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Instructions for contributors


Professor Paul M Salkovskis – Editor

Ms Lydia Holt – Editorial Assistant


Editorial Statement

Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy is an international multidisciplinary journal for the publication of original research of an experimental, or clinical nature that contributes to the theory, practice and evaluation of cognitive and behavioural therapies. As such the scope of the journal is very broad, and articles relevant to most areas of human behaviour and human experience which would be of interest to members of the helping and teaching professions will be considered for publication.

As an applied science the concepts, methodology and techniques of behavioural psychotherapy continue to change. The journal seeks both to reflect and to influence those changes. While the emphasis is placed on empirical research, articles concerned with important theoretical and methodological issues as well as evaluative reviews of the behavioural literature are also published. In addition, given the emphasis of behaviour therapy on the experimental investigation of the single case, the journal from time to time publishes case studies using single case experimental designs. For the majority of designs this should include a baseline period with repeated measures; in all instances the nature of the quantitative data and the intervention must be clearly specified. Other types of case report can be submitted for the Brief Clinical Reports section.

Articles should concern original material that is neither published nor under consideration for publication elsewhere. This applies also to articles in languages other than English.

Sections of the Journal


Reports of original research employing experimental or correlational methods and using within or between subject designs. Review or discussion articles that are based on empirical data and that have important new theoretical, conceptual or applied implications.

Accelerated Publication

The accelerated publication section is intended to accommodate a small number of important papers. Such papers will include major new findings for which rapid dissemination would be of considerable benefit and impact. For example: reports of the results of important new clinical trials; innovative experimental results with major implications for theory or practice; other work of unusually high calibre. If submitting a manuscript to this section you must specify in your cover letter why it should be considered as Accelerated.

Empirically Grounded Clinical Interventions

This section is intended for reviews of the present status of treatment approaches for specific psychological problems. It is intended that such articles will draw upon a combination of treatment trials, experimental evidence and other research, and be firmly founded in phenomenology. It should take account of, but also go beyond, treatment outcome data.

Brief Clinical Reports

Material suitable for this section includes unusual case reports and accounts of potentially important techniques, phenomena or observations; for example, descriptions of previously unreported techniques, outlines of available treatment manuals, descriptions of innovative variations of existing procedures, details of self-help or training packages, and accounts of the application of existing techniques in novel settings. The BCR section is intended to extend the scope of the clinical section. Submissions to this section should be no longer than 1800 words and should include no more than six references, one table or figure, and an extended report that contains fuller details. There are no restrictions on the size or format of the extended report as it will be published online only. It may, for instance, be a treatment manual, a fully detailed case report, or a therapy transcript. If a submission is accepted for publication as a Brief Clinical Report, the author(s) must be prepared to send the fuller document to those requesting it, free of charge or at a price agreed with the editor to reflect the cost of materials involved. The extended document will also be mounted on the journal’s website as a PDF format (the document will not be copyedited).

Study Protocols

Protocols of proposed and ongoing trials in behavioural and cognitive therapies will be considered. Your study must be registered and have ethical approval, and proof of this will be required. The abstract should be structured under the following four headings; Background, Aims, Method, Discussion.

Please use the Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Interventional Trail (SPIRIT) checklist for protocols of randomised controlled trials (see the reporting standards section below). Manuscripts should be under 2000 words at the point of first submission, and include no more than 15 references, and no more than three tables/figures in total. A PDF with additional, unlimited text, figures and tables may be included designated for online only publication.

Reporting Standards

Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy supports standardised reporting practices, consult the following table to ensure your submission meets the reporting standards for your manuscript type. Please include the relevant supporting information (such as diagrams and checklists) with your submission files. See for more information on manuscript types not described below.

The journal also encourages clarity in describing interventions sufficient to allow their replication through the use of the Template for Intervention Description and Replication Checklist (TIDieR).

Randomised Controlled Trial CONSORT
Systematic reviews and Meta-Analysis PRISMA
Study Protocols SPIRIT

Preparing Your Manuscript

Articles must be under 5,000 words at the point of submission, excluding references, tables and figures (please see separate instructions for Brief Clinical Reports and Study Protocols). Manuscripts describing more than one study may exceed this limit but please make this clear to the editorial office in your cover letter.

Authors who want a blind review should indicate this at the point of submission of their article, omitting details of authorship and other identifying information from the main manuscript. Authors who do not omit this information will be assumed as submitting a non-blinded manuscript. Submission for blind review is encouraged.

All submissions should be submitted via this portal:


APA style should be followed throughout.

Abbreviations where used must be standard. The Systeme International (SI) should be used for all units. Probability values and power statistics should be given with statistical values and degrees of freedom (e.g. t(34) = 2.39, p<.001), but such information may be included in tables rather than in the main text. Spelling must be consistent within an article, using either British spelling (The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary), or American (Webster’s New World College Dictionary). However, spelling in the list of references must be literal to each publication.

In-text references

In-text references should be cited as follows: "...Given the critical role of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in working memory (Cohen et al., 1997; Goldman-Rakic, 1987; Perlstein et al., 2003a, 2003b)..." with multiple references in alphabetical order. Another example: "...Cohen et al. (1994, 1997), Braver et al. (1997), and Jonides and Smith (1997) demonstrated..."

References cited in the text with two authors should list both names. References cited in the text with three, four, or five authors, list all authors at first mention; with subsequent citations include only the first author's last name followed by et al. References cited in the text with six or more authors should list the first author et al. throughout. In the reference section, for works with up to seven authors, list all authors. For eight authors or more, list the first six, then ellipses followed by the last author's name.

Details of style not specified here may be determined by reference to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

Manuscripts Should Conform to the Following Scheme

1. Title Page

The title should phrase concisely the major issues. Author(s) to be given with departmental affiliations and addresses, grouped appropriately. A running head of no more than 40 characters should be indicated and carried through the document as a header. This should be uploaded as a separate file.

2. Main Manuscript

a. Abstract. Unless a Study Protocol (see separate guidelines), a 250 word abstract should be structured under the following five headings: Background, Aims, Method, Results, and Conclusions. Include up to six key words that describes the article.

b. Main Text. Following APA guidelines, this should contain the sections Introduction (including overview and theoretical background), Method (participants, design and data analyses), Results (described in detail with summary figures and tables), Discussion (including conclusions and limitations).

c. Required Sections


You may acknowledge individuals or organizations that provided advice, support (non-financial). Formal financial support and funding should be listed in the following section.

Ethical statements

All papers should include a statement indicating that authors have abided by the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct as set out by the APA Authors should also confirm if ethical approval was needed, by which organisation, and provide the relevant reference number. If no ethical approval was needed, the authors should state why.

Conflict of Interest

Please provide details of all known financial, professional and personal relationships with the potential to bias the work. Where no known conflicts of interest exist, please include the following statement: “(Authors names) have no conflict of interest with respect to this publication”.

Where conflict of interest, ethical statements and acknowledgements would compromise blind review, these may be anonymized from the main manuscript, but should be included in full on the separate title page which is not seen by reviewers. During the review process within the main text it is acceptable to replace identifiable information by using XXXXXX or similar.

Financial Support

Please provide details of the sources of financial support for all authors, including grant numbers. For example, “This work was supported by the Medical research Council (grant number XXXXXXX)”. Multiple grant numbers should be separated by a comma and space, and where research was funded by more than one agency the different agencies should be separated by a semi-colon, with “and” before the final funder. Grants held by different authors should be identified as belonging to individual authors by the authors’ initials. For example, “This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (A.B., grant numbers XXXX, YYYY), (C.D., grant number ZZZZ); the Natural Environment Research Council (E.F., grant number FFFF); and the National Institutes of Health (A.B., grant number GGGG), (E.F., grant number HHHH)”. Where no specific funding has been provided for research, please provide the following statement: “This research received no specific grant from any funding agency, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.”

d. References. References should be consistent with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th Edition).

If a DOI has been assigned to an article that you are citing, you should include this after the page numbers for the article. If no DOI has been assigned and you are accessing the periodical online, use the URL of the website from which you are retrieving the periodical.

Examples of the APA reference style are as follows:

Online/Electronic Journal Article (with DOI):

Kaltenthaler, E., Parry, G. & Beverley, C. (2004). Computerized cognitive behaviour therapy: a systematic review. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 32, 31–55. doi:10.1017/S135246580400102X.


Tharp, R. G. and Wetzel, R. J. (1969). Behaviour Modification in the Natural Environment. New York: Academic Press.

Book Chapter:

Roskies, E. and Lazarus, R.S. (1980). Coping theory and the teaching of coping skills. In P. O. Davidson and S. M. Davidson (Eds.), Behavioural Medicine: Changing health lifestyles (pp. 38-69). New York: Brunner/Mazel.

Manual, Diagnostic Scheme, etc.:

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Authors are encouraged to make use of referencing software packages (e.g. Endnote, Mendeley, Reference Manager etc.) to assist with formatting - extensions for APA formatting are easily accessible. However, you are also reminded to check citations and reference lists in detail and not to rely on software packages to format references correctly.

Detailed guidelines on the APA citation and referencing style can be obtained online from sources including the via the Writing Center of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

e. Footnotes. The first, and preferably only, footnote will appear at the foot of the first page of each article, and subsequently may acknowledge previous unpublished presentation (e.g. dissertation, meeting paper), financial support, scholarly or technical assistance, or a change in affliction.

3. Tables and Figures

Manuscripts should not usually include more than five tables and/or figures. They should be supplied as separate files, but have their intended position within the paper clearly indicated in the manuscript. They should be constructed so as to be intelligible without reference to the text.

Figures. Tints and shading in figures may be used, but colour should be avoided unless essential. Although colour is possible in the online version, when designing a figure please ensure that any line variation/distinction demonstrated by colour can still be noted when in black and white. Colour figures are free of charge for online published articles but if authors wish figures to be published in colour in the print version the cost is £200. Numbered figure captions should be provided. All artwork should be submitted as separate TIFF format files.

The minimum resolution for submission of electronic artwork is:

  • Halftone Images (Black and White Photographs only): 300 dpi (dots per inch).
  • LineTone (Black and White Photographs plus Line Drawings in the same figure): 600 dpi.
  • Bitmap (Line Drawings only): 1200 dpi

Please follow this link for full guidance on artwork.

Tables should be provided in editable Word format. They should be numbered and given explanatory titles.

4. Appendices. If any, are intended for inclusion in the printed version of the manuscript and should be kept to a minimum. Please consider the use of supplementary information instead.

5. Supplementary Information – Online only

Where unpublished material e.g. behaviour rating scales or therapy manuals are referred to in an article, copies should be submitted as an additional document (where copyright allows) to facilitate review.

Supplementary files can be used to convey supporting or extra information to your study, however, the main manuscript should be able to ‘stand-alone’ as these documents are not published in the printed issues.

Supporting documents are reviewed but not copyedited on acceptance of the article. They can therefore be submitted in PDF format, and include figures and tables within the text. There is no word limit for supporting online information.

Suggested Reviewers

During the submission process, you will be asked to indicate your preferred and non-preferred reviewers, and the reasons for your choices.

Preferred reviewers:

  • Should not have a conflict of interest (such as a recent or current close working relationship, or from the same institution)
  • At least half of the list should be international to yourself
  • Please consider early career researchers as well as field leaders
  • Please suggest both niche experts and those with wider knowledge of the subject

Non-preferred reviewers:

  • May have personal or subjective bias to your work which disregards the scientific merit
  • May have seen or commented on the submitted manuscript, or prior versions.

Ethical Standards

Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy is committed to actively investigating any cases of suspected misconduct, even in the event of the manuscript being withdrawn. All manuscripts are screened for plagiarism before being accepted for publication. All editors and reviewers are asked to disclose any conflict of interest when they are assigned a manuscript. If deemed necessary, alternative or additional opinions will be sought in order to maintain the balance of fair and thorough peer review.

The journal is a member of COPE.


Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy follows the COPE guidelines on retractions.

Transfer Of Files For Submission To the Cognitive Behavioural Therapist

Editors for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (BCP) can choose to recommend submission of a manuscript not suitable for BCP to the Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (tCBT), thus effectively submitting to both journals sequentially. This allows the automatic transfer of the manuscript files, including, as appropriate, transmission of reviewers’ comments (at the discretion of the handling Editor) where this seems likely to facilitate manuscript handling. Selection of a manuscript to be transferred to tCBT is at the Editor’s discretion, and is then subject to the peer-review process of that journal. No guarantee of suitability for tCBT or acceptance is made. Those papers not passed on to tCBT by a BCP Editor can be submitted by the author via the usual channels.

The homepage for tCBT can be found here.

Open Access

Upon acceptance of your paper, you may choose to publish your article via Gold Open Access (following payment of an Article Processing Charge). Current APC rates for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy can be found here.

Please note: APC collection is managed by Rightslink, who will contact authors who have elected to publish via Open Access.

Green Open Access is also supported by Cambridge Open and full details can be found on the journal copyright form.

Note: Open Access publication under a CC-BY licence may be required when funding has been received from some funding bodies. If this applies to your paper make sure to let us know during the submission process, and complete the appropriate Open Access copyright form. You can also indicate through the ScholarOne system that your paper should deposited in PubMed Central if accepted, which may also be required by funders.

Proofs And Copyright

Proofs of accepted articles will be sent electronically to authors for the correction of printers’ errors; authors’ alterations may be charged. Authors submitting a manuscript do so on the understanding that if it is accepted for publication exclusive copyright of the paper shall be assigned to the Association. The publishers will not put any limitation on the personal freedom of the author to use material contained in the paper in other works.

Author Language Services

Cambridge University Press recommends that authors have their manuscripts checked by an English language native speaker before submission; this will ensure that submissions are judged at peer review exclusively on academic merit. We list a number of third-party services specialising in language editing and / or translation, and suggest that authors contact as appropriate. Use of any of these services is voluntary, and at the author's own expense.

(Revised May 2017)