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To examine factors that influence the recruitment and training of therapists and their achievement of competence to practise two psychological therapies for alcohol dependence, and the resources required to deliver this.The protocol for the UK Alcohol Treatment Trial required trial therapists to be competent in one of the two trial treatments: Social Behaviour and Network Therapy (SBNT) or Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET). Therapists were randomised to practise one or other type of therapy. To ensure standardisation and consistent delivery of treatment in the trial, the trial training centre trained and supervised all therapists.Of 76 therapists recruited and randomised, 72 commenced training and 52 achieved competence to practise in the trial. Length of prior experience did not predict completion of training. However, therapists with a university higher qualification, and medical practitioners compared to other professionals, were more likely to complete. The average number of clients needed to be treated before the trainee achieved competence was greater for MET than SBNT, and there was a longer duration of training for MET.Training therapists of differing professional backgrounds, randomised to provide a specific therapy type, is feasible. Supervision after initial training is important, and adds to the training costs.