Clinical Training in Transdiagnostic Cognitive Therapy

The Beck Community Initiative: Training in Transdiagnostic Cognitive Therapy

Project Introduction
The training arm of the Beck Community Initiative is a collaborative clinical, educational and administrative partnership between the Aaron T. Beck Psychopathology Research Center of the University of Pennsylvania (PENN) and several states and municipalities to disseminate Cognitive Therapy (CT) training and consultation throughout the community mental health networks. Through intensive workshops and ongoing consultation, tangible tools are placed in the hands of those working with people in recovery across the network to provide quality care. The Beck Community Initiative has seen exciting expansion and innovative development of the trainings for community mental health, broadening the reach of empirically supported treatment to new and diverse populations including children and families, substance abuse, and people with chronic homelessness.

Broad Project Goals

  • To promote recovery and increased quality of life for individuals served by agencies in community mental health networks;
  • To establish CT as a standard practice of care for people served within community mental health agencies;
  • To promote the sustained implementation of CT into community mental health networks;
  • To improve the professional lives of therapists in the community mental health system;
  • To conduct program evaluation to examine outcomes such as client attrition, service use, recidivism, therapist turnover, and the sustainability of high-quality CT in community mental health settings;
  • To utilize the evidence-based practice of CT in the community mental health network’s dedication to moving toward recovery-oriented care; and
  • To serve as a model for other large mental health systems.

Project Core Design
Participation in core Beck Community Initiative training has evolved over time to include the following components to maximize the integration of CT into agency services. Upon the agency’s decision to participate, a series of meetings occur with the main stakeholders at the agency, network and PENN to determine project compatibility, gauge level of agency interest and to discuss operational details. A “Beck Initiative Kick-Off” celebration is held at the agency where the project is introduced agency-wide. Shortly thereafter, the PENN group, focusing on the basics of CT, treatment and interventions, and cognitive conceptualization, conducts an intensive CT training workshop. Following the close of the workshop, intensive group and/or individual consultation occur, often for 6 months. During the consultation phase, session review and direct feedback occurs between the trainees and the PENN instructors. Throughout the consultation period, the instructors listen to audiotaped sessions and score the sessions based on the Cognitive Therapy Rating Scale (CTRS) to measure the trainee’s mastery of CT. If the trainee is successful in reaching competency at the close of the consultation period, he or she becomes eligible for Certification of Skilled Cognitive Therapy in Community Mental Health, signed by both Dr Beck and a network representative. Finally, once the training with PENN has been completed, one or two of the trainees within the group are trained to lead their own ongoing internal CT supervision group to sustain the model within the network. A web-based training is available to replenish group members lost due to turn over and other staffing issues, as needed. Orientation workshops for non-therapist team members are offered as needed to support a CT-informed milieu. Recertification opportunities are available after 2 years, and booster sessions are offered to prepare clinicians for recertification.

Alternative Training Designs
Although the comprehensive design above is considered to be an ideal approach, the scope of involvement may be beyond what is feasible for a given agency or network. Therefore, The Beck Initiative has developed alternative training models to fit the unique needs and strengths of a range of settings. Trainings may be as streamlined as a single workshop meeting, or may add components to address the services offered (e.g., case management, in-classroom support, medication management, front desk interactions). Agencies and networks are encouraged to contact us for more information about ways in which we can meet specific training needs.

Summary of Diverse Programs
In response to needs identified by community mental health agencies and networks, The Beck Community Initiative has conducted intensive training workshops combined with ongoing consultation in wide array of settings and populations, including:

  • Recovery Coaches
  • Child/Adolescent Outpatient
  • Forensics
  • Residential Treatment Facilities
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Suicide Ideation/Behavior/Assessment
  • Adult Outpatient
  • Students in school settings
  • Peer Specialists
  • Behavioral Health Clinical Departments
  • Acute Service Teams
  • Psychiatrists and Program Directors



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