Guiding Discovery through Socratic Methods: a brief guide

Dr Helen Kennerley

Wednesday, 3 November 2021


Socratic Methods are considered cornerstones of CBT. They are versatile means of helping patients and supervisees develop their own understandings of, and solutions to, problems. It is well established in the general psychological literature that Socratic methods enhance learning and motivation, and there is growing evidence of enhanced clinical outcomes for CBT therapists using Socratic Methods.  Clearly, they are invaluable techniques in the armoury of the CBT practitioner and CBT therapist and supervisors need to be familiar with them.     

The event will be equivalent to 1.1/2hrs of CPD.


This webinar provides practitioners with guidance on getting the most out of Socratic Methods. The speaker will present the theoretical underpinnings of the Socratic approach before presenting a range of cognitive and behavioural options for the practitioner using Socratic Methods for different purposes. She will explore when it might be advantageous not to use Socratic methods, but instead to use direct and didactic methods. The practitioner’s aim is not to overuse Socratic Methods but to know when and how they are best implemented.

Learning Objectives

1. Understand the rationale for using Socratic Methods.
2. Be able to use Socratic Methods in routine CBT clinical and supervisory practice.
3. Know when not to use Socratic Method.

Training Modalities

Training modalities will include a mixture of didactic teaching, videos, opportunities to ask questions and experiential exercises.

Key References

Kennerley, H. (2007) Socratic Method, Booklet. Oxford: OCTC.

Kennerley, H. (2016). ‘Socratic Method’ in H Kennerley, J Kirk and D Westbrook. An Introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: Skills and Applications (third edition). London: Sage.

Kennerley, H. (2021). ‘Socratic Methods: Enquiry, reflection and logs’ in H Kennerley. The ABC of CBT. London: Sage.

Kennerley, H. (2021). ‘Socratic Methods: Behavioural interventions’ in H Kennerley. The ABC of CBT. London: Sage.

About the presenter

Dr Helen Kennerley is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with OCTC and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and a Senior Associate Tutor with the University of Oxford. She is a Founding Fellow of OCTC and was formerly the Director of its Advanced Cognitive Therapy Studies/MSc course. She now leads the OCTC/University of Oxford Courses in Psychological Trauma & Personality Development, and in CBT Supervision & Training. She has written several books including the popular self-help guides to overcoming anxiety, overcoming childhood trauma and surviving stroke. She has also co-authored a best-selling guide to CBT for clinicians. In 2002, she was voted one of the most influential female cognitive therapists in Britain by members of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).

Who should attend

The workshop is designed for CBT therapists.