Training models for implementing evidence-based psychological treatment for college mental health: A cluster randomized trial study protocol

Denise E. Wilfley, Ellen E. Fitzsimmons-Craft, Dawn M. Eichen, Dorothy J. Van Buren, R. Robinson Welch, Athena H. Robinson, Booil Jo, Ramesh Raghavan, Enola K. Proctor, G. Terence Wilson, W. Stewart Agras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mental disorders often emerge in adolescence and young adulthood, and these disorders can have lasting effects on students’ health, social functioning, and education. Although evidence-based treatments have been established for many mental disorders, few community therapists use such treatments. What is needed is a practical, economically feasible means of training clinicians to implement evidence-based treatments suitable for widespread use. This cluster randomized trial will randomize 26 college counseling centers to one of two implementation strategies for training counselors to use interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), an evidence-based treatment for depression and eating disorders: 1) an external expert consultation model comprising a workshop, therapy manual, and expert follow-up consultation (n = 13); or 2) a train-the-trainer model in which a staff member from the counseling center is coached to train other staff members to implement IPT (n = 13). The primary outcome is therapist adherence to IPT, with secondary outcomes of therapist competence in IPT and client outcomes for depression and eating disorders. Therapist and organizational characteristics will be explored as potential moderators and mediators of implementation outcomes. Implementation costs for each of the training methods will also be assessed. The present study involves partnering with college counseling centers to determine the most effective method to implement IPT for depression and eating disorders in these settings. The results of this study will inform future large-scale dissemination of clinical interventions to mental health service providers by providing evidence for the selection of training methods when an agency chooses to adopt new interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • College mental health
  • Dissemination
  • Evidence-based treatment
  • Implementation
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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