Understand the ageing process and the factors to consider when using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with older people.

14,912 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Enhance your knowledge of CBT and ageing, and how to use CBT with older people

This online course provides an efficient introduction to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with older people.

You’ll first cover the basic theory and practice of CBT, before focussing on how working with older people can be different, because of comorbidity, complexity, chronicity, continuity, and contextual factors.

You’ll also become knowledgeable about normal and healthy ageing – as well as late-life depression and anxiety disorders – which may influence your expectations for optimal treatment outcomes when using CBT with older people.


  • Week 1

    Demographic change and normal ageing

    • Introduction to the course

      An introduction to the course and the teaching team.

    • Demographic change and normal ageing

      We will explore how improvements in healthcare and quality of life have resulted in people living for longer than they have ever done before, and the consequences this has for healthcare professions.

    • End of week activities

      A round up of your learning in Week 1.

  • Week 2

    CBT with older people

    • Introduction to CBT

      CBT with older people is a mainstream treatment approach for the alleviation of depression and the anxiety disorders in later life.

    • Early experience and the formation of beliefs

      The CBT model proposes that the direct result of a person's early experience is the formation of core beliefs, these are rigid rules that relate to either the person, others or the world.

    • CBT in practice

      In CBT, the therapist works together with the client to identify unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaviour. The therapist needs to help the client focus on the positive as well as the negative things that happen to them.

    • End of week activities

      In this section we take a look at a case study featuring a doctor and patient and explore a possible treatment path. We also take a look over what we have covered in Week 2 of the course.

  • Week 3

    Wisdom enhancement, lifeskills, timelines and CBT with older people

    • Introduction to wisdom and timelines

      Wisdom is something that is positively linked with ageing and highly valued as a positive capacity associated with elders in our society. Timelines draw upon research into post-traumatic growth and autobiographical memory.

    • Applying timelines in practice to enhance wisdom

      Timelines help people reach a different perspective as therapists encourage clients to look more specifically at events in their lives. Therapists can ask clients to put all notable events from their life on their timeline.

    • Timeline case study for wisdom enhancement

      Here we meet Jennifer, a 74 year old lady who has suffered from recurrent depression over many years. She also suffers from anxiety and worries about many things, in particular how she feels others see her.

    • Develop your own timeline

      In this section we take a closer look at the timeline, again using Jennifer as the test subject. It is also an opportunity for you to consider how you might go about developing your own timeline.

    • Summary

      We have reached the final section of the course so we take a look at the key messages presented, you have the opportunity to review your learning with an end of course quiz and we look at where to go next.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Discuss CBT theory and how this is relevant for effective treatment outcome.
  • Describe normal ageing and how this may be important when using CBT for late life depression and the anxiety disorders.
  • Develop a working knowledge of the latest evidence on efficacy of CBT with Older People.
  • Describe an age-appropriate approach to CBT and when it may be used.
  • Create a treatment plan for CBT with Older People.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, allied health professionals, nurses and Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) professionals, who come into contact with older people in clinical practice.

Who will you learn with?

Professor Ken Laidlaw, Head of Department of Clinical Psychology at UEA has over 20 years of clinical experience with older people. Ken conducted the first UK RCT of individual CBT with Older People.

Dr Adrian Leddy is a Clinical Psychologist who has worked in the NHS with older adults for 14 years. He has been a Clinical Tutor on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Course at UEA since 2012.

Who developed the course?

UEA (University of East Anglia)

The University of East Anglia is an internationally renowned university providing top quality academic, social and cultural facilities to over 15,000 students from over 100 countries around the globe.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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