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."

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