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How can I become a CBT therapist?

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Reynolds’s Answer

There are multiple routes to follow. I worked as a CBT Therapist for 4 years. The most direct route is to obtain a Masters in Clinical Social Work/Counseling/Psychology. You will want to be sure the program you attend will place you in internships that will focus on CBT training while in school. If the program does not reference Clinical training it most likely will not meet your needs. It is also very important to ensure the program is accredited and nationally recognized.

After completing your Masters you will need to work for a practice/agency/company that will provide you clinical training hours, these requirements differ by state. It takes most 2 or more years to complete these hours. Once you have obtained your clinical training hours you will sit for an exam which will give you a license to practice on you own credentials. You will have to commit to a career of ongoing learning to stay proficient and up to date with best practices.

Burn out from CBT therapy can be high for clinicians - it is important to have a good network of other practitioners to debrief and support each other with difficult cases.

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Cynthia’s Answer

Like the other individual states, it might be necessary to obtain a Master's degree in some type of clinical counseling, whether it be MFT, LPCC, or LCSW. Any of these would allow you to practice CBT once you become proficient in the tenets of that discipline. Although, I work with individuals with credentials not requiring a master's degree including those with CADC Certification (Certified Addiction and Drug Counselor). Level I and II certifications do not require college coursework. It does however require 315 hours of approved education as well as 255 practicum hours, which are essentially internship hours. These hours provide you with an opportunity to work at treatment facilities. I bring these requirements up because many CADC's use CBT therapy in counseling their clients. If you are limiting your CBT counseling services to clients struggling with substance abuse and addiction it is not always required that you attend a college.

Cynthia recommends the following next steps:

Options for CADC certification programs,hours%20of%20supervised%20work%20experience.