The Essentials of Cognitive Therapy

Three Wednesdays in March/April 2023
Stacks Image 1485
Six hours: Three weekly meetings of two hours each.

Dates: 3 Wednesdays - March 29, April 5 & 12, 2023

Times: 9 am Pacific, 10 Mountain, 11 Central, 12 Eastern, 1 pm Atlantic

Format: Live Online via Zoom. Learn from the comfort of your own home or office!

CE: 6 hours, approved by the Canadian Psychological Association (*see note at bottom).

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is the most widely-used form of psychotherapy in Canada for a broad array of clinical presentations. The behavioural side encompasses goal-setting, exposure therapy, social skills training, contingency management, and much more. But what about the cognitive side?
This 6-hour (three sessions) course for mental health professionals examines the fundamentals of cognitive therapy from a practical and clinical perspective. We will discuss the role of thoughts in human experience, and their link to emotions and behaviour. Even long-time practitioners will find new metaphors, strategies, and approaches that they may never have used before.

We will consider automatic thoughts, which arise spontaneously when we are presented with new circumstances, and which we may not always perceive as “stories” about the events we encounter. We will discuss methods of accessing these automatic appraisals and the factors that can make them unhelpful, incorrect, or imbalanced. We’ll also consider the role of cognitive biases, underlying beliefs about the world, and “core beliefs” that can distort the way we and our clients see the world.
Participants will learn how to use the experiential triangle model with clients to explain the role of thoughts, how to complete 5-column thought records and “downward arrow” exercises, how to introduce the concept of cognitive distortion, how to discuss the attendant beliefs and biases, how to help clients generate more helpful and reality-based ways of thinking about events, and how to conduct specific cognitive therapy techniques, including cost-benefit analysis, the pie chart technique, and the examination of attributions. We will also consider the role of the appraisal of emotions themselves, and the links to both mindfulness practice and to acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) approaches.

Cognitive approaches apply to everyone - including therapists. Participants will be encouraged to work through exercises, including thought records, based on their own experiences. Applying cognitive therapy techniques in your own life can be remarkably beneficial - both for you and for your practice.
What You Receive

In advance of the program, each participant will receive an email with:

  • Links to the presentations.
  • A complete set of presentation slide handouts with room for notes (you may wish to print these in advance).
  • Exercise forms that can be used in therapy with your clients.
  • Information handouts for your clients on core concepts.
Course Objectives
By the end of the course, participants will be able to…
  • Discuss the experiential triangle model with clients.
  • Present the situation-appraisal-response model to clients.
  • Conduct in-session thought record exercises, including the downward arrow.
  • Help clients identify basic forms of cognitive distortion in the form of beliefs and biases.
  • Use the thought record to provide clients a strategy for generating more fair and balanced ways of thinking.
  • Identify common maladaptive appraisals of emotional states.

Who Is This Course For? This course is intended for professional therapists (including psychologists, clinical counselors, social workers, and other trained psychotherapists), and students in these fields. The course provides a focussed introduction to the cognitive elements of cognitive behavioural therapy with an emphasis on practical elements that can be utilized with clients regardless of one’s core therapeutic model.

Course Outline

Day One: The Distorting Lens

The experiential triangle model of CBT.
The place of cognition in CBT.
Introduction to the thought record.
How cognition goes wrong: Thinking fast and slow.
Common maladaptive beliefs.
Cognitive biases and how they operate.

Day Two: Vision Correction

The downward arrow.
Cognitive challenging.
How positive thinking can be as harmful as negative thinking.
The use of coping self-talk.
The art of weighing evidence.
Conducting a cost-benefit analysis.
The pie chart technique.

Day Three: The Inward Eye

Examining attributions for positive and negative events.
Secondary appraisals: Turning the spotlight on our own reactions.
Cognitive change versus detachment from thoughts.
Cognitive therapy and acceptance-based and mindfulness-based approaches.

CE Credits

Participants who wish a certificate of course completion must complete the course feedback form and pass a 12-item multiple-choice quiz (the quiz may be retaken if needed). Changeways Clinic is an approved provider of Continuing Education under the Canadian Psychological Association.

*See note below regarding CPA Approval.
About Your Presenter
Dr Randy Paterson (randypaterson.com) is a psychologist and the director of Changeways Clinic, one of Vancouver’s largest private psychotherapy services. He is the author of five books, including The Assertiveness Workbook, How to be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use, and How to be Miserable in Your Twenties. He hosts a YouTube channel on psychological topics called PsychologySalon, and operates an online on-demand site for Continuing Education courses at PsychologySalon.Teachable.com. He has presented well over 300 training programs for mental health professionals across Canada and internationally on topics including cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, assertiveness skills, private practice management, diversity awareness, the treatment of depression, and the “failure to launch” phenomenon.

To Register

Regular: $189

Full Time Students in Related Fields: $149

There is also ONE space in each program for a 75% discount on the registration fee in exchange for serving as a host assistant. Click here for details.

For purchases of 5 or more spaces, please contact me at paterson@changeways.com. We are able to provide discounts for groups.

Please select from drop-down

*A Note Regarding CPA Approval

The Canadian Psychological Association'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. This program adheres to the ethical standards of the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists.

Interested in hosting a workshop in your region, or specifically for staff in your own agency or organization? Click here.


Suite 718
2525 Willow Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 3N8
Tel: (604) 871-0490


Open Weekdays
Click here to get directions