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The use of virtual clients for training behavioral health providers: Promises, challenges and the way ahead

Kintzle, Sara; Munch, Christopher; Alday, Eva; Ozuna, Sara; Keeling, Mary; Corletto, Gisele; Berg, Dax; Atuel, Hazel; Castro, Carl A.


Sara Kintzle

Christopher Munch

Eva Alday

Sara Ozuna

Mary Keeling
Occasional Associate Lecturer - HAS HSS

Gisele Corletto

Dax Berg

Hazel Atuel

Carl A. Castro


Providing opportunities for training behavioral health providers in clinical practice remains a challenge within the helping professions. To date, the field has relied mostly on role-playing and the use of standardized actors to provide realistic clinical simulations to students. Although highly utilized, both methods come with significant challenges. As technology rapidly develops, so does its role and application within the framework of behavioral health training. One such role is its potential use in providing realistic clinical simulations to develop clinical skills. Along with reviewing the application as well as advantages and challenges to the current training models used to mimic clinical interactions, role play, and standardized actor patients, the purpose of this concept article is to present an alternate clinical skills training model, the use of a virtual client. Described is the use of virtual clients in behavioral health training, including how virtual clients work and their current applications, the advantages and challenges associated with their use and the way forward with their use in behavioral health training. Authors conclude virtual clients have potential as an impactful tool in the development of clinical skills.


Kintzle, S., Munch, C., Alday, E., Ozuna, S., Keeling, M., Corletto, G., …Castro, C. A. (2018). The use of virtual clients for training behavioral health providers: Promises, challenges and the way ahead. Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science, 3(4), 247-252.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 23, 2018
Online Publication Date Apr 23, 2018
Publication Date Dec 31, 2018
Journal Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science
Print ISSN 2366-5963
Electronic ISSN 2366-5963
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 4
Pages 247-252
Public URL
Publisher URL