Category: Adult Anxiety

PS2- #A30 - Evaluating a Brief Intervention to Improve Therapist Beliefs About Exposure Therapy

Friday, Nov 17
9:45 AM – 10:45 AM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Exposure | Adult Anxiety | Treatment-CBT

Evidence-based practices (EBPs) in mental health are becoming increasingly prominent in influencing health care systems and health care policy (Karlin & Cross, 2014). Despite the increased support for EBPs, a number of barriers have been noted by researchers relating to organizational policies/factors, as well as, therapists’ lack of knowledge or negative beliefs about the importance of using research based EBPs to influence clinical practice (Lilienfeld, et al., 2013). EBPs for psychological disorders related to anxiety, trauma, and obsessive compulsive disorders often contain exposure-based strategies. Exposure-based EBPs have been shown to have strong research support demonstrating their effectiveness (Deacon & Abramowitz, 2004). In addition to barriers associated with EBPs in general, researchers have noted specific barriers to implementing exposure therapies (ET) related to therapists’ negative assumptions about ET as possibly being harmful or too aversive for patients (Olatunji, Deacon, & Abramowitz, 2009). One potential method of reducing these barriers and improving therapists’ beliefs about ET is to use case examples showing the effectiveness of ET and demonstrating that patients can tolerate the transitory emotional distress generated by exposures. The present study used an online survey to explore a brief intervention designed to influence therapists to adopt more positive views about ET. The present study used a brief case example video of ET and compared this intervention to a motivational video about ET and an educational control video. Approximately 160 Veterans Affairs therapists including psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers completed measures assessing demographics, clinical practice experience, need for cognition (assessed by the Need for Cognition Scale; Cacioppo, Petty, & Kao, 1984), need for affect (assessed by the Need for Affect Questionnaire; Maio & Esses, 2001), pre-intervention questions about exposure beliefs, post-intervention questions about exposure beliefs, a measure of therapists’ beliefs about exposure therapy (assessed by the Therapist Beliefs about Exposure Scale; Deacon, et al., 2013) and beliefs about evidence based practice (assessed by the Evidence-Based Practice Attitude Scale; Aarons, 2004). The survey was developed using Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap), a VA approved platform. It is hypothesized that respondents will have the lowest positive beliefs about ET and EBPs in the educational control video condition, followed by the motivational video condition, followed by the intervention video condition, in which respondents will rate the highest positive views about ET and EBPs. Analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) will be conducted to test this main hypothesis. In addition, bivariate correlations, regressions, and paired samples t-test analyses will be conducted to examine relationships among important therapist characteristics (e.g., need for affect, need for cognition, profession) for each condition in relation to therapists’ beliefs about ET and beliefs about EBPs. 

Jason Tyser

Salem VA Medical Center

Dana Holohan

Salem VA Medical Center

Gina Raza

Salem VA Medical Center

Jennifer Caldwell

Salem VA Medical Center