Telehealth Certification Institute

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The Future of Behavioral Healthcare for Organizations

Dr. Jonathan Neufeld, the Program Director of the Great Plains Telehealth Resource and Assistance Center (gpTRAC) has spent the last 15 years steering healthcare organizations toward telehealth solutions. When he began his work in the field, few people were talking about telehealth technology; but once COVID-19 entered the picture, healthcare organizations realized that this underutilized treatment option became a necessity for patients and providers.

In this video interview, Dr. Neufeld identifies factors that organizations should consider when integrating telehealth technology into their practices, current technology constraints for treating patients, and a glimpse of the technological future that could be awaiting us.

Community-Wide Mindful Self-Compassion Program

The Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) Program is an evidence-based program that was created by Dr. Kristin Neff and Dr. Chris Germer through the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. Vira Salzburn talks with the Telehealth Certification Institute about her use of MSC in her work as the Program Director of the Safety and Resilience programs at Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council.

According to Vira, MSC “is the first program that teaches self-compassion explicitly,” compared to other therapy practice models that focus on mindfulness skills training. For Vira, MSC also “[pulls] people out of the river of suicide” as an upstream approach to suicide prevention that empowers clients with mindfulness and self-compassion skills before they arrive at a crisis.

Woman in training for Master of Social Work Behavioral Health Fellows Increase Their Telehealth Proficiency

Master of Social Work Behavioral Health Fellows Increase Their Telehealth Proficiency

Since 2020 TCI has taught telemental health to over 600 graduate students. These were students of social work, counseling, marriage and family therapy, psychology, or public health who completed the TeleMental Health Training Program. Participating colleges varied greatly–small, large, private, public, urban and rural.

Alabama A&M University is one of the colleges TCI has partnered with for the last two years. In March we completed the TeleMental Health Training Program with a group of 31 master of social work fellows from their Behavioral Health Workforce Training Program (BHWTP). The BHWTP Fellows’ participation in the TeleMental Health Training Program is made possible by generous funding awarded to the MSW Program by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)(MC1HP42067‐01‐00) through its Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program. The purpose of the BHWET Program for Professionals is to develop and expand experiential training opportunities, such as field placements and internships, to improve the distribution and supply of the behavioral health workforce. The development of competencies in the implementation of telemental health is a current and critical skills area in demand across settings in which social workers practice. 

Guest at the door- TeleMental Health Training Meets CSWE’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards

TeleMental Health Training Meets CSWE’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards

When Raymond Barrett first created a telehealth training certificate program in 2014, he believed it was essential to include the ethical and legal standards for social workers, and these standards continue to shape the content of the Telemental Health Training Certificate (THTC) Program today. Some examples are the NASW Code of Ethics, state and federal laws, and best practices for technology-assisted social work. And in addition to these, the THTC Program meets CSWE’s educational and policy accreditation standards.

Using FoRSE to Measure the Effectiveness of SUD Treatment

In this interview, Dr. Peters talks about the Foundation for Recovery Science and Education (FoRSE) Program, and how it’s equipping treatment providers with data to empower the design, modification, and delivery of clinical services. Even though the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) has been around since 1978, the substance-use profession has encountered numerous barriers when attempting to standardize addiction treatment. 

Over the last few decades, establishing evidence around treatment outcomes has become increasingly popular across the entire mental health profession. Dr. Peters says that providers’ desire to “want to measure how they are doing” led the NAATP to develop FoRSE to support providers who don’t have available comparative data to evaluate the strength of the services that they offer to clients.

LGBTQ+ Competencies for Counseling

Chris McLaughlin, MSW, LCSW, talks about the importance of counseling competencies when working with LGBTQ+ clients. Chris uses his knowledge and experience of the LGBTQ+ community to provide an in-depth look at common areas of concern for this client population, and where clinicians often fall short.

During the interview, Chris talks about the immense value of respecting whatever a client shares, and that bringing parents or guardians into the conversation can be “a delicate balance.” Ordinarily, Chris says that his “rule of thumb is to always follow the lead of the youth,” and that his role is to never out youth to their parents—even if safety issues are present. According to Chris, “regardless of the presenting concern,” he always asks questions about sexual orientation and gender identity with his clients. For some youth, they may have never encountered an adult who expressed interest in these issues; and for others, they may be waiting for a safe enough space to be vulnerable.

LGBTQ+ Competencies for Counseling

In this video interview, Ray Barrett of the Telehealth Certification Institute sits down with internationally known cognitive-behavioral researcher and psychiatrist, Dr. Jesse Wright. During the interview, Dr. Wright shares how his decades of research experience have helped validate the clinical power of computerized cognitive behavioral therapy (CCBT). Dr. Wright emphasizes that computer-assisted therapy is not about eliminating the person in the process, but “use computer programs to help build skills, teach some of the basic concepts, rehearse patients, help them do…homework or action plans, and do some of the routine things that cognitive therapists often have to do.”

Dr. Wright started researching the potential of using computer-assisted technology or multimedia as a hybrid therapy model in the 90s, so there are numerous articles and studies that point to the effectiveness of CCBT. In fact, Dr. Wright found that the remission rates were “more than double in people who received computer-assisted cognitive therapy” compared to treatment as usual.

TeleBehavioral Health Competencies for Couple and Family Therapy

In this video interview, Dr. Katherine M. Hertlein’s talks with Ray Barrett of TCI about integrating technology into couple and family therapy sessions. Dr. Hertlein uses her experience as a Professor in the Couple and Family Therapy Program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to emphasize the importance of telebehavioral health competencies when training counseling graduate students—and what skills practicing clinicians can learn to optimize client care.

In general, the couple and family therapy fields were slow to embrace telehealth as a worthy format for clinical work. According to Dr. Hertlein, “there was a fear around [using telehealth]” because of the significance placed upon the therapist-client relationship. But when COVID-19 set in, there was a stronger wave of acceptance for online counseling.

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