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Research Brief
Asian woman looking at the board in an adult education class.

Photo by Monkey Business Images/Adobe Stock

Evidence-based psychotherapies are treatments that have been shown to improve symptoms and speed recovery from mental health conditions. However, patients cannot benefit from these treatments unless clinicians are trained to deliver them. Clinicians must have access to psychotherapy trainings that meet their needs, and can support competent delivery of evidence-based psychotherapies. The RAND Corporation developed the Training in Psychotherapy (TIP) Tool to assess how psychotherapy trainings for community-based clinicians incorporate core elements of effective psychotherapy training. Effective psychotherapy training can increase the likelihood that clinicians are able to deliver evidence-based psychotherapies to their patients. The tool also helps community-based organizations and clinicians evaluate and select the right training program for their needs.

Psychotherapy Trainings Can Incorporate Core Elements to Support Clinicians in Achieving Competence

The TIP Tool incorporates research literature and expert perspectives on core, effective components of psychotherapy trainings that appear to be most critical to learning to deliver an evidence-based psychotherapy.

The TIP Tool Helps Training Leaders, Clinicians, and Funders Ensure that Trainings Reach Their Goals

The TIP Tool is designed to assess trainings for community-based clinicians with respect to how they align with core effective training elements. The first section of the tool gathers information about the training and its characteristics, such as target psychotherapies, target diagnoses, format, and timing. This part of the tool is not scored and merely provides context and background. The second section consists of five scored domains based on a literature review and consultation with experts. These domains, which are scored on a scale of 1 to 5, are shown in the figure below. Averaging all items on the TIP Tool provides an overall score for the training.

Figure 1. The TIP Tool Assesses Psychotherapy Training in Five Domains

Figure 1. The TIP Tool Assesses Psychotherapy Training in Five Domains

The TIP Tool Continuum of Psychotherapy Trainings

Dozens of trainings have been developed for community-based clinicians, but they vary in scope and objectives—some are designed to introduce clinicians to a psychotherapy, whereas others are designed to teach clinicians to implement a given psychotherapy with fidelity. The tool was designed to capture the full range of training options and provides a better understanding of where a given program falls on this continuum.

  • Raising Awareness

    Training provides an overview or introduction to a given psychotherapy.

  • Skill-Building

    Training promotes change in clinical practice by providing the foundation for developing skills and therapeutic techniques.

  • Supporting Competence

    Training develops skills consistent with a given psychotherapy and helps clinicians achieve adherence and competence.

The TIP Tool Helps Psychotherapy Training Leaders Target Changes to Their Training and Helps Clinicians Find a Program That Meets Their Needs

The TIP Tool can be completed on paper or online. In reviewing the score report, examine the range with which the domain and total scores align (i.e., Supporting Competence, Skill-Building, or Raising Awareness). Do the scores align with your goals as a training leader? If not, the TIP Tool’s design makes it easy to determine what elements can be incorporated into a training program to make it more consistent with the program’s goals. The tool can then be used to reevaluate the training to measure the impact on the overall score.

Clinicians can use the TIP Tool to choose among a variety of training programs, helping them select the option that is the best fit for their training goals and clinical needs. Researchers can use the TIP Tool to document detailed elements of the psychotherapy training implemented in their studies. Effective training ensures that mental health practitioners are able to use these treatments in real-world settings and in ways that maximize the benefit to patients.

Figure 2. TIP Tool Scores for a Sample Psychotherapy Training Program

To visualize scores in each domain and the overall score, the results can then be plotted in the TIP Tool scoring template, as shown.

Figure 2. TIP Tool Scores for a Sample Psychotherapy Training Program

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