A pilot study evaluating online training for therapist delivery of interpersonal psychotherapy for eating disorders

Anna M. Karam Jones, Ellen E. Fitzsimmons-Craft, Laura D'Adamo, Dawn M. Eichen, Andrea K. Graham, Rachel P. Kolko Conlon, Katherine N. Balantekin, R. Robinson Welch, W. Stewart Agras, G. Terence Wilson, Denise E. Wilfley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Individuals with eating disorders (EDs) often do not receive evidence-based care, such as interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), partly due to lack of accessible training in these treatments. The standard method of training (i.e., in-person workshops) is expensive and time consuming, prompting a need for more scalable training tools. The primary aim of this pilot and open trial was to examine the effects of an IPT online training platform on training outcomes (i.e., IPT fidelity, knowledge, and acceptance) and, secondarily, whether online training was different from in-person training (using a comparative sample from a separate study) in terms of training outcomes and patient symptoms. Method: Participants were therapists (N = 60) and student patients (N = 42) at 38 college counseling centers. Therapists completed baseline questionnaires and collected data from a student patient with ED symptoms. Therapists then participated in an IPT online training program and completed post-training assessments. Results: Following online training, acceptance of evidence-based treatments, therapist knowledge of IPT, therapist acceptance of IPT, and treatment fidelity increased; acceptance of online training was high at baseline and remained stable after training. Using the 90% confidence interval on outcome effect sizes, results suggested IPT online training was not different from in-person training on most outcomes. Results are based on 60% of therapists who originally enrolled due to high dropout rate of therapist participants. Conclusions: Findings from this preliminary pilot study support the use of IPT online training, which could increase access to evidence-based ED treatment and improve patient care. Public significance: Lack of accessible therapist training has contributed to many therapists not delivering, and therefore many patients not receiving, evidence-based treatment. This study evaluated a highly disseminable online training and compared outcomes to traditional in-person training and found that training and patient outcomes were not different. Online training has the potential to enhance access to evidence-base care, which could in turn optimize patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • dissemination and implementation
  • eating disorders
  • interpersonal psychotherapy
  • online training
  • treatment

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