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CBT Training for Treating Clients with Substance Abuse Disorder

$75 for Annual User License

(group discounts available)

Developed with World-Class Subject-Matter Experts

Designed to Supplement Classroom Training

and to Support Practicing Clinicians

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Practice & Build CBT Skills with Virtual Role-Players

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Training for Treating Clients with Substance Abuse Disorder is an interactive suite of role-play simulation that provides opportunities for clinicians, and clinicians in training, to practice their skills while receiving real-time feedback.

The Research: Training Significantly Improves CBT Skills

The 2020 study tests whether this simulation improves trainee skills for the treatment of clients with substance use disorders. Graduate students (N = 65; social work, clinical psychology) completed standardized patient (SP) interviews, were randomized to the simulation training program or manual comparison condition (Project MATCH manual) and completed SP interviews three months post-baseline. Results indicated a significant group effect, with students assigned to the simulation training program showing greater improvement in “extensiveness” and “skillfulness” ratings across three skill categories:

  • General agenda setting (p-value =.03)
  • Explaining CBT concepts (p-value=.007)
  • Understanding of CBT concepts (p-value=.001)

Research by Mastroleo et al. To read the paper, click here

Practice and Build Skills

Use Core CBT Skills to Reducing Alcohol Use

  • Set Agenda and maintain session structure
  • Explain core concepts of CBT
  • Describe why CBT works for changing drinking behaviors
  • Describe connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  • Individualize CBT for specific client needs
  • Discuss recent drinking episode
  • Use examples and worksheets to explain concepts
  • Assign and review homework


  • Collaboration
  • Conversational tone
  • Empathy

SIMmersion's PeopleSim® Technology

These training systems were created using the PeopleSim® technology, a SIMmersion proprietary technology used for a variety of applications. For these practice systems, each user statement typically has from 7 to 15 responses. To choose a role-player response, the PeopleSim technology calculates probabilities for each of the possible responses based on current conditions, and then uses the probabilities to select a response. The probability calculations are based on one of role-players different randomly selected personalities and on the relationship the user has developed with him during the conversation.

Role-players start each session with a cautious frame of mind. Everything the user says is rated according to the impact it has on the relationship with the role-player, thus as the conversation proceeds, the relationship will evolve. Click here to read more about SIMmersion’s PeopleSim Technology or watch the video.

†Subject Matter Experts

System development was in collaboration with Binghamton University's Dr. Nadine Mastroleo, Brown University's Dr. Molly Magill, and a panel of experts from Binghamton University, Brown University, and Yale University


This work was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [Grant number R44AA023719].