Costs and returns on training investment for empirically supported psychological interventions

Erica Crome, Joanne Shaw, Andrew Baillie

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: Financial costs are a significant barrier to the uptake of empirically supported psychological interventions in clinical settings. Training may be among the largest of these costs; however, the potential magnitude of these costs is unclear. The aim of the present study was to develop a hypothetical model of potential training costs associated with adopting a novel therapy using systematic review of anticipated training durations and publicly available data on workshop costs, training materials and income. Methods: Direct and indirect costs were estimated for reference categories being cognitive behavioural therapy for social anxiety disorder delivered by registered psychologists. These were based on averages of 39 workshops and eight treatment manuals available in Australia identified through online searches. Results: This model demonstrated that upper cost ranges for training can exceed A$55 000, and even didactic training (reading manuals, attending workshops) may cost up to A$9000. Indirect costs of forfeited income account for a substantial proportion of these costs. Conclusions: This hypothetical model highlights why training costs should be considered in decisions about disseminating and implementing novel empirically supported psychological interventions, particularly within private workforces. In addition, the direct return on training investment for practitioners in private practice is unclear, and may vary based on caseloads and current treatment modalities. Initiatives to track competence, support training and identify novel training solutions may be required to ensure the sustainability of high-quality mental healthcare.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)82-88
    Number of pages7
    JournalAustralian Health Review
    Issue number1
    Early online date24 Mar 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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