouraged to reflect on their progress and will be given multiple opportunities to receive feedback from tutors/supervisors to help them move toward the competency required for employment.

Global and cultural capabilities:

This module includes specific teaching on the topic of diversity and cultural competency. This includes topics such as intersectionality and using the Hays ADDRESSING framework to consider areas of similarity and difference. This learning is furthered through a formative journal club assignment which focuses on cultural adaptation of CBT and anti-discriminatory practice. Teaching will be provided to support trainees to gain knowledge about access, and deliver of CBT across different cultural groups, and diverse populations. They are encouraged to consider the implications for clinical practice and reflect this within their presentation of clinical cases in supervision and throughout their assignments. Further to this teaching vignettes aim to represent the diversity that is present in those who seek CBT for Anxiety and Depression.

Resourcefulness and Resilience:

Trainees from the previous cohort will deliver a session to share knowledge, tips and wisdoms to help current trainees manage the challenges of the course. Trainees will have regular access to their personal tutor to support them with the practical and emotional demands of the course, and regular study time will be allocated through the module to provide trainees with protected time to manage the workload. Trainees are required to identify and contact suitable training patients and learn to manage when a patient rejects a treatment offer from a trainee or when a patient drops out of therapy. Trainees will also develop resilience through organising assignment deadlines and navigating feedback and support.


KSA portfolio is required to be submitted in digital form. Session resources are posted on SurreyLearn for trainees to access prior to teaching rather than being printed.

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 2025/6 academic year.