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 is a 15-week online seminar series for mental health workers (e.g., social workers, nurses, physicians, occupational therapists), psychiatry residents, and psychology interns and practicum students. This series focuses on skills and covers the basics of CBT for the treatment of mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, psychosis, trauma, insomnia, and others. In addition to the didactic material presented, participants will observe and practice a range of cognitive and behavioural strategies. Participants will also receive pertinent readings on each topic. To fully benefit from this seminar series, it is strongly encouraged that participants plan to use CBT with one or more patients and receive individual supervision while attending the seminar. Access to Zoom, a strong internet connection, a camera, and a microphone is required.

    The covered topics include introduction to CBT; case conceptualization; cognitive strategies (e.g., Socratic dialogue, thought records, behavioural experiments, core belief work); behavioural strategies (e.g., behavioural activation, exposure, habit reversal, stimulus control, contingency management); therapeutic alliance; termination and relapse prevention; and special topics (e.g., psychosis, insomnia, trauma).

    All seminar leaders are affiliated with the MUHC:

    • Kia Faridi, MD, FRCPC – psychiatrist
    • Jean-Philippe Gagné, PhD – psychologist
    • Gail Myhr, MD,CM, MSc, FRCPC – psychiatrist
    • Jesse Renaud, PhD – psychologist
    • Marie Saint-Laurent, MD, FRCPC – psychiatrist
    • Vicki Tagalakis, MEd – psychologist

    The MUHC CBT Unit is approved by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) to offer continuing education (CE) credits for the MUHC CBT Seminar Series. The MUHC CBT Unit maintains responsibility for the program.

    Please contact the MUHC CBT Unit for more information, including the schedule and registration form: [email protected]

    The CPA’s approval of an individual, group, or organization as a CE Sponsor or Provider is restricted to the activities described in the approved application or annual report form. The CPA’s approval does not extend to any other CE activity the Sponsor or Provider might offer. In granting its approval, the CPA assumes no legal or financial obligations to Sponsors, Providers, or to those individuals who might participate in a Sponsor or Provider’s CE activities or programs. Further, responsibility for the content, provision, and delivery of any CE activity approved by the CPA remains that of the CE Sponsor or Provider. The CPA disclaims all legal liability associated with the content, provision, and delivery of the approved CE activity.

  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.