Training university therapists to aid in evidence-based treatments for patients demonstrated positive outcomes, according to study findings published in JAMA Psychiatry.
“A practical, scalable, effective means of training therapists to implement [evidence-based treatments] is needed,” Denise E. Wilfley, PhD, of Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues wrote.
The cluster-randomized trial was conducted from October 2012 to December 2017 in 24 college counseling centers in the U.S. to compare the implementation of two different methods to train therapists to use interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) for treating patients with depression and eating disorders on college campuses.
The first method, called the expert condition, involved a workshop, manual and 12 months of expert follow-up consultation. The second model, called the trainer condition, involved a “train-the-trainer” model, and involved coaching a staff member of the counseling center to train other staff members to implement IPT.
Researchers enrolled 184 therapists from college counseling centers, with 89 therapists allocated to the expert condition and 95 to the trainer condition. The primary outcome was therapist adherence to and competence in IPT. A secondary outcome was the therapist’s knowledge of IPT.
According to the findings, both training groups showed significant within-group improvement for IPT adherence, competence and knowledge. Researchers found that the trainer model was actually superior in improving competence.
“Although we were able to examine moderating factors, we did not evaluate the mechanisms by which the trainer model resulted in greater competence in IPT compared with expert training,” the authors wrote. “Future research is needed to examine the specific processes underlying this result, which may then lead to increased efficiency and effectiveness of the trainer model as well sustainability in either training model.” –by Erin T. Welsh
Disclosure: Wilfley reports receiving grants from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases during the study. Please see the full study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.