Psychological Intervention (CBT) PGDip

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Why Surrey?

Our stimulating PGDip Psychological Intervention (CBT) programme provides comprehensive teaching in cognitive behavioural therapy through a rich range of learning experiences, providing opportunities to integrate theory with practice in cognitive behavioural models.

This ensures that graduates can provide a high quality talking therapy to service users.

Programme overview

The Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Intervention (CBT) is a well-established, high quality training course that runs for ten months on a full-time basis. The course is BABCP Level Two accredited and part of the Department of Health ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ programme (IAPT). We also welcome self-funded applicants.

The programme addresses real-world challenges with teaching on relevant service issues, clinical presentations and input from service users themselves.

Master-classes from leaders in the field of cognitive behavioural therapy form a key component of the training curriculum, and are complemented with lectures, workshops, video role-plays, debates, trainee presentations, experiential and self-reflective sessions.

After completion of the programme, students will be qualified to deliver high-quality and NICE-compliant cognitive behavioural therapy to adults with common mental health problems, including depression and anxiety disorders.

Programme structure

This programme is studied full-time over one academic year.

The trainees will spend two days a week at the University, the remaining three days a week occur at their place of work where they undertake supervised clinical practice. Six block weeks will be provided across the year, at the start of each module.

On successful completion of the programme trainees may apply for BABCP accreditation as a CBT practitioner.

Example module listing

Teaching approaches

The course modules are delivered across two academic semesters with attendance at the University of Surrey required on Thursday and Friday.

There are also five week-long blocks of intensive workshops during the year. In addition to regular lectures, skills-based competencies will be developed through an innovative range of learning methods including experiential workshops, debates, presentations and video role-plays.

Weekly clinical group supervision for training cases will also be provided by members of the course team. Trainees will be expected to undertake self-directed study and will have access to the University Library and online resources.

Who should apply?

To become a High Intensity CBT Trainee you will need to have had a minimum of two years’ post qualification mental health experience and a relevant Core Professional Training in applied psychology, psychiatry, nursing, counselling, psychotherapy, occupational therapy or social work. You will be registered with a professional, regulatory body.

The minimum eligibility criteria are outlined on the BABCP website.

Applicants who do not have a core profession can meet eligibility criteria through the BABCP Knowledge, Skills and Attitude (KSA) pathway. Please see the BABCP website. These applicants will be required at interview to produce a KSA portfolio to demonstrate that they meet the BABCP eligibility criteria for sufficient knowledge, skills and attitude that demonstrate equivalence to a Core Professional Training.

The KSA portfolio can be completed using the template sheets below:

Equal opportunities

At the University of Surrey we are committed to equality of opportunity in access to training. The University welcomes and provides support as needed for trainees with special needs.

Useful links

Course team

Director of IAPT High/Low Intensity Training Programmes

Ms Mary John

Joint Programme Directors of High Intensity Programme

Mrs Emma Crouch
Dr Maria Xenaki

Teaching Fellows

Dr Sarfraz Jeraj
Mrs Julia Waller
Ms Rachael Orr


We have a values-based recruitment approach. The High Intensity IAPT training programme at Surrey promotes the NHS values which are enshrined within the NHS constitution. The programme team is dedicated to recruiting graduates whose individual values and behaviours align to those of the NHS.

Educational aims of the programme

  • Enable trainees to achieve the indicative content as laid down by the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) National Curriculum for high intensity Cognitive Behaviour Therapy course, in conjunction with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy requirements for Level 2 course accreditation
  • Ensure that trainees are prepared to practise safely and effectively, and in such a way that the protection of the public is assured, adhering to BABCP code of conduct
  • Enable the trainees to utilise, integrate and evaluate the evidence base available for the delivery of CBT
  • Enable trainees’ achievement of knowledge, understanding and skill acquisition as well as the development of critical thinking, problem solving and reflective capacities essential to complex professional practice
  • Enable trainees to select the relevant psychological theory and research that will be appropriate to the service contexts in which it is delivered
  • Trainees to be committed to the maintenance, development and delivery of high intensity clinical practice
  • Trainees to be committed to consultation/collaboration with service users and carers
  • Trainees to be able to function effectively, professionally and responsibly within Increasing Access to Psychological Therapy services
  • Trainees to be aware of, responsive to, and able to represent the changing needs of the Profession
  • Trainees to be sensitive and responsive to difference and diversity in clients
  • Trainees to be able to understand, and effectively communicate, with clients
  • Trainees to be able to integrate a scientist practitioner/reflective practitioner approach in their work
  • Trainees to be aware of the need to foster their own personal and professional development and to look after their own emotional and physical well-being

At the end of the course trainees will be able to:

  • Construct maintenance and developmental CBT conceptualisations for depression and anxiety disorders
  • Develop CBT specific treatment plans
  • Practise CBT with depression and anxiety disorders systematically, creatively and with good clinical outcome
  • Deal with complex issues arising in CBT practice
  • Take personal responsibility for clinical decision-making in straightforward as well as more complex situations
  • Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving therapeutic problems
  • Practise as “scientist practitioners,” advancing their knowledge and understanding and developing new skills to a high level
  • Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of the principles of CBT and the evidence base for the application of CBT techniques
  • Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of CBT for depression and anxiety disorders
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the theoretical and research evidence for cognitive behaviour models, and an ability to evaluate the evidence
  • Demonstrate an ability to sensitively adapt CBT, and ensure equitable access, taking into account cultural and social differences and values

Programme learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  • Knowledge and understanding of adult clients with mental health problems
  • Knowledge of professional and ethical guidelines
  • Knowledge and understanding of the cognitive behaviour therapy, its basic principles, and the rationale for treatment
  • Knowledge and understanding of the common cognitive biases relevant to cbt
  • Knowledge and critical understanding of the theoretical and research evidence of cbt models and ability to evaluate evidence
  • Knowledge of cbt for depression and anxiety disorders
  • Understanding of the need to adapt cbt to ensure access to diverse cultures and values.

Intellectual / cognitive skills

  • Demonstrate an ability to study independently and proactively to meet the needs of the clients in clinical practice and academic study
  • Understand and evaluate clinical application of research evidence within a diagnostic and research context
  • Draw upon a number of sources to develop an understanding of complex mental health problems and create comprehensive treatment plans

Professional practical skills

  • Engage with clients and form and maintain therapeutic alliances
  • Provide clear and comprehensive assessment of clients with mental health difficulties and identify suitability for cbt interventions
  • Appraise and assess risk to the client and to others
  • Make good use of supervision
  • Deliver comprehensive conceptualisations of the client’s mental health difficulties within the cbt framework
  • Develop and deliver specific treatment plans
  • Deliver cbt with anxiety disorders and depression systematically and with good clinical outcome
  • Deal with complex issues arising in cbt practice
  • End therapy in planned manner and deliver long term maintenance plans

Key / transferable skills

  • Communicate effectively with a wide range of service users, their carers, and service providers using a variety of means
  • Make good and constructive use of supervision
  • Apply a wide range of problem solving skills
  • Deal with change effectively in a clinical context
  • Develop a range of organisational skills (time management, work load prioritisation)
  • Make good and effective use of available resources to manage personal stress
  • Develop appropriate skills to evaluate academic, professional and clinical performance

Additional costs

There are associated costs with this programme:

  • Commuting (local travel expenses): Unable to specify amount - Students are required to attend taught sessions at the University two days a week. Students will be expected to meet the travel expenses of commuting between their practice location and the University.

Professional recognition

The course is BABCP accredited and part of the Department of Health ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ programme (IAPT), which aims to improve access to evidence-based talking therapies in the NHS and any other qualified healthcare providers (AQP) through an expansion of the psychological therapy workforce and services.

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Ms Mary John

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:


Course facts

Entry Requirements

The course is open to Trainees High Intensity therapists employed by local IAPT services. Independent self-funded applicants are now also welcome.

Self-funded applications for the next cohort should contact for further details. NHS and AQP training place applications must be submitted via their respective advertised dates and not directly to the University of Surrey.

How to apply

Self-funded applicants

Self-funded applicants will need to ensure they have arranged a clinical placement where they are able to access patients experiencing moderate to severe anxiety disorders and depression as their main presentation.

They should have access to the placement for three days a week (other than Thursday and Friday) and have weekly supervision from a BABCP accredited CBT therapist.

Please note that in addition to completing the standard online postgraduate application form, applicants for PG Dip in Psychological Intervention (CBT) should also submit their CV, personal statement and copies of degree certificates, transcripts and Professional Registration (if applicable).

Funded applicants

Funded applicants interested in a funded place should apply directly though the local IAPT service providers with joint interviews taking place with University programme staff.

We are unable to consider direct individual applications for funded places. Please look out for advertisements for this role in the relevant service providers’ websites. Once you have been recruited by the PCT/service provider, you will be automatically sent to the University of Surrey for training on the above course.

Application deadline

Self-funded applicants must apply by 31 July 2017.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements


We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Loans, scholarships and financial support

There are many streams of funding for postgraduate students including awards, scholarships and loans. Learn more.


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Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees.

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Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

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Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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