This article discusses the proposition that cognitive science has now developed to the point where it can serve as an overarching meta-theory for field of psychotherapy. It will begin with an overview of the main strands of thinking which have emerged in the development of psychotherapy over the last 100 years. The ever increasing number of perspectives and views around practice make the field increasing differentiated and fragmented. However, cognitive science has now reached a point where it can explain and capture the key psychotherapeutic principles. A number of authors have presented detailed overviews along these lines, some coming from a psychodynamic perspective and some from a more generic psychotherapy perspective. The article goes on to describe some of the key strands of cognitive science, and how these relate to notions of conscious and unconscious processes. It then shows how these can be applied to everyday practice. Finally it is argued that cognitive science as a meta-theory for psychotherapy has the potential to bring benefits to the field in terms of future research on common client issues as the practice of therapy.