IMPACT - Evidence-based depression care
IMPACT training

Training in Problem-Solving Treatment (PST) consists of two components:

PST is an evidence-based counseling technique used in the IMPACT program. PST training consists of two components, didactic learning and case-based learning. We offer a free, online module that summarizes the evidence for and key elements of PST, including how to use this psychotherapeutic technique to treat depression. Go to our online training page, view the Table of Contents, and watch Module #5.

Didactic Learning

Trainees can complete the didactic portion of the PST training in four to eight hours, either through in-person training or through our free online training program. The in-person training typically includes hands on training – like role-playing – that is not possible with the online training. Otherwise, the didactic content is very similar in both training methods.

Case-based Learning

After a trainee completes the didactic portion of PST training, they participate in case-based learning with a certified PST trainer. Typically, a trainee audio records their sessions with a real patient. The trainer listens to the recording and gives feedback to the trainee prior to the next scheduled trainee-patient appointment. Sometimes, the trainer can listen to a trainee-patient session live via conference call, though they do not participate in the conversation.

What is PST?

PST is an evidence-based counseling technique used in the IMPACT program. Below are links to other pages on this website that contain additional information and resources.

Click here for more PST information

This method allows the trainee to receive immediate feedback while the session is fresh in their mind. However, for some, scheduling issues and/or phone costs can make this a less desirable option. Sometimes the trainee can e-mail digital audio files to the supervisor to speed up the supervision process and avoid shipping costs. Or, the trainee can express mail analog tapes to the supervisor for review and feedback by telephone.

In our experience, it typically takes an average of nine recorded sessions for a PST trainee with previous experience with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to become certified in the PST technique. During that span of time, they work with a total of two to three patients. PST trainees without a CBT background typically require additional supervision before they are skilled enough for certification. The exact amount of supervision varies by trainee.

Train the Trainer

We often encourage organizations that will have an ongoing need for PST supervision to train an in-house trainer. Once certified as a PST practitioner, that person would need to practice PST with patients – ideally for several months – to reinforce their own training and gain substantial PST experience. At that point, they would take on their own trainees.

The new trainer's original trainer would also listen to the first few audio recordings of the new trainee. They would review the feedback provided to the trainee by the new trainer. The original trainer would give the new trainer feedback, as necessary, to insure that the training is not being diluted or drifting off course.

As soon as the original trainer feels comfortable with the training skills of the new trainer, that person is certified as a PST trainer.

PLEASE NOTE: We offer PST training to organizations only as part of a larger implementation of integrated mental health care. PST is not our specialty and we do not offer PST training and certification on its own. The National Network of PST Clinicians, Trainers, & Researchers provides PST training and supervision for clinicians and county agencies. For more information, visit http://pstnetwork.ucsf.edu/.