Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond, Second Edition

Judith S. Beck; Foreword by Aaron T. Beck

Format: Hardcover, 391 pages
ISBN: 9781609185046
Price: $56.00

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The leading text for students and practicing therapists who want to learn the fundamentals of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), this book is eminently practical and authoritative. In a highly accessible, step-by-step style, master clinician Judith S. Beck demonstrates how to engage patients, develop a sound case conceptualization, plan treatment, and structure sessions effectively. Core cognitive, behavioral, and experiential techniques are explicated and strategies are presented for troubleshooting difficulties and preventing relapse. An extended case example and many vignettes and transcripts illustrate CBT in action. Reproducible clinical tools can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8½" x 11" size.

See also Dr. Beck's Cognitive Therapy for Challenging Problems: What to Do When the Basics Don't Work, which addresses ways to solve frequently encountered problems with patients who are not making progress.

New to This Edition
  • Reflects over 15 years of research advances and the author's ongoing experience as a clinician, teacher, and supervisor.
  • Chapters on the evaluation session and behavioral activation.
  • Increased emphasis on the therapeutic relationship, building on patients' strengths, and homework.
  • Now even more practical: features reproducibles and a sample case write-up.


“Whether readers are graduate students getting their first exposure to cognitive therapy or seasoned professionals wanting a refresher on cognitive theory, Dr. Beck's book will satisfy most all professional training needs.”

Psychiatric Services

“An important, timely, and valuable resource for psychiatric professionals who engage in formal cognitive-behavioral therapy or who practice cognitive-behavioral techniques in other contexts. This text provides a clarity of conceptualization and a review of techniques that will prove extremely useful to students as well as experienced therapists.”

Journal of Psychosocial Nursing

“A comprehensive road map to the practice of CBT....A must-read guide for graduate students and practicing therapists who are interested in learning the essentials of CBT. It will no doubt be recognized as a classic text in the field due not only to its excellent coverage of CBT, but also to the clear, concise, and illustrative manner in which the techniques are presented.”

Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

“With its overview and in-depth update on the therapeutic application of cognitive behaviour therapy, the text will be of use to cognitive behavioural beginners and professionals alike. The techniques covered in this text would be useful in a wide variety of settings, such as with adolescents in a school setting or adults in the general population with sever mood disorders....Highly recommended for practising psychologists.”

Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist

“A comprehensive and highly useful teaching text that can be used by either therapist-in-training or experienced therapists. It is well written in clear, concise prose with a minimum use of jargon....Judith Beck is a master psychotherapist who has successfully compiled a text that clearly explains the fundamentals of cognitive therapy in a way that will be exceedingly useful to anyone studying psychotherapy. Psychiatry residents I work with consistently want to see actual examples of how psychotherapy is done. This book, with its extensive dialogues, provides a clear example of how a skilled, empathic therapist conducts treatment. What is most impressive about this work is that it provides thorough and detailed instruction yet is concise enough to be read cover-to-cover in a reasonable length of time….After mastering this text, those interested in more in-depth instruction from Dr. Beck can obtain her work Cognitive Therapy for Challenging Problems: What to Do When the Basics Don't Work, also published by Guilford Press.”

Journal of Psychiatric Practice

“What was already an invaluable resource is further improved with the updated second edition. Beck describes the nuts and bolts of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and brings therapeutic processes and techniques to life through session narratives and case examples. New to this edition is a 'What if…' feature that offers valuable answers to common clinical questions, which extend beyond the basics. This text is essential reading for individuals learning CBT and a key reference for more seasoned therapists. It should be on the bookshelf of every mental health professional and used in every graduate course on CBT.”

—David J. A. Dozois, PhD, Professor and Director, Clinical Psychology Graduate Program, Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, Canada

“The practicality of Beck's revised therapy guide is just plain impressive. Here are the building blocks of excellent cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), taught with wonderful skill and sensitivity in a manner that engages new learners and experienced clinicians equally. This is an outstanding basic text for training mental health clinicians of all disciplines, and is especially useful for courses on general psychotherapy, CBT, or adult psychiatric problems. Numerous case illustrations clarify both the principles and practice of CBT; the extended example helps newcomers understand how to use specific methods over the entire course of treatment. It is hard to imagine that any aspiring clinician would not benefit greatly from reading this book.”

—Gail Steketee, PhD, MSW, Dean and Professor, School of Social Work, Boston University

“In addition to the fundamental aspects of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) that were presented in the original volume, the second edition presents innovations in theory and clinical practice. Like its predecessor, this book is destined to be an international success. It is written in clear and compelling prose, with many practical suggestions and clinical vignettes. This is truly an essential book for anyone who wants to become expert in CBT.”

—Keith S. Dobson, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Canada

“CBT sometimes appears ‘deceptively simple,’ as the author notes, but a range of skills are required to deliver this form of treatment in a competent and ethical manner. Beck elegantly presents these skills in this readable, appealing book. She not only describes CBT techniques, but also applies them in an in-depth case example that makes the elements of treatment come alive. Students often remark that they need to be given an example showing how something is done before they can grasp it. Beck accomplishes that in a way that I think will build the practitioner’s confidence and mastery. This book has already begun to influence my teaching, and I plan to use it as a required text in my introductory practice course.”

—Michael Paul Melendez, PhD, LICSW, Simmons College School of Social Work

“When this book was originally published, it represented a tremendous advance in the teaching and dissemination of CBT. Now Beck has truly retooled and improved the original. Beginning therapists will appreciate the step-by-step approach to the patient that Beck, a master teacher and clinician, presents with such clarity and with detailed rationales and session transcripts. This second edition is a classic made better for anyone interested in teaching or learning CBT.”

—Donna M. Sudak, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Senior Associate Training Director, and Director of Psychotherapy Training, Drexel University College of Medicine

“According to the many clinical psychology students I have helped train, this has been far and away the single most useful book they have read in their careers. The fundamentals of CBT are presented comprehensively, yet in crystal-clear fashion, with straightforward prose, a wealth of sample dialogues, helpful diagrams, and informative tables. New material on behavioral activation, homework, the therapeutic relationship, and more makes a terrific book even better. This is a text that deserves to be read—and reread—from cover to cover, whether you are a student learning CBT for the first time or an experienced clinician.”

—Evan M. Forman, PhD, Director, PhD Program in Clinical Psychology, Drexel University

“This book is a treasure. It is an excellent practical reference that covers all aspects of cognitive behavior therapy. The second edition incorporates much new material arising from the last two decades of research and practice, exemplifying the scientist-practitioner approach. The reference list is greatly enlarged, and new material is provided on cognitive behavioral approaches to various diagnostic groups, the incorporation of ‘third-wave’ strategies like mindfulness and acceptance, and the crucial importance of the therapeutic alliance and collaborative case conceptualization. This volume will be referred to again and again, by clinicians at every level.”

—Ann Hackmann, DClinPsych, University of Oxford Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, United Kingdom

“Anyone who wants to find out about cognitive behavior therapy and how to apply it in practice need look no further. The second edition of Beck’s excellent, bestselling book provides an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to delivering the various elements of CBT. The book offers a comprehensive introduction for those new to CBT, with illustrative case examples throughout; it is also an essential resource for experienced cognitive therapists who want to brush up on their knowledge and skills. It should definitely be a core text in every CBT training program.”

—Alison Brabban, DClinPsych, Durham University, United Kingdom

“I am a true fan (and 16-year adopter) of this text. Instructors, students, and clinicians have been eagerly awaiting an updated version of Beck’s classic guide to CBT and this second edition should exceed their lofty expectations. It retains the clarity, accessibility, thoughtful sequencing, and practical relevance of the original, while enhancing coverage of critical content pertaining to assessment, case conceptualization, core techniques, and the therapeutic relationship. Attentive to both the art and science of CBT, this volume is a ‘must read’ for graduate students and clinicians who are looking to build or sharpen their CBT skills.”

—Drew Erhardt, PhD, Graduate School of Education and Psychology, Pepperdine University

“This book is well suited for teaching the basics of cognitive therapy to students new to the field, or for providing a detailed review for more seasoned professionals in your classroom. Clinicians trained in other modalities will learn ways to use cognitive techniques to help clients explore how their thoughts, emotional reactions and behaviors are related—and to facilitate change and growth. This is an essential text for cognitive therapy courses.”

—Mark McGrosky, MSW, LCSW, doctoral candidate and adjunct lecturer, Silver School of Social Work, New York University (on the first edition)

“I have used Judith Beck’s book for my advanced direct practice course since 1999. I have reviewed many textbooks over the years, but always return to this one as my basic text. The price is reasonable for my students and the concepts are easy to understand, with highlighted summaries and dialogues illustrating the execution of interventions. The second edition is even better, with the addition of chapters on evaluation and behavioral activation. My students consistently give feedback that the text delivers the fundamentals of CBT in an effective, insightful, and pragmatic format.”

—Lynn Coghill, MSW, LCSW, MSW Program Director, School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh

“When I want students to learn how to conduct cognitive therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond is the first book I assign. Before I assigned this book for the first time, I reread it to make certain it was as useful as I remembered. It was—and to my surprise, I even found that many of what I had come to think of as my own special insights in training supervisees were actually right there on the page. When students have mastered this text, Judith Beck’s Cognitive Therapy for Challenging Problems is a natural (and useful) next step.”

—Thomas L. Rodebaugh, PhD, Department of Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis (on the first edition)

“This excellent introduction to CBT offers enough detail to give students the ability to begin to practice, and is sufficiently broad to allow students to apply CBT across a range of client problems. It also makes an excellent addition to a new therapist’s library, serving as a reference for years after graduate school.”

—R. Lyle Cooper, PhD, LCSW, College of Social Work, University of Tennessee (on the first edition)

“The text offers clear guidance on how to structure sessions and how to conceptualize clients using the cognitive model. The case interwoven throughout the text helps students see the process in action. I have used this book for several semesters with graduate students who find it helpful in expanding their understanding of CBT and developing their clinical skills.”

—Michael Likier, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Department of Professional Psychology and Family Therapy, Seton Hall University (on the first edition)

“This book has served as the fundamental text for my graduate psychology course on empirically supported interventions for adults for many years. Beck’s clear and crisp writing style, use of multiple case examples, and inclusion of helpful handouts and worksheets make this text a ‘must have’ for any teacher who would like to provide students with a solid grounding in cognitive therapy.”

—Jennifer S. Kirby, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (on the first edition)

Table of Contents

Foreword, Aaron T. Beck

1. Introduction to Cognitive Therapy 

2. Overview of Treatment

3. Cognitive Conceptualization

4. The Evaluation Session

5. Structure of the First Therapy Session

6. Behavioral Activation

7. Session 2 and Beyond: Structure and Format

8. Problems with Structuring the Therapy Session

9. Identifying Automatic Thoughts

10. Identifying Emotions

11. Evaluating Automatic Thoughts

12. Responding to Automatic Thoughts

13. Identifying and Modifying Intermediate Beliefs

14. Identifying and Modifying Core Beliefs

15. Additional Cognitive and Behavioral Techniques

16. Imagery

17. Homework

18. Termination and Relapse Prevention

19. Treatment Planning

20. Problems in Therapy

21. Progressing as a Cognitive Therapist


Appendix A. Cognitive Case Write-Up

Appendix B. Cognitive Behavior Therapy Resources

Appendix C. Cognitive Therapy Rating Scale

About the Author

Judith S. Beck, PhD, is President of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy (, which provides state-of-the-art training in CBT and offers online courses on a variety of CBT topics, including Essentials of CBT: The Beck Approach. She is also Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She has written nearly 100 articles and chapters as well as several books for professionals and consumers; has made hundreds of presentations, nationally and internationally, on topics related to CBT; and is the codeveloper of the Beck Youth Inventories and the Personality Belief Questionnaire. Dr. Beck is a founding fellow and past president of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy.

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