Today, we are featuring a Q&A with one of our clients, Youth Eastside Services (YES), to shed light on YES’ journey with DBT and Behavioral Tech, as well as the value DBT has brought to their program. Their responses may be helpful to those who are considering DBT.
Tell us more about your practice or treatment setting.
Youth Eastside Services (YES) is a behavioral health services provider in East King County for children and youth, ages birth to 22, and their families. YES serves families through a variety of outpatient, school, and community based programs, including the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program. The DBT program at YES consists of a 16-week DBT skills group, offered twice per year each fall and spring, along with a condensed 8-week summer skills refresher. Youth enrolled in YES’ outpatient agency-based services additionally have access to weekly individual counseling services with DBT-trained clinicians.
How many DBT clients are in your program?
The YES Dialectical Behavior Therapy program offers multiple levels of support to youth enrolled in our agency and school-based services, with around 30 clients participating in our core agency-based skills group per year, along with many more youth receiving DBT skills coaching during individual therapy sessions and support meetings at school. The school-based Behavioral Health Support Specialist team at YES additionally provides DBT-informed outreach and education services to numerous youth and families in the Lake Washington and Bellevue school districts including a prerecorded web series called Building a Life Worth Living.
What is your primary client population?
YES serves ALL children, youth, and families in East King County, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, immigration status, religion, political beliefs, gender identity and expression, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical and mental ability, socioeconomic status, marital status, family/parental status and military status. YES accepts most insurance plans, Medicaid, medical coupons and offers a sliding scale fee. No one is turned away because of their inability to pay for services.
How has DBT impacted your patients?
DBT has helped to improve the lives of numerous clients at YES. DBT has provided clients with the skills and framework for understanding their personal and interpersonal challenges, increasing their awareness of the barriers to their life goals, and developing strategies for modifying their behaviors to more effectively get their needs met and build a life worth living.
How many people are on your team(s)?
The Dialectical Behavior Therapy team at YES consists of 25 clinicians who have participated in the Behavioral Tech DBT Foundational Training and are currently providing DBT-informed treatment through one of our agency or school-based programs.
How has DBT impacted your team?
In addition to providing a theoretical framework for YES clinicians to support youth experiencing intense emotions and high risk behaviors, the DBT Team consultation group has been an invaluable space for clinicians to support one another, both personally and professionally.
Why did you pursue DBT training?
YES provides it’s clinicians with a range of professional development opportunities. We decided to participate in the DBT Foundational Training provided by Behavioral Tech in 2018 as a way to increase our skills for serving youth struggling with intense emotions and high-risk behaviors.
What steps did you take before you started training to make the decision?
Our primary consideration before enrolling in the DBT Foundational Training was assessing our level of commitment to continued work in a community mental health setting. Despite the challenges of working in this setting, we decided that it is important to us to work towards providing high-quality services to youth and families from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds.
If you were advising another program considering DBT, what steps would you recommend they take? Lessons learned?
We would recommend that any program considering DBT implementation participate in an Intensive training and institute a weekly DBT consultation team. We would also recommend consideration of pursuing Gold Standard implementation.
What was your experience and what was most impactful?
Early in the DBT training process, we benefitted tremendously from the mentorship and leadership of veteran DBT clinicians who had been Intensively trained, as well as regular involvement in DBT consultation meetings.
What steps have you taken to onboard nonclinical staff to assist in your DBT program?
Intake and receptionist staff have been trained in how to orient new youth and families to the DBT program as well as respond to inquiries from the general public. Newly-trained clinicians are offered a weekly DBT homework support meeting in addition to the regular DBT consultation team and individual supervision meetings.
In which ways have you engaged or worked with Behavioral Tech? (such as, events attended, co-hosting, private events, etc.)
YES has utilized Behavioral Tech for all of our Foundational Trainings for new clinicians, and we have also utilized consultation services when evaluating a range of programmatic updates, including implementation of a multifamily group and phone coaching services.