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Provision of Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Depression and Anxiety Disorders by Medical Student Trainees.

  • Powell, Samuel K1
  • Serafini, Randal A2
  • Frere, Justin J2
  • De Pins, Agathe2
  • Saali, Alexandra2
  • Sultana, Syeda A2
  • Ali, Muhammad2
  • Dale, Brandon2
  • Datta, Debjyoti2
  • Aaronson, Cindy2
  • Meah, Yasmin2
  • Katz, Craig L2
  • Gluhoski, Vicki2
  • 1 Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA. [email protected].
  • 2 Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA.
Published Article
Academic psychiatry : the journal of the American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training and the Association for Academic Psychiatry
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2024
DOI: 10.1007/s40596-023-01873-8
PMID: 37770702


The purpose of the article is to evaluate an innovative education program in which medical students were trained in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and provided CBT treatments under supervision to uninsured individuals with depressive, anxiety, adjustment, and trauma-based disorders. The authors assessed improvements in trainees' CBT knowledge using the Cognitive Therapy Awareness Scale before and after their didactic training. CBT supervisors rated trainees' clinical competencies utilizing standardized checklist evaluations based upon supervision reports. The authors employed mixed effects ANOVA and regression modeling to test the association between the addition of CBT to treatment as usual (TAU) and improvements in patients' depressive and anxious symptom severity. The authors collected feedback and self-assessment of functioning with a Psychotherapy Feedback Questionnaire. Medical students showed increases in CBT knowledge that were maintained six months later and demonstrated satisfactory competency in CBT techniques. The addition of CBT to TAU was associated with greater improvements in depressive, but not anxious, symptom severity. However, among the TAU + CBT group, there was an association between the number of CBT sessions received and the magnitude of improvement in anxious symptoms from baseline. Patients gave positive feedback to medical student CBT providers and reported improvements in broad domains of psychosocial functioning. Medical students can provide competent and clinically beneficial CBT treatments for depression and anxiety disorders. These findings have implications for medical training and support the use of medical students to deliver care for individuals with limited access to psychotherapy. © 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry, American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training, Association for Academic Psychiatry and Association of Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry.

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