Cognitive Behavior Therapy in Chronic Illness

Academic year
Subject Area
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

This curricular unit implies knowledge that can be acquired by attending the curricular units Psychopathology (I and II), Behavioural Models and Cognitive Models, Behaviour Modification, and Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies in Adults I and II.

Teaching Methods

Lectures, with PowerPoint presentations, will be used to present the theoretical contents, accompanied by students’ interaction. Clinical examples are presented in parallel with most of the contents. In a more practical component, role-paly and simulation exercises will be used to developing and training assessment and intervention skills. In order to demonstrate the link between research and clinical practice, some mental health professionals who work with chronic patients and conduct research in this area will be invited, followed by a guided debate.

Learning Outcomes

The goal of this curricular unit is to present the development and application of the cognitive-behavioural (CB) model to different chronic diseases (CD), regarding assessment, conceptualization/formulation, intervention and research. It is intended that students (1) understand the impact of a CD in individuals’ life and the relevance of CB therapies in this context; and (2) develop assessment, formulation and clinical intervention skills in different CD

Skills to acquire:
1.Knowledge about the impact of a CD (individual, couple/family) and implications for the quality of life
2.Knowledge in cross-cutting themes to CD (e.g., doctor-patient communication; adherence)
3.Knowledge on the specificities of the application of CB model and strategies to CD
4.Development of skills of CB assessment and conceptualization in the context of CD
5.Knowledge and intervention skills regarding different intervention protocols applied to various CD and in cases of advanced disease/terminal illness

Work Placement(s)



1. Chronic disease framework

1.1.Basic concepts and high-impact diseases

1.2.Cross-cutting themes in CD

1.3.Impact of a CD in the individual, couple and family

1.4.Comprehensive models of adaptation to CD

1.5.Quality of life and health-related quality of life


2. Application of the cognitive-behavioural model to CD

2.1.The relevance of cognitive-behavioural (CB) approaches for CD

2.2.Empirical evidence of the effectiveness of the cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) in CD

2.3.Assessment, formulation and CB intervention strategies

2.4.Contribution of the CB models of third generation

2.5.E-health CB interventions


3. Specific contexts of CB intervention


3.2.CBT in oncology

3.3.CBT in chronic pain


4. Advanced and terminal disease: Palliative care

4.1.Concept of terminal disease and palliative care

4.2.Adaptation to terminal disease

4.3.Strategies for intervention with the patient and the family


5. Health communication

Assessment Methods

Individual assignment, in the classroom (with weight of 25% - 5 points): 25.0%
Group assignment, concerning a practical application, with oral presentation in the classroom (with weight of 35% - 7 points): 35.0%
Individual test, in the classroom (with weight of 40% - 8 points): 40.0%


Baucom,D., Porter,L., Kirby,J., & Hudepohl, J. (2012). Couple-based interventions for medical problems. Behavior Therapy, 43, 61-76.

DiTomasso,R., Golden,B., & Morris,H. (2010). Handbook of CB approaches in primary care. New York:Springer.

Gee,P., Greenwood,D., Paterniti,D., Ward,D., & Miller,L. (2015). The eHealth enhanced chronic care model:A theory derivation approach. JMIR, 17, e86.

 Moorey, S. & Greer, S. (2012). Oxford guide to CBT for people with cancer. Oxford:Oxford University Press.


 Moss-Morris, R. (2013). Adjusting to chronic illness: Time for a unified theroy. British Journal of Health Psychology, 18, 681-686.

 Safran, S., Gonzalez, J., & Soroudi, N. (2008). Coping with chronic illness: A CBT approach for adherence and depression. Oxford:Oxford University Press.

 Sage,N., Sowden,M., Chorlton,E., & Edeleanu,A. (2008). CBT for chronic illness and palliative care. Chichester:John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Taylor, R. (2006). CBT for chronic illness and disability.New York:Springer.