Problem Solving Treatment (PST)
The AIMS Center encourages organizations and clinicians to pursue certification in Problem Solving Treatment (PST). Clinicians are taught by expert trainers using procedures and standards set by the National Network of PST Clinicians, Trainers & Researchers. Patrick J. Raue, PhD, Associate Director for Evidence-based Psychosocial Interventions at the AIMS Center, directs the National Network of PST Clinicians, Trainers & Researchers, which was founded by Patricia Areán, PhD.
About Problem Solving Treatment
Problem Solving Treatment (PST), also known as Problem-Solving Treatment – Primary Care (PST-PC), is a brief, evidence-based approach that is effective with a majority of patient populations, including patients of many different cultures. PST teaches and empowers patients to solve the here-and-now problems contributing to their depression and helps increase their self-efficacy.
As part of a treatment plan, PST typically involves six to ten sessions, depending on the patient’s needs. The first appointment is approximately one hour long (this can be split into two separate ½ hour sessions if scheduling an hour is difficult) because it includes psychoeducation and an introduction to the PST model. Subsequent appointments are 30 minutes long.
Psychotherapy plays an important part in a patient's treatment plan, given patient preferences and the limitations of antidepressant medications. Organizations implementing an integrated care program should have capacity to offer an evidence-based psychotherapy such as PST. PST sessions are billable as psychotherapy visits and can be provided by a variety of certified health care providers.
PST Clinician Training Tiers
The AIMS center offers two training tiers for clinicians:
A Course in PST, involving interactive online modules followed by 3-6 monthly group case presentations calls;
PST Certification, involving interactive online modules followed by individual phone-based practice sessions, 6 monthly group case presentation calls, and in-depth expert feedback on application of clinical skills based on session audiotape review.
We encourage clinicians to pursue PST Certification (Tier 2), as skill-based practice and expert feedback are important to meeting fidelity standards. Notably, the evidence base for the effectiveness of PST has been demonstrated using clinicians at this level of clinical skill.
Licensed providers (or master's-level licensure candidates) such as licensed social workers, registered nurses, and psychologists are eligible to receive training and become certified in PST. Prospective trainees must have an active caseload of at least 3 patients by the time they begin PST training.
Medical assistants and non-clinical staff members (such as case workers, patient navigators, etc) are not eligible for formal certification in PST. However, these staff members can receive basic training in Patient Activation.
PST training provided by the AIMS Center is approved by the American Psychological Association for up to 8 continuing education contact hours toward continuing education licensure requirements. In most states, social workers are also able to claim CE's from APA-approved courses. Clinicians should check their specific state requirements before requesting CE.
The certification process typically requires between 19 to 22 hours of clinician time over the course of seven months and requires demonstration of mastery of the technique. Please read through the subsequent pages in the left-hand menu for more information. If you would like to register for training, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.