CBT Training for Treating Clients with Substance Use Disorder

Practice & Build CBT Skills with Virtual Role-Players

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

Research Outcomes: 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

SIMmersion CBT Training

"SIMmersion simulations provide low-risk opportunities for students to extend their learning beyond the classroom and field experiences and are a great complement to classroom instruction.”

SIMmersion CBT Training

"SIMmersion simulations are amazing tools that I use to provide students with the opportunity to practice skills relevant to becoming a strong practitioner."

SIMmersion CBT Training

“SIMmersion's interactive simulations allowed me to practice engaging with a ‘client’ without fear that I might negatively impact them by saying the wrong thing."

Click here for more information and
to try out this training for free.

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
Learn the principles SIMmersion CBT Training
Think about what to say SIMmersion CBT Training
Learn from experiences SIMmersion CBT Training
Get feedback SIMmersion CBT Training

* 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

Click here for more information and
to try out this training for free.