Original Articles

Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 248-252

First online:

Therapy 101: A Psychotherapy Curriculum for Medical Students

  • Frieda Aboul-FotouhAffiliated withMenninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of MedicineHarvard/Massachusetts General Hospital
  • , Ali Abbas Asghar-AliAffiliated withMenninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of MedicineMichael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Mental Health Careline Email author 

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This pilot project, designed and taught by a resident, created a curriculum to introduce medical students to the practice of psychotherapy. Medical students who are knowledgeable about psychotherapy can become physicians who are able to refer patients to psychotherapeutic treatments. A search of the literature did not identify a curriculum that introduced psychotherapy, its applications, and evidence for its use.


The authors worked closely with a faculty mentor to create a course that fulfilled a perceived need for more psychotherapy teaching of medical students. “Therapy 101: An Introduction to Psychotherapy” is a 6-hour curriculum that employs creative teaching techniques such as video clips from TV shows, role play, and recordings of therapy sessions. The series was evaluated using a multiple-choice pre/postcourse test with questions on psychotherapy, written feedback, and perceived knowledge of psychotherapy.


The scores from the pre/postcourse test measuring the students’ knowledge of psychotherapy did not change significantly. However, students’ self-rating of knowledge greatly increased after the series. Written feedback showed substantial enthusiasm for the course.


Students can benefit from a short and engaging curriculum on psychotherapy. “Therapy 101” was very well accepted by students and has been integrated into the curriculum for students in the mental health pathway. Medical students may benefit from more exposure to psychotherapy as taught by a resident.