CBT Made Simple

CBT Made Simple
A Clinician's Guide to Practicing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Mental Health Professional
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CBT Made Simple: A Clinician's Guide to Practicing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


In CBT Made Simple, two psychologists and experts in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) offer the ultimate “how-to” manual based on the principles of effective adult learning. Structured around these evidence-based principles, this user-friendly guide will help you learn CBT and deliver it to your clients in the most optimal way.

CBT is a popular and proven-effective treatment for several mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anger problems. However, there are no evidence-based learning techniques to teach it—until now. This simple, pragmatic guide offers everything you need to know about CBT: what it is, how it works, and how to implement it in session.

CBT Made Simple provides a user-friendly, practical approach to learning CBT using up-to-the-minute teaching methods and learning tools—in particular, the “effective adult learning model,” which promotes interactive learning, experiential learning, and self-reflection. Each chapter presents key elements of CBT in clear, accessible language, and includes client dialogues—including explanations of the therapist’s thinking process in relation to various interventions—and clinical examples. Practical exercises are incorporated throughout, enabling you to practice and consolidate your learning. In addition, each chapter mimics the structure of an actual CBT session.


“This book provides a clear and structured approach to learning and practicing CBT. Nina and David have incorporated active learning strategies, visual and auditory techniques, and lots of opportunities to practice new skills. In addition, a wealth of resources is available online to supplement the text. This book is an invaluable resource for therapists learning CBT for the first time, and for those more experienced who need a refresher in the core principles and practices of CBT.”

—Enid Grant MSW, RSW, senior director of Children’s Mental Health at Skylark Children, Youth & Families

“This is a program hidden in a book, which encourages an experiential approach to CBT learning. With the additional web resources (videos, handouts) it will thoroughly engage CBT learners and teachers. A ‘must-have’ text in the era of expanding CBT practice”

—Sanjay Rao, MD, clinical director of the Mood and Anxiety Program at Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Ottawa, and executive member of the Canadian Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapies



Foreword vii
Introduction 1

Part 1: CBT Foundation

1 Use CBT Theory to Understand Your Clients 6
2 Focus on Your Clients’ Problems and Strengths 25
3 Develop Goals for Therapy 46
4 Structure Your Sessions 60

Part 2: Understand Your Clients’ Problems

5 Identify Your Clients’ Feelings, Physical Reactions, and Behaviors 82
6 My Clients Have So Many Thoughts—Which Do I Focus On? 104
7 Identify Your Clients’ Thoughts 122

Part 3: Cognitive and Behavioral Interventions

8 Look for Evidence and Create Balanced Thoughts 146
9 Problem Solving—Finding a Better Way 173
10 Behavioral Activation—Action Plans for Depression 196
11 Exposure Therapy—Clients Face Their Fears 222

Part 4: CBT in Action

12 Suzanne’s and Raoul’s Therapy 246

Acknowledgments 260
Appendix: Answers to YOUR TURN! Exercises 261
References 277
Index 281