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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren

Training better clinical psychologists: new methods based on machine learning, AI, and deliberate practice

Alternative title: Bedre psykologer med AI, maskinlæring og målbevisst ferdighetstrening

Awarded: NOK 10.0 mill.

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Project Period:

2024 - 2029


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To improve the increasing problems of mental ill-health, we need to train better psychologists. Machine learning and AI will be used in clinical-skills education. Also, there is a need for more research on deliberate-practice training. Over the last decades, psychotherapy studies document the same overall client outcomes, which has stimulated search for new training approaches to increase therapist effectiveness. Recent research documents that therapists differ as to their influence on client outcome, calling for more knowledge on how therapists develop competence. Few training studies have investigated skills training based on video-recordings of therapy- and supervision sessions. As much of the non-verbal interactional patterns would take place out of focused attention, it is important to explore the complex verbal and non-verbal components of these patterns. Machine learning and AI can be utilized in this endeavor; such programs are already in use at Stockholm University. At the internal clinic for psychology students in Stockholm and potentially in Oslo such digital data will be offered as feedback along the parallel therapy and supervision process. This digital information will supplement ordinary supervision, and the influence on the training outcome will be analyzed to study possible advantages. The deliberate-practice approach in supervision pays specific attention to identifying clinical challenges and developing individualized exercises for trainees to acquire patient outcome. In recent years, this approach has evoked enthusiasm in the field, but it still lacks sufficient research to document its influence on trainees' learning and patient outcome. The study will investigate the process and outcome of this learning component both among psychology students and graduated psychologists. Increased knowledge of how evoked emotions influence training may contribute to the general education field.

How do you learn to become a good clinical psychologist during pre- and post-graduate training? This project is a unique effort to improve psychological treatments against the increasing problem of mental ill-health. Psychotherapy researchers from four Nordic countries investigate a large number of training processes. Building up the data material has started, including video-recordings of all therapy and supervision sessions of the trainees. The results of “The Nordic Psychotherapy Training Study” - NORTRAS will help improve training programmes in the Nordic countries and elsewhere, which in turn, ensures better-qualified clinical psychologists. The results will inform psychotherapist training in other professions and will be relevant for other kinds of supervisions where you learn “how-to-do the work” in emotionally significant relationships. The study meets the requirements in all four thematic priority areas of the RCN’s Work programme for Education and Competence. Specific focus lays on (1) identifying different patterns of ways to handle evoked strong emotions in psychotherapy and supervision and how they influence training and patient outcome; (2) to investigate the role played by evoked emotions within different training forms for pre- and postgraduate psychologists; and (3) contribute to the general knowledge of the relevance of learning how to tolerate and process strong emotions in training programmes for the working life of clinical psychologists. The combination of data from both pre- and post-graduate training and professional work settings provides novel insight into the transition into working life, an insufficiently research field. The database is situated in Oslo, within the Services for Sensitive Data (TSD), and includes data material from different sites. The NORTRAS group takes part in the worldwide survey-study of psychotherapy educations (SPRISTAD), which increase the impact of the results.

Funding scheme:

FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren