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James Pretzer April 9th, 2012 02:12 PM

Comparing CBT Training Options
With the proliferation of programs offering distance education and workshops in CBT, I periodically am asked how the different programs compare. Since each person's background and needs are uniques, I can't make that comparison for you but here are a few suggestions so you can decide how programs compare:
  1. What do they cover? Some programs have a very narrow focus on one specific topic, some cover only the basics, and some cover the basics and their application with a broad range of problems.
  2. How much training does their program include? If they spend a few hours on a big topic, you know the coverage will be superficial. The research on training in CBT shows that one-day workshops are much less effective than more extended programs.
  3. Do they just lecture at you or do they combine lecture with demonstrations, experiential exercises, and readings? It is much easier to master the material if it is presented through text, lecture, demonstration, and practice.
  4. Who are their faculty and what are their credentials?
  5. Which version of CBT do they teach? Many programs present mainstream Cognitive Therapy and CBT. However, some presenters teach their own idiosyncratic approach. Cognitive Therapy has a strong empirical base and is widely recognized as one of the most influential cognitive-behavioral approaches. If the presenter is teaching his or her unique approach, it probably has little empirical support.
  6. With distance education programs, how is the material presented? Video-based programs may seem like a good idea, but it means sitting in front of a screen for the duration of the program. With an audio-based program, you can listen while driving, washing dishes, etc. Also, can you complete the program on your own schedule or is it presented at specific times?
  7. Of course, practical considerations such as cost, continuing education credit, etc. are important as well.
It can take some effort to compare the options that are available but this improves your chances of choosing an option that will meet your needs.

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