Certification and Diplomate Status
ACT is the only certifying organization for cognitive-behavioral therapy that evaluates applicants' knowledge and ability of applicants from all mental health fields before granting certification. ACT’s exacting standards identify clinicians with the necessary training, experience, and knowledge to be highly effective cognitive-behavioral therapists. ACT certification indicates to consumers, potential employers, and other clinicians that the individual is a skilled cognitive therapist.
ACT certification is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated an advanced level of expertise in cognitive therapy. The Academy's certified membership include physicians, psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals from around the world. Diplomas have been awarded to over 700 Fellows and Diplomates who are internationally recognized leaders in the field of cognitive therapy.
Visit the Application Process section of our site for more detailed information on our certification.
In October, 1996, thirty-six directors of cognitive therapy programs met in Philadelphia to discuss the merits of creating an organization to certify qualified mental health professionals in cognitive therapy. As a result, the non-profit Academy of Cognitive Therapy (ACT) was established in 1998. Why establish such an organization? The program directors at the initial conference decided that it was vitally important to certify individuals as cognitive therapists for several reasons:
- Cognitive therapy, as developed by Aaron T. Beck, M.D., and refined by him and his colleagues, is an important empirically validated psychotherapy which must maintain its own identity.
- There has been confusion in the distinction between psychotherapy which incorporates some cognitive techniques, and cognitive therapy which is based on a cognitive conceptualization.
- Many therapists identify themselves as cognitive therapists when their practice does not reflect such an orientation. Consumers, agencies, insurance companies, and researchers may be misled by this self-appellation.
ACT awards certificates to individuals who have demonstrated an advanced knowledge of the theory of cognitive therapy and expertise in its practice. ACT is multidisciplinary and includes mental health professionals from around the world. Founding Fellows include internationally recognized leaders in the field.
Individuals who apply for membership must document training in cognitive therapy and their postgraduate education. They are required to submit a written case summary with cognitive conceptualizations and audiotapes of actual sessions to be rated by the Credentialing Committee. Certification provides a number of significant Benefits to ACT members.
Given these rigorous requirements, we expect that ACT certification will become the 'gold standard' in the field and will allow the professional and business communities and the public to identify highly skilled cognitive therapists now and in the future.
Criteria for Certification
- Applicants must have completed the terminal degree in field and be licensed for independent practice. If licensing is not available or required by law, the applicant may present alternative credentials for review by the Academy.
- A minimum of forty hours of specific education in cognitive therapy.
- At least one year of clinical experience using cognitive therapy in a clinical setting with a minimum of ten patients.
- If applicable, up-to-date malpractice insurance.
For a thorough review of all criteria for certification please see our Candidate Handbook.
Please Note: current ACT members cannot have two accounts registered to the same email address.
Atención solicitantes Hispanohablantes: Los materiales para la parte II del proceso de la certificación del ACTO están disponibles ahora en español. Usted puede también elegir someter su Revisión de Caso y sesión grabado en audio en español.