Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Unit

Teaching and Training

For Mental Health Professionals and Students

The MUHC is a teaching hospital affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. CBT training can occur either in the context of a formal McGill postgraduate program in the Department of Psychiatry or through the Office of McGill Continuing Health Professional Education. 

Postgraduate programs: These include electives and rotations for psychiatry residents, psychiatry clinical or research fellowships, psychology practica and internships, and clinical research training for psychiatry MSc and PhD students. The MUHC CBT Unit also trains psychologists from other accredited University centres.

Continuing Health Professional Education: Physicians and psychiatrists can do clinical preceptorships of six months to a year. Other health professionals such as psychiatric nurses, occupational therapists, social workers and counsellors can apply for individualized traineeships designed to meet their professional goals. Individualized training programs can be planned to fulfill requirements for formal recognition of CBT expertise such as certification by the Academy of Cognitive Therapy (ACT) or the newly founded Canadian Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies (CACBT-ACTCC).

Three levels of training are offered to mental health professionals of all disciplines (nursing, occupational therapy, social work, psychology, psychiatry, psycho-educators). 

  • LEVEL 1 (Introductory – CBT-informed practice): for trainees interested in learning how to intervene in usual patient care using a CBT framework. This might include psychiatric nurses on a hospital ward, or case managers of individuals with schizophrenia. 
  • LEVEL 2 (CBT Competence): for trainees who wish to attain competency delivering courses of CBT with different diagnoses in different settings.  These individuals may want to become certified cognitive therapists (Academy of Cognitive Therapy, Canadian Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapists).
  • LEVEL 3 (CBT Expertise): for trainees interested in attaining a higher level of expertise in order to supervise and teach CBT in their settings. Interested trainees should pursue accreditation with ACT or CACBT.  

The CBT training offered at the MUHC CBT Unit has the following components:

  1. The MUHC CBT Seminar Series. This 15-week didactic series, offered twice a year, is given at the MUHC and teleconferenced simultaneously to other McGill teaching hospitals such as the Douglas Institute, The Jewish General Hospital, and in the CSSS such as the CSSS Ouest-de-l’Ile (Lakeshore General Hospital) where members from the hospital, McGill University or first-line services in the community can participate. The course focuses on basic CBT skills acquisition, beginning with case formulation and including cognitive and behavioural strategies essential in the treatment of anxiety, depression and psychosis. Each week involves in-session skills practice with on-the-spot supervision and pertinent reading material. At distant sites, there is a CBT expert sitting in to facilitate the in-seminar exercises. This series is an essential component of all training streams. Participants are multidisciplinary, including psychiatry residents, psychology interns and mental health professionals from the community. No supervision is offered to trainees who have not taken or are not taking the CBT Seminar Series.

  2. Direct clinical supervision is offered individually or in groups. The intensity, number of cases and hours of CBT supervision depends on the level of training requested and availability of supervisors. Supervision can vary from group case discussion using a CBT format to individual supervision using videotaping of all therapy sessions. Therapy sessions are evaluated for competency using the Cognitive Therapy Rating Scale (Young and Beck, 1980).

  3. Weekly assessment clinics assess suitability for short-term CBT. Participants develop skills in cognitive behavioural assessment, elaborating a case formulation, and assessing an individual’s suitability for CBT.
  4. Monthly peer supervision/ case discussions for CBT practitioners at all levels of expertise, practicing in the community or hospital network.

  5. Workshops given by MUHC CBT Trainers are held both at McGill and in the community at the request of interested organizations. Recent examples of workshop titles include: “CBT for Addictions”, “CBT for Psychosis”, “CBT for the Elderly” and “CBT in Primary Care”. 

  6. Conferences with invited experts in CBT are held on an annual basis. Recent presenters have included Frank M. Dattilio, Ph.D., ABPP, founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy; Donna M. Sudak, MD, president of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy; Keith Dobson, PhD, past president of the International Association for Cognitive Psychotherapy; and Douglas Turkington, MD, Professor of Psychosocial Psychiatry, Newcastle University.