Behavioral Health Services Training

Training in evidence-based treatment models can help medical and behavioral health professionals support patients with opioid use disorder. Organizations need to identify the behavioral health services they want to offer and the resources needed to properly train providers.

North Star

All members of the clinical team are trained in motivational interviewing. Any team members who will provide counseling or evidence-based therapeutic interventions have received appropriate training and clinical supervision.

How Do You Do It?

Obtain Training in Evidence-Based Techniques

Behavioral Health Counseling Techniques. Internal or external behavioral health service providers should be trained in evidence-based techniques to provide counseling or therapy to patients with opioid use disorders. Methods may include cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, contingency management, and mindfulness-based stress reduction, among others. This training may occur as part of their initial education or clinical training or ongoing training, education, and supervision.

Training To Support Medication Management Visits. Training in motivational interviewing and basic behavior change techniques can help prescribers conduct more successful medication management visits. In particular, motivational interviewing is an important skill that all providers and staff should have. Motivational interviewing helps providers understand what really matters to the patients, why they are in treatment, and how they define success.

Motivational enhancement techniques can be used during initial clinical assessments and ongoing medication management visits to develop a treatment plan that meets patients’ needs. To encourage retention in treatment, providers should ask their patients what might lead them to discontinue treatment and what the providers and practice staff can do to help ensure patients attend their scheduled visits. Learn more about how to enhance motivation for change in opioid use disorder treatment with motivational interviewing.

Understand Available Psychosocial Supports

Psychosocial supports may include formal or informal counseling by the prescribing physician or others; individual or group counseling or therapies; peer counseling; participation in self-help groups; and other recovery supports that address social determinants of health (e.g., housing, transportation, employment, child care). Members of the care team may take on some case management roles, particularly if there is a nurse care manager, care coordinator, or patient engagement specialist.

To successfully support their patients with opioid use disorder and respond to patient needs, care teams need to be attuned to the whole set of lifestyle factors and social determinants that may affect treatment outcomes. They should be familiar with the locally available supports and trained on how to assess patients’ needs and be prepared to respond to them.

What Not To Do

  • Don’t use a “one-size fits all” approach to evidence-based behavioral health counseling techniques. Adapt your strategies to the patient’s needs and preferences.
  • Don’t assume that behavioral health techniques should only be used by dedicated behavioral health providers. Strategies to help patients achieve behavior change are useful across provider types and disciplines.
  • Don’t assume every person with opioid use disorder will benefit from behavioral health techniques or require them for recovery.