How to Become a CBT Therapist or Counselor


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that can help you deal with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. It is based on the idea that your thoughts cause feelings and behaviors, not external things like people or situations. If you’re interested in becoming a CBT therapist or counselor, this article will give you some tips to get started.

CBT Therapy experts are made up of different mental health professionals.

  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist, PhD
  • Licensed Professional Counselor
  • Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
  • Counselor
  • Psychological Associate
  • Clinical Social Work/Therapist
  • Marriage & Family Therapist
  • Pre-Licensed Professional
how to become a cbt therapist or counselor 1
Sample Certification CBT Therapist or Counselor source

Who is CBT Therapists

Cognitive-behavioral therapists are mental health professionals with a minimum of a master’s degree and specialized CBT training.

CBT Certification Eligibility Requirements

You will need to have completed a terminal education degree with a behavioral or mental health specialization. This degree should have prepared you to see clients and practice as a clinician.

Read more on: Beckinstitute

cbt therapist or counselor
cbt therapist or counselor

You should be continuing your education on or have a graduate Training* in the following subject areas:

  • Human Development
  • Psychopathology
  • Cultural Influences
  • Ethics
  • Assessment
  • Research and Statistics

Work/Clinical Experience Requirements:

  • 2,000 hours of supervised clinical work, does not have to be continuous
  • Clinical work may have been performed as a part of an internship, fellowship, and/or after graduation from a terminal degree program.
  • Clinical hours must be supervised by qualified supervisors. The primary orientation of the supervisor may be other than CBT.

Professional and Documentation Requirements:

  • Professional license (as required in the locale(s) in which you practice)
  • Liability insurance (only as required in the locale(s) in which you practice)
  • Resume or CV 
  • You will also need to attest to your history of ethical practice, reporting any license suspensions or refused credentialing. You will be asked if you have any medical problems that impede your ability to provide good quality cognitive therapy. 

Question and Answers

Does anyone have any info and/or links to what is required for setting up your own service offering CBT to the public? Either via online methods or face-to-face? In terms of accreditation, training, legislation, insurance, etc.

This depends completely on where you are located. In most jurisdictions licensing is handled profession by profession, not by theoretical orientation or techniques being used. Thus, it is likely that you would need to be licensed as some mental health professional (psychologist, social worker, counselor, etc.). Once you are licensed to provide counseling or psychotherapy, you can provide CBT or any other sort of treatment that you choose.

Obviously, it would be good to have excellent training in CBT, but this usually isn’t required by the licensing laws.

However, since the laws vary considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, you’ll need to check on the regulations are in the area where you want to practice (in the US licensing is handled state by state). With online counseling, again the laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Still, you generally need to be licensed in the jurisdiction in which the client resides, not just the jurisdiction in which you are located.

Last Updated on December 11, 2022 by Lucas Berg


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