Skip to main content


PSY8053 : Introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Mark Freeston
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The aim of the module is to introduce students to the fundamental principles underpinning Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). Based on a consideration of typical development and cognitive and behavioural principles, students will develop an understanding of CBT models of common mental health problems. They will also have an opportunity to observe and develop some key skills used in the practice of CBT. This will include an introduction to the assessment, conceptualization and treatment of anxiety disorders and depression. As CBT is an evidenced based therapy, students will learn how to access and report on the literature that describes and supports the variants of CBT and the different delivery options. Students will also be provided with opportunities to reflect on their own (non-mental health) experiences and how these can be related to CBT models which are by nature normalising. They will be offered the opportunity to engage in experiential exercises to better understand how CBT skills can be applied in a wide range of settings. This will provide an understanding of how CBT is experienced by clients and factors that may enhance clients’ experience of the approach. The knowledge and experiences gained from the module will provide an understanding of the roles of a CBT therapist and how they contribute to the provision of mental health care, help orient students in their professional development, and provide a solid foundation should they pursue further training and supervision in CBT.

Outline Of Syllabus

•       Core principles of CBT
•       Accessing, understanding and reporting the evidence base
•       Engaging the client
•       Assessment and outcome monitoring
•       Structure of sessions and structure of therapy
•       Change techniques in CBT
•       The clinical presentation of anxiety disorders and depression
•       CBT models of anxiety and depression
•       Appreciation of the range of models, named therapies and delivery options under the broad umbrella of
•       Applications of CBT in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Preparation and completion of essay and case study
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials61:006:00Background to specific disorders: Non-synchronous learning; online
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials60:303:00Overview of CBT approaches; Non-synchronous learning, online
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading130:0030:00Preparatory reading and follow up reading for lecture materials and workshops
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities60:303:00Accessing and reporting the evidence base; Non-synchronous learning; online
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities61:006:00Viewing recordings of CBT in action; engagement with assessment tools, etc. Non-synchronous online
Guided Independent StudySkills practice110:0010:00Extension of structured guided learning of skills development, following up content.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops101:3015:00Present in person: Application of CBT models to assessment and treatment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery100:305:00Present in person/synchronous online: Integration and skills application to essay and case study
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study180:0080:00Further reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk12:002:00Present in person: Introduction to the module
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Brief non-synchronous lecture materials will introduce the core aspects of CBT in a largely didactic format including the guiding principles, essential structure of CBT sessions and therapy, the variants of CBT, and the evidence base. Six non-synchronous sessions, including related reflective tasks, will provide a background to five anxiety disorders and depression within a consistent diagnostic, epidemiological, and developmental framework to highlight commonalities and differences across disorders.
Workshops (Present in Person, PIP) will use case material to illustrate CBT models and devise assessment strategies and treatment plans, integrating reflections, ideas and questions from the students in real time.
The structured guided learning skills development will enable students to view demonstrations of skills, engage with assessments, etc. and will be extended by guided independent study.
Guided independent study will direct students to key sources, including book chapters, journal articles and the NICE guidelines to support their learning around the main course content addressed in the scheduled and structured activities.
Drop-in sessions (synchronous) will allow for question and answer sessions and practical tips in applying the knowledge and skills to the assessments as well as questions arising from structured guided learning skills development and guided reading.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M50Essay (1500 words) Critical analysis of CBT core principles and model
Case study1M50Case Study (1500 words + permitted tables/figures)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay provides students with the opportunity to access, review and reflect on the clinical and scientific literature in relation to CBT for a given anxiety disorder and will provide the fundamental building blocks for deeper understanding. The essay will examine the students’ grasp of theory, ability to access and report on the evidence-base and practice of CBT as it applies to specific problem. It will promote critical awareness of the evidence base and facilitate examination of the assumptions and limits of the CBT framework.

The case study will provide students with an opportunity to apply knowledge gained from the essay to a specific case example of an individual experiencing a significant anxiety disorder. They will be required to draw on the evidence base to a) identify an appropriate CBT model; (b) use the model to understand the individual’s current situation; (c) use the model to guide to inform their assessment, formulation and outcome monitoring, (d) and describe an intervention plan. The case study is intended to ensure that the students can apply their knowledge of theory and evidence in an applied context to design and evaluate the outcome of a CBT intervention based upon an appropriate CBT model.

Reading Lists