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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.

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

* 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