Training Addiction Counselors to Implement an Evidence-Based Intervention

Strategies for Increasing Organizational and Provider Acceptance

Published in: Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, v. 20, no. 2, May 2013, p. 232-244

Posted on RAND.org on May 01, 2013

by Stephanie Woo, Kimberly A. Hepner, Elizabeth A. Gilbert, Karen Chan Osilla, Sarah B. Hunter, Ricardo F. Munoz, Katherine E. Watkins

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One barrier to widespread public access to empirically supported treatments (ESTs) is the limited availability and high cost of professionals trained to deliver them. Our earlier work from 2 clinical trials demonstrated that front-line addiction counselors could be trained to deliver a manualized, group-based cognitive behavioral therapy (GCBT) for depression, a prototypic example of an EST, with a high level of adherence and competence. This follow-up article provides specific recommendations for the selection and initial training of counselors, and for the structure and process of their ongoing clinical supervision. We highlight unique challenges in working with counselors unaccustomed to traditional clinical supervision. The recommendations are based on comprehensive feedback derived from clinician notes taken throughout the clinical trials, a focus group with counselors conducted 1 year following implementation, and interviews with key organization executives and administrators.

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