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Devereux begins training clinicians, leadership in dialectical behavior therapy  

As part of its ongoing commitment to providing innovative and evidence-based, trauma-focused care to youth and adults with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health recently began training clinical staff in the organization’s residential treatment settings in dialectical behavior therapy.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is designed to help individuals manage their emotions and behaviors more effectively. DBT focuses on teaching skills in four key areas, including mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness.

A total of 35 Devereux clinicians across the country are currently undergoing intensive DBT training, which includes participating in three multi-day training sessions. In addition, each center’s clinical team will meet once a month for 12 months with an assigned DBT trainer from the Treatment Implementation Collaborative to help support implementation.

“DBT has proven to be a highly effective form of treatment for individuals with emotional and behavioral disorders,” said Devereux Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical/Medical Officer Yolanda Graham, M.D. “While understanding the thoughts that drive behaviors is a critical component of therapy, helping our youth and adults regulate and manage their emotions and behaviors, through DBT, is essential for them to thrive in their homes or community-based settings, once they leave residential treatment.”

Devereux leaders learn DBT skills

In April, during Devereux’s President’s Executive Council meeting, Treatment Implementation Collaborative (TIC) representatives provided an overview of DBT to Devereux’s leadership team, along with tools and information on how to best support a successful DBT implementation.

“Devereux is committed to achieving the highest level of excellence with DBT implementation, and our leadership team was excited to learn more about this evidence-based treatment and its many benefits,” Graham shared. “During the training session, our leaders had the opportunity to experience and practice key DBT skills. In addition, since mindfulness – or being present in the moment – is a core practice of DBT, leaders worked on three mindfulness techniques,  and learned how mindfulness and other DBT skills can not only benefit the individuals we serve, but our staff as well, which can result in decreased burnout and increased job satisfaction.”

Implementing DBT across Devereux

Prior to the current implementation, Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Behavioral Health Services (CBHS) had been offering DBT in its outpatient services, and Devereux Massachusetts was providing this form of therapy in its residential program. Now, Devereux is taking a national approach to standardization and implementation of DBT training to ensure fidelity. Note: Fidelity of implementation occurs when instructors deliver training curriculum in the exact same way it was designed to be used and delivered.  

What this means: All 35 clinicians at Devereux will receive the necessary supports to become individually certified as DBT therapists. Once that certification process is complete, the nonprofit will work to certify its centers, which will require a multi-day assessment by Behavioral Tech, the developer of DBT.

Devereux also plans to provide DBT training to its direct support professionals (DSPs). DSPs will participate as members of their center’s consultation teams, and will be taught how to effectively coach youth and adults in using their DBT skills on a daily basis.

“The entire process is expected to take up to two years to complete,” Graham explained. “When it is all said and done, our staff will be able to help those in our care reduce any self-destructive behaviors they may have – and put them on a path to achieving healthy, productive and more fulfilling lives.”

 

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