The goal of this Phase I/Phase II fast-track application is to develop and evaluate a simulation-based product for training students and clinicians to develop the skills necessary to effectively apply Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment (CBT) with patients with substance use disorders (SUDs). CBT is one of the most common and effective treatments for SUDs; however, CBT requires a wide variety of nuanced skills requiring practice to master. SIMmersion, LLC, in collaboration with Drs. Nadine Mastroleo, Peter Monti, Molly Magill, and Michael Fleming, is proposing to develop a computer-based training system with role-play simulations that will provide opportunities for healthcare providers to hone these skills through repeated practice with feedback in a safe environment. It is anticipated that the final product will include five hours of interactive e-learning content to provide opportunities fo knowledge acquisition and twenty-four or more hours of role-play practice across six key CBT skills (i.e., information gathering, identifying triggers, coping-skills, drug-refusal, planning fo emergencies, and seemingly irrelevant decisions). A randomized controlled trial will be used to test the efficacy of the training package. One hundred (100) graduate students enrolled in the Master of Counseling programs in the Rhode Island area will be recruited to participate. Fifty participants will be randomly assigned to the experimental group and will receive access to the training program; fifty participants will be randomly assigned to the control group and will receiv a standardized training manual for CBT. All participants will conduct baseline and post-intervention standardized patient interviews; primary outcomes of the study will measure increases in participant delivery of CBT skills. Ultimately, the development and successful testing of this product would provide the US health care system with a novel technology to scale up CBT training for the hundreds of thousand students and clinicians counseling people affected by SUDs. Training health care providers to more effectively utilize CBT would have a direct patient impact.

Public Health Relevance

Cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) is one of the most commonly used and effective treatments to reduce alcohol and other substance use disorders. However, these techniques require extensive practice with feedback, which is difficult to obtain. The proposed research will produce an innovative new training tool with the potential to increase learning and retention of CBT skills among clinicians, thereby benefiting their patients.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-HDM-X (10))
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Falk, Daniel
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Simmersion, LLC.
United States
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