Changeways Clinic

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: Background and Basics

There is an increasing emphasis in mental health on evidence based practice, and no psychotherapy has more extensive research support at the moment than cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). As a consequence, there is increasing interest in offering CBT as a standard component of the repertoire of most mental health services.

Unfortunately, training in CBT is variable and myths and misunderstandings are common. “CBT is a cookbook approach.” “CBT is cold and ignores the feelings of clients.” “CBT is all about convincing people that life isn’t really all that difficult.” In fact, well-conducted CBT is extremely individualized, emphasizes opening up to the wealth of emotional experience, and involves coming to terms with the reality that life really can be harsh and unforgiving.

This half-day introductory session is designed to introduce participants to the background, origins, and core concepts of CBT, providing a framework for understanding CBT-based ideas and an overview of the research support. It is more of a “what is it?” than a “how to do it” session, and can serve as an introduction for psychotherapists considering further training in the area, or wondering how CBT-based concepts might relate to their own models of intervention.

The program is well-suited to all staff interested in learning more about this complex and interesting therapeutic approach. Professional therapists, physicians, ward staff, intake workers, front office staff -- all are welcome and all will leave with an increased understanding of cognitive and behavioural principles. We encourage agencies hosting this program to throw open the invitation list to anyone they wish -- including volunteers and peer counselors.

Maximum Number of Participants: Unlimited

Supplied to Participants: Presentation Slide handouts

Feedback on this program

"Great presentation - lively, knowledgeable presenter"
"Excellent presentation! Funny and informative at the same time.”
“The presenter really made the audience excited about CBT and thirsty for more info.”
”I really got the picture: Right amount of information, good overview, understandable, and fun.”
“A skillful summary. The key ideas were related to practical principles.”
“The presenter discussed ideas in an articulate manner that kept my interest and made me think.”
“A good layout of key ideas and real-life applications of CBT."

How to register

Most versions of this workshop are sponsored by specific agencies or groups, and so there may not be regular public versions of the program in Vancouver or elsewhere.

here for information on sponsoring a workshop on this topic in your agency or region.

If you have any questions about the program or about registration, call us at 604 871 0490 or email us at

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