Fundamentals of Interpersonal Therapy

Period of Performance: 08/01/2008 - 06/30/2009


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Behavioral Tech Research, Inc.
Seattle, WA 98105
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is one of the most thoroughly validated psychosocial treatments for depression. Dissemination of IPT, however, has been hindered by lack of trainers and didactic materials. Though several excellent textbooks regarding IPT are available, there are no other standardized educational materials or videotapes demonstrating specific IPT techniques. Computer-based training offers the opportunity to provide these materials and to overcome the barrier presented by the lack of IPT educators. The primary goal of this project is to facilitate the dissemination and implementation of IPT to psychotherapists who treat depressed individuals by creating the Fundamentals of Interpersonal Therapy computer-based training course. This course will be based on our highly successful Phase I prototype, which focuses on conducting an initial session of IPT with a particular emphasis on collecting an Interpersonal Inventory. The Phase I prototype was very highly rated for usability and for content. In Phase II, we will construct a computer-based training program to instruct learners how to conduct an entire course of IPT. As in Phase I, we will use an iterative process of development involving feedback from psychotherapists throughout all stages of program development, including the program's design, instructional strategies, and examples. The development of all instructional materials and the computer-based training program will also include input from a number of IPT experts, including consultants involved in the development of IPT, research in modifications of IPT, and experts in IPT training. We anticipate that this developmental process will result in a prototype and eventual product that will have broad appeal among treatment providers. The Phase II completed program will include multiple case-based scenarios to facilitate learning, and will extend the audio media in Phase I to include audio-visual presentation of material. We will include additional case-based scenarios to ensure generalization of course content across a wide range of patients with various subtypes of depression (e.g., perinatal depression, geriatric depression, and depression associated with various medical illnesses). We will empirically test the Phase II program to determine usability and acceptability and effectiveness. First, we will conduct a feasibility study using a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design to evaluate gains in knowledge of IPT, recall of IPT components, and self-efficacy in conducting IPT with a patient with major depression. Second, we will conduct a randomized controlled trial to compare the effectiveness of training in IPT using the On-line training course, instructor-led in-person training, or self-instruction using the IPT manual. The IPT computer-based training program to be developed will have far reaching public health impact by facilitating the training of therapists to deliver an empirically-validated treatment for depression. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: In this project, we aim to develop an interactive online training program in Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), an evidence-based psychotherapy for depression. In addition, we plan to test the effectiveness of the training in order to ensure that clinicians learn, retain, and implement IPT. The direct public health benefit of the project is that increasing dissemination of evidence-based practices like IPT will increase accessibility of efficacious treatment and lead to better outcomes for patients with depression.