For Dan Beck, one of the pioneers of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the CBT certificate program he developed a decade ago for BU School of Social Work (BUSSW) and now offered through The Network for Professional Education is a point of pride. “My goal was to ensure this program was really different from sitting in an audience of 200 and reading a presenter’s slides. Instead, students receive very specialized training.” The training begins with Beck himself and his extensive background in the field.
In addition to teaching CBT in the School’s Masters of Social Work program, Beck is a faculty member at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy in Bala Cynwyd, Penn., and is a founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy (ACT). These credentials, paired with small class sizes, offer a deep and accessible education in CBT. “The class is capped at 14 students. The small size gives me the ability to get to know students well, and for them to get to know each other. And because the program is online, you don’t need to be in Boston to take it.”
Bringing CBT’s Practical Applications & Specialists to the Virtual Classroom
Unlike other mass-market offerings, “the philosophy of this course is to teach people how to do CBT, not about CBT,” says Beck. “It’s light on theory and heavy on skills. People can read up on theory in their own time. I want students to be able to conduct a CBT session once they’re done with the course.”
“In the first six weeks I cover the basics of CBT,” he continues. “Then, over the next six weeks, we show students how to use CBT in different situations—with clients dealing with depression and anxiety, for example, as well as with children.” The result is a well-rounded, practical understanding of the therapy.
As an added value, Beck runs a free bimonthly Zoom meeting on his own, where a rotating group of 30 or so alumni of the program gather to discuss cases. Here, students can see how alumni apply the therapy to any number of real-world scenarios. “It’s fulfilling for me because students from all different CBT courses get to know one another,” he explains.
CBT Instruction for All Licensed Professionals
Since CBT is a valuable therapy for many different professions, each section of the Cognitive and Behavioral Interventions Certificate program brings together various motivated professionals who have been practicing from five to 15 years. “You don’t have to be a social worker to take the course,” Beck notes. “I just ask that you be a licensed professional of some sort. We’ve had nurses and physical therapists who have completed the program, which has really enriched the experience for all participants.”
For an expert instructor like Beck, the best part of the CBT certificate program is that he can bring the evidence-based treatment to a variety of professionals. “CBT is much less interested in events from childhood and more focused on the thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors behind whatever clients are dealing with now. It’s very effective. I find students take the course because they feel like they’ve plateaued or gotten stale in the way they do things. Time and time again, participants tell me that this CBT certificate program has changed the direction of their careers.”
Note: BUSSW’s Professional Education Programs (PEP) are now operating under a new model called The Network for Professional Education. The new entity serves as a nexus to connect alumni, faculty, and external agencies to help grow their talents and share expertise nationwide. By partnering with the School’s talented alumni and faculty, The Network will create a collection of teaching and learning opportunities for professionals in health and social work.
Sign Up for the Network’s CBT Waitlist