Cognitive Behavior Therapist – How to Find One

Two days ago, we received a great comment that said, “This is *not* what I experienced when I saw a cognitive-behavioral therapist… I wish cognitive-behavioral therapy as described on this site was available. Too many CBT therapists are not well-trained and refuse to think!” (you can read Sam’s full comments about the kind of ‘CBT’ that he and his friend received on this post – his is the fourth comment down).

We thought it was important to highlight his experience because we think many consumers may not know about the vast differences in training and approach among people who call themselves Cognitive Therapists or Cognitive Behavior Therapists. If you look online, you might see links to any of the following:

Certified Cognitive-Behavior Therapist. ACT-Certified Cognitive Therapist. Nationally Certified Cognitive Behavior Therapist. Certified Cognitive Therapist.

Are all of these the same thing? Not at all. In the U.S., there’s no government agency or psychology board overseeing what kinds of certification processes are valid. Literally anyone can start a certification process in his or her backyard, ask you to fill out an application, along with a check, and dub you certified (as a Cognitive Therapist, a Behavior Therapist, a Music Therapist, whatever he or she wants to call the credential).

So what’s the key factor in determining if a ‘Certified Cognitive Therapist’ or a ‘Certified Cognitive Behavior Therapist’ is really qualified? It depends on the quality of the organization that did the certifying.

For Cognitive Therapists in specific, the only organization offering a thorough certification process for all mental health professionals, spearheaded by experts in the field, is the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. We find that it’s easiest to search for one of their Certified Cognitive Therapists by zip code. Dr. Aaron Beck, the founding father of Cognitive Therapy, is the Honorary President of this organization. Why is the Academy needed? Read about their History. What does the Academy do differently from other CT certifying organizations? Well, for one thing, in addition to reviewing candidates’ credentials, recommendations, training, etc. they review actual samples of therapy sessions. And the people who oversee the certification process are leading experts in Cognitive Therapy.

If you want to make sure that your therapist has been certified by the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, go to their database, type in your therapist’s last name, and hit submit.

8 replies
  1. marion forrest
    marion forrest says:

    PLEASE DIRECT ME TO A CERTIFIED CBT, MY DAUGHTER IS ANOREXIC AND NEEDS HELP
    RIGHT AWAY. SHE IS CURRENTLY VISITING ME IN THE LOS ANGELES AREA, SHE LIVES IN
    DULUTH, GEORGIA. SHE NEEDS TO SEE SOMEONE IN LOS ANGELES OR IN THE DESERT IN PALM SPRINGS, CA. SHE WILL ALSO NEED SOME ONE IN GEORGIA. I HOPE YOU CAN HELP ME
    BY REFERING SOMEONE IN THESE AREAS. THANK YOU

    SINCERELY,
    MARION FORREST

    Reply
  2. CT Today
    CT Today says:

    There are about 9 Certified Cognitive Therapists in the LA area – please visit http://www.academyofct.org and click on “Find a Certified Cognitive Therapist.” Then put in your zip code, and how far you and/or your daughter can travel. You’ll find contact info for all of the Certified Cognitive Therapists that we would recommend in your area. Many of them are leaders in the field of Cognitive Therapy. When you call, just ask if they treat anorexia (some therapists in the database also have specialty information listed under ‘additional information’).

    I don’t believe there are any Certified Cognitive Therapists in Duluth, Georgia, but there are two in Atlanta, Georgia. Again, if you put your zip code into the “Find a Certified Cognitive Therapist” database, you’ll find all of their contact info.

    Good luck to you and your daughter.

    Reply
  3. patricia rooney, North Wales, UK
    patricia rooney, North Wales, UK says:

    could you please let me know if there is an academy linked with the US one here in the UK. i am looking for a qualified therapist in North Wales, United Kingdom. Many thanks, 14th Aug 2007

    Reply
  4. Nihohuhuu.edublogs.Org
    Nihohuhuu.edublogs.Org says:

    Everything depends on you, on how you react to circumstances and to life in general.
    Always remember that you are not a terrible or hopeless person.
    Diagnosis can be difficult and Manic depression is classed as a chronic relapsing illness so it best to work with an experienced
    Psychiatrist and continue treatmet even when
    you’re feeling better..

    Reply
  5. Diane Boulai
    Diane Boulai says:

    I have several clinicians and interns in need of CBT certificate of completion in Atlanta, Georgia and need a referral of a trainer that is certified to teach this course please. My name is Diane Boulai.

    Reply

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