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From CBT Therapist to CBT Supervisor

 Judith S. Beck and Daniella Cavenagh

How do you become a skilled CBT supervisor? Delivering effective CBT supervision requires a highly specialized, advanced set of competencies for which clinical acumen is essential but not sufficient. A growing body of literature indicates the importance of:

  • developing the relationship with supervisees, including eliciting and responding effectively to their feedback
  • setting goals with supervisees
  • accurately assessing supervisees’ strengths and weaknesses
  • developing effective individualized plans for supervision to implement within supervision sessions and across sessions
  • structuring supervision sessions (in a similar way to therapy sessions)
  • providing experiential exercises in and between supervision sessions (including having supervisees practice CBT conceptualization and treatment techniques on themselves)
  • regularly reviewing and providing feedback on therapy recordings and on the progress of the supervisee
  • teaching supervisees how to engage in effective self-reflection
  • using self-reflection yourself
  • engaging, on an ongoing basis, in activities to improve your own clinical and supervisory competence

When we train CBT supervisors, we first train them to be effective CBT therapists. Most of the competencies listed above have parallels in CBT treatment. Once therapists have developed a sufficient level of competence as a therapist, we provide training and supervision in CBT supervision, which includes reading the literature on CBT supervision, attending workshops on training and supervision, and receiving supervision on doing supervision (based on tape reviews of both client sessions and one’s own supervision sessions).

Judith S. Beck, PhD

Judith S. Beck, PhD

Self-reflection is also a crucial part of effective supervision. Supervisors need to objectively examine their knowledge and skill set and attitudes (about supervision, trainees, clients, and CBT in general). We first teach clinicians how to rate therapy sessions they conduct with their own clients (using the Cognitive Therapy Rating Scale), then how to rate the therapy sessions of their supervisees.

We also help them assess how they conducted the supervision session. For example, did they appropriately attend to the supervisee’s developmental stage? (In our experience, supervisees with relatively little CBT experience may benefit from a somewhat more directive approach than an experienced CBT supervisees for whom greater collaboration is effective). Did they use experiential learning strategies such as role plays? Did they competently handle any ethical issues? Were they attuned to cultural and diversity issues between the trainee and themselves, the trainee and the client, and indirectly, the client and themselves? Did they actively seek feedback and respond appropriately to it?

Finally, we teach supervisors (and supervisors-to-be) to reflect on the effectiveness of the supervision session as a whole. What did they do well? What might they need to improve upon? What can they do to increase their competency?

Providing CBT supervision is an incredibly rewarding experience when you see your supervisees becoming more competent and confident and their clients making good progress.  But a strong CBT clinician will not necessarily be a strong CBT supervisor. We encourage researchers to continue conducting studies to establish evidence-based CBT training and supervision competencies and practices — and we encourage clinicians who wish to become supervisors to seek out effective training.

Teaching and Supervising CBT: A 3-Day Workshop

When:    June 11-12, 2016
Where: Beck Institute, Suburban Philadelphia
Time:   8:15am – 4pm
Faculty: Donna Sudak, MD
Enrollment:  Limited to 42 participants
CE/CMEs:  12

 

 

 

Topics covered include:

  • Structuring and conducting CBT supervision
  • Measuring and evaluating therapist progress and competence
  • Adapting CBT supervision to the trainee’s level of development
  • Special issues in group supervision
  • Working effectively with a problematic trainee
  • Using measures to improve patient outcomes with informative feedback
  • Creating a comprehensive CBT curriculum based on core competencies necessary for practice
  • Teaching Socratic questioning and other specific competencies
  • Distance learning and use of technology
  • Advocating for CBT in training programs and competing for resources

Learn More

Child- and Family-Focused CBT for Pediatric Bipolar Disorder

OBJECTIVE: Previous studies have found that family-based psychosocial treatments are effective adjuncts to pharmacotherapy among adults and adolescents with bipolar disorder (BD). The objective of this study was to compare the efficacy of adjunctive child- and family-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CFF-CBT) to psychotherapy as usual (control) for mood symptom severity and global functioning in children with BD.

METHOD: Sixty-nine youth, aged 7 to 13 years (mean = 9.19, SD = 1.61) with DSM-IV-TR bipolar I, II, or not otherwise specified (NOS) disorder were randomly assigned to CFF-CBT or control groups. Both treatments consisted of 12 weekly sessions followed by 6 monthly booster sessions delivered over a total of 9 months. Independent evaluators assessed participants at baseline, week 4, week 8, week 12 (posttreatment), and week 39 (6-month follow-up).

RESULTS: Participants in CFF-CBT attended more sessions, were less likely to drop out, and reported greater satisfaction with treatment than controls. CFF-CBT demonstrated efficacy compared to the control treatment in reducing parent-reported mania at posttreatment and depression symptoms at posttreatment and follow-up. Global functioning did not differ at posttreatment but was higher among CFF-CBT participants at follow-up.

CONCLUSION: CFF-CBT may be efficacious in reducing acute mood symptoms and improving long-term psychosocial functioning among children with BD.

West, A. E., Weinstein, S. M., Peters, A. T., Katz, A. C., Henry, D. B., Cruz, R. A., & Pavuluri, M. N. ( 2014). Child- and Family-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Pediatric Bipolar Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 53, 11, 1168.

A Monthly Summary of Beck Institute Updates [June 2012]

In its efforts to encourage the growth and dissemination of CBT throughout the world, the Beck Institute has expanded its online presence across social media and other platforms. To keep you (our readers) informed of our most recent updates, we’ve decided to implement a monthly summary including: blogs, CBT articles, and CBT trainings, and other updates for our readers. Please use the following links to go back and read what you may have missed from June 2012:

See what you missed in May

Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Depression

In this clip from a recent 3-day workshop at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dr. Aaron Beck discusses CBT strategies for suicidal patients facing a number of losses or negative events (e.g., loss of job/family/assets/health/etc.) Dr. Beck explains that depression stems from the meaning one attaches to life events rather than the events themselves. For example, a person who is vulnerable to depression might believe, “Losing my job means I am worthless.” Dr. Beck then uses a patient example to demonstrate cognitive restructuring, a key CBT strategy for treating depression.

To learn more about Cognitive Behavior Therapy, visit our website.

A Monthly Summary of Beck Institute Updates [May 2012]

In its efforts to encourage the growth and dissemination of CBT throughout the world, the Beck Institute has expanded its online presence across social media and other platforms. To keep you (our readers) informed of our most recent updates, we’ve decided to implement a monthly summary including: blogs, CBT articles, and CBT trainings, and other updates for our readers. Please use the following links to go back and read what you may have missed from May 2012:

See what you missed in April

A Monthly Summary of Beck Institute Updates [April 2012]

In its efforts to encourage the growth and dissemination of CBT throughout the world, the Beck Institute has expanded its online presence across social media and other platforms. To keep you (our readers) informed of our most recent updates, we’ve decided to implement a monthly summary including: blogs, CBT articles, and CBT trainings, and other updates for our readers. Please use the following links to go back and read what you may have missed from April 2012:

See what you missed in March

Terapia Cognitiva Conductal [Relationship Between Neuroscience and Cognitive Therapy]

Dr. Aaron Beck answers questions from participants at Beck Institute’s first ever CBT Workshop, conducted entirely in Spanish. In this clip, Dr. Beck discusses the relationship between neuroscience and cognitive therapy. Studies show that people with depression are hypersensitive to negative stimuli at both a conscious and subconscious level. This hypersensitivity tends to disappear when patients receive cognitive and behavioral interventions to overcome their depression. www.beckinstitute.org/cbt-workshops.

Cognitive Therapy – Negative Core Beliefs (Part 2)

Dr. Aaron Beck answers questions from participants at Beck Institute’s first ever CBT Workshop in Spanish. In this clip, Dr. Beck discusses how core beliefs influence the impact of traumatic events. The activation of negative core beliefs about one’s situation can make it even more difficult to cope with life after a traumatic event. You can ask Dr. Aaron Beck your own questions at a Beck Institute CBT Workshop. For more information visit www.beckinstitute.org/cbt-workshops.

Cognitive Therapy – Negative Core Beliefs

Dr. Aaron Beck answers questions from participants at Beck Institute’s first ever CBT Workshop in Spanish. In this clip, Dr. Beck discusses the origins of negative core beliefs. He describes the role that parents sometimes play in the development or maintenance of core beliefs in their children. One way to avoid or ameliorate this is by training the parents in CBT techniques. You can ask Dr. Aaron Beck your own questions at a Beck Institute CBT Workshop. For more information visit our website.

2012 Beck Institute Scholarship Competition Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our full-tuition Beck Institute Scholarship Competition:

Shannon Couture
Rebecca Greif
John Guerry
Brian Hall
Cara Lewis
Nina Martin
Barbara Van Noppen
Rick Pessagno
Darunee Phukao
Shari Steinman

Our Scholarship Competition received more than 600 entries from around the world! The commitment to the study and practice of CBT shown by all of the applicants was truly inspiring.

If you missed the Scholarship Competition and you are currently a graduate student or faculty member, you would still be eligible to apply to the Student and Faculty Workshop, which is being offered at a reduced rate ($650 instead of $1200) even if you were not awarded the scholarship – click here for more information.