Web Based Therapist Training on Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Award Information
Department of Health and Human Services
Award Year:
Phase II
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Small Business Information
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
(608) 239-3919
Business Contact:
(608) 239-3919
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DESCRIPTION (provided by APPLICANT): The need for evidence-based mental health treatments i.e., 'treatment based on the best available science or research evidence' 1, has been stressed from scientific, ethical, and marketing perspectives3. While empiricalevidence supports both the efficacy and effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorders4-8, the demand for clinicians trained in these approaches far exceeds the supply. For example, in spite of empirical data supporting the efficacy of these approaches for anxiety disorders, only 11 percent of treated anxiety disorder patients received behavior therapy as their treatment, and only 16 percent of treated patients received cognitive therapy 9. This compares with 40 percent of treatedpatients receiving dynamic therapy, which has less empirical support for its efficacy in anxiety disorders. A major reason for this is the lack of trained cognitive behavior therapists 10. New technologies provide the opportunity to both facilitate accessibility to this specialized training by mental health professionals and to improve the quality of this training. Recent research has found that training clinicians using these new web-based technologies is highly effective, can significantly improve skills,and has significant advantages over traditional training programs11,12. These tools could be integrated into an applied academic practicum, as well as utilized by clinicians in the field through continuing education. The long term goal of this project isto increase the number of available mental health professionals trained in cognitive behavior therapy for anxiety disorders by developing a set of web-based training tools enabling the widespread dissemination of this training. In Phase I we developed a prototype on- line tutorial covering some core CBT principles and a Social Anxiety Disorder module. We also tested the feasibility of live remote training through videoconferencing. User satisfaction with both the on-line tutorial and the videoconference training was extremely high. Trainees' knowledge of CBT concepts improved significantly pre-to-post tutorial. No technical difficulties were reported with either the tutorial or the videoconference training. In Phase II we will expand the tutorial prototype to include a comprehensive review of CBT principles and techniques and expand modules to include the full spectrum of anxiety disorders (i.e., Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder). We will also evaluate the efficacy of live remote training in improving clinical skills. A cohort of 5 clinicians from diverse educational and professional backgrounds will be recruited. Improvement in trainees' conceptual knowledgewill be evaluated pre and post tutorial, and improvement in trainees' clinical skills in applying the CBT concepts will be evaluated by blind ratings of clinicl adherence and competence before and after videoconference training. User satisfaction with boththe on-line tutorial and the videoconference training will also be evaluated. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Anxiety disorders are a major public health concern, having a profound impact on functioning, causing significant disability, loss of productivity and suffering. Effective treatments exist for these disorders, but few clinicians are trained in these methods. This project attempts to remedy this shortcoming by using web-based tools to facilitate access to this training, thus increasing the numberof available therapists in order to help meet this unmet need.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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