Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Certificate

For information about this certificate, please contact:

Rob Terry

Rob Terry, MSSA, LISW-S
Office: Polsky 410 
Phone: 330-972-8790

The Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Certificate, offered in conjunction with the MSW degree, affords students an opportunity to master competencies of both traditional and third-generation CBTs. Knowledge and skills learned in the classroom are applied in field practicum under the supervision of CBT-proficient clinicians.

Students must be enrolled in the master's degree program in the School of Social Work and Family Sciences. The certificate will be granted with the degree.

Circle-Rectangle-Icon-2 CBT

Why take courses in CBT?

CBT has been extensively researched as a treatment approach for a broad range of behavioral and physical health problems in adults. There have also been numerous studies with children and older adults. A recent review of 106 methodologically-sound meta-analyses on the efficacy of CBT found the evidence base to be “enormous” (Hofman, Asnaani, Vonk, Sawyer, & Fang, 2012, p. 440), which is particularly impressive given the high cost-effectiveness of this approach. 

In recognition of the importance of educating students to effectively provide clinical services to behavioral health clients, Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services (ADM) Board has partnered with the University of Akron School of Social Work and community agencies to promote the inclusion of CBT training into the curriculum. According to the Manager of Clinical Services, “Fostering the development of an effective workforce of clinical social workers has been a key focus among the 22 contract agencies of the Summit County ADM Board. Through community collaboration and planning, the UA has proven willing to adapt its curriculum to incorporate clinical best practices; especially as it pertains to Motivational Interviewing and CBT. These efforts will help ensure quality local behavioral health programming for years to come.”

Required Courses





Psychopathology & Social Work



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy I: The Basics



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy II: Beyond the Basics



Advanced Field Practicum



Advanced Field Practicum


Total Hours


The Courses

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy  I: The Basics
The goal of this introductory course is to teach students the basics of CBT, which includes the conceptual foundations;  establishing and maintaining a therapeutic relationship; conducting a CBT assessment; developing a case conceptualization and intervention plan; implementing CBT interventions; and termination and relapse prevention. The Declarative-Procedural-Reflective (DPR) model of competency (Bennett-Levy, 2006) is used to conceptualize students’ knowledge and skill development with the primary emphasis on the declarative (what to do) and procedural systems (how to do it). Accordingly, extensive use of role play and self-evaluation of skill development is a key component of the course.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy II: Beyond the Basics 
This course builds on the basics of CBT I by introducing the third wave CBTs such as mindfulness-based CBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) and the Unified Protocol (UP).  In addition, due to the field’s growing emphasis on transdiagnostic mechanisms both in terms of vulnerability and maintenance factors, the majority of the course focuses on interventions that are based on common psychological processes underlying and maintaining psychopathology.  Although attention will be given to disorder-specific protocols, elements of the various protocols will be explored as they apply across a range of disorders. 


Integration with field placement
In recognition of the fact that maximum learning occurs when the student has an opportunity to transfer knowledge and skills from the classroom to practice, the field coordination unit is working to identify and develop field sites that will support and enhance development of CBT competencies. Field instructors in the participating sites will not only be well-versed in utilization of CBT but will also be partners with the School of Social Work in the development and advancement of a well-integrated professional development program.