Effects of a Comprehensive Training Program on Clinician Beliefs About and Intention to Use Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD

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Objective: Evidence for treatment efficacy does not guarantee adoption in clinical practice. Attitudinal “buy-in” from clinicians is also important. This study examines evaluation data from a national training program in an evidence-based treatment for PTSD, Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy, to assess changes in clinician beliefs related to the importance of specific treatment goals, PE outcome expectations, self-efficacy to deliver PE, perceived time and emotional burdens associated with delivering PE, and intentions to use PE. Method: Training included both an interactive workshop and posttraining telephone consultation. Participants were 943 licensed mental health clinicians who treated veterans with PTSD. They completed questionnaires before and after the workshop, and after consultation. Results: Results indicated that workshop participation was associated with significant increases in perceptions of the importance of helping patients improve by employing PE, expectations that patients would benefit from PE, and self-efficacy to deliver PE, and with reduced expectations of negative patient outcomes and concerns about distressing patients. The workshop alone had little impact on expected clinician emotional burden and no impact on anticipated time burden. Participation in ongoing case consultation was associated with additional increases in expected positive patient outcomes and clinician self-efficacy and further reductions in concerns about distressing patients and negative patient outcomes. Unlike the workshop, consultation was associated with decreased expectancies that PE would take too much time and would be emotionally burdensome to provide. Conclusion: Overall, the results suggest that the combination of workshop and ongoing consultation can significantly improve beliefs likely to affect treatment adoption.

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