Training with tarantulas: A randomized feasibility and acceptability study using experiential learning to enhance exposure therapy training

Hannah E. Frank*, Emily M. Becker-Haimes, Lara S. Rifkin, Lesley A. Norris, Thomas H. Ollendick, Thomas M. Olino, Hilary E. Kratz, Rinad S. Beidas, Philip C. Kendall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Although exposure is a key evidence-based intervention for anxiety, it is infrequently used in clinical settings. This study employed a novel training strategy, experiential learning, to improve exposure implementation. This study aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of experiential training and preliminary training effectiveness. Methods: Participants were 28 therapists who were randomized to (a) training-as-usual or (b) experiential training (training-as-usual plus a one-session treatment for fear of spiders). Workshops lasted one day and were followed by three months of weekly consultation. Results: Experiential training was viewed as feasible and acceptable. Participants, including those who were fearful of spiders, had a positive response to the training and reported it to be useful. There was a significant increase in the number of exposures used by therapists receiving experiential training compared to training-as-usual at 1-month follow-up. Conclusions: A one-day training resulted in significant improvements in knowledge, attitudes toward exposure, and self-efficacy in using exposure. Preliminary findings suggest that experiential training resulted in greater use of exposure post-training compared to training-as-usual. Results provide evidence for the feasibility and acceptability of experiential training as a strategy to increase the use of evidence-based interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102308
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Volume76
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Dissemination
  • Exposure therapy
  • Implementation
  • Therapist training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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