A new RAND Corporation study finds that psychotherapists can learn new therapeutic approaches from online training as well as they would from in-person instruction. Validation of online or virtual training methods is welcomed as psychotherapy treatments often trail what research has shown to be effective. This often occurs because there simply are not enough clinicians trained in the new methods. Often new, clinically-proven techniques take years to become established among therapists. That means that many people with mental health disorders are not getting the most effective non pharmacological treatments, RAND researcher’s say.For one such treatment, Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy to treat bipolar disorder, a RAND study compared face-to-face training with online training and found e-learning to be as effective as traditional in-person instruction. In addition, e-learning enhanced clinician use of the skills just as well as traditional instruction, according to findings published online by the journal Psychiatric Services. “Our findings suggest that e-learning can provide an efficient and scalable approach to training large numbers of clinicians in new evidence-based treatments,” said Dr. Bradley D. Stein, the study’s lead author, a practicing psychiatrist and a senior scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “This may be a way to improve patient care and solve the problem of how to get new treatments to the front-line mental health workforce.” For the study, researchers worked with five community outpatient mental health centers. Investigators trained 36 clinicians, including social workers, licensed professional counselors, clinical psychologists, and nurses, in Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy to treat bipolar disorder.