Behavioral Interventions

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The majority of evidence-based, effective behavioral interventions were developed for settings very different from the fast-paced primary care environment. Many of these interventions were developed for weekly, one-hour visits with a specialty mental health provider, and often require extensive clinical training.

Of the many existing behavioral interventions, only a few have shown to be effective in primary care. These include:

  • Problem Solving Treatment-Primary Care (PST-PC)
    Brief therapy that uses six to ten 30-minute sessions to help patients solve the "here and now" problems contributing to their depression. 
  • Behavioral Activation (BA)
    Intervention that identifies work, social, health, or family activities patients have stopped engaging in because of their mood. 
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
    Short-term, goal-oriented therapy to interrupt patterns of thinking that prevent patients from feeling better. 
  • Interpersonal Counseling (IPC)
    Outgrowth of Interpersonal Therapy that focuses on current functioning, recent life changes, sources of stress and difficulties in interpersonal relationships. 

Training in Brief Evidence-Based Behavioral Interventions 

The AIMS Center provides training in Problem Solving Treatment-Primary Care (PST-PC) and Behavioral Activation (BA)

Key Intervention Features 

Treatment plans in effective integrated care models, such as Collaborative Care, use medications, behavioral interventions, or both. To be effective in primary care, a behavioral intervention should: 

  • Include a patient engagement component 
  • Be time efficient, running no more than 20-30 minutes a visit
  • Follow a structured, but patient-centered approach 
  • Minimize required clinical training and duration of treatment
  • Be relevant and applicable to diverse patient populations
  • Have a substantial research evidence base