Long before the COVID-19 pandemic changed the landscape for mental health practices, Cohen Veterans Network (CVN) and Beck Institute (BI) worked together to provide high-level online trainings for clinicians. The results of this training have positively impacted many lives.
In 2018, Beck Institute and Cohen Veterans Network (CVN) began a partnership of remote CBT training and supervision. This partnership continues to serve the mission of both organizations, as the result is a robust, efficient training program that helps clinicians deliver better Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to veterans dealing with mental health issues.
CVN, an organization that serves post-9/11 veterans and their families through a nationwide system of mental health clinics, uses evidence-based treatment and practices for their patients. They turned to Beck Institute, a nonprofit that provides exceptional training in CBT to health and mental health professionals worldwide. BI’s Training for Organizations program helps staff at organizations around the world develop skills in CBT and Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R) in order to increase organization capacity and better serve clients.
Challenge to be met
From the onset of this partnership, BI and CVN agreed that all training would be conducted remotely. When asked about the inclination towards remote training, Stephanie Renno, CVN’s Director of Clinical Practice and Training, said, “Online training was never an emergency solution or a ‘last-resort’ option for us. We have always wanted to pursue this model to provide the best possible training to as many of our staff as possible. We knew we would be able to thoughtfully and mindfully develop the programs to suit our needs.”
Different training formats, a large range in group size, and technical scope were all clear indicators that this partnership would require an open line of communication between both organizations. A priority emerged: to make the training as interactive as possible even while remote.
Through a series of in-depth online courses, webinars, and individual supervision, BI delivered trainings that maximized accessibility for CVN staff and reinforced learning. To date, BI has trained more than 150 CVN Clinicians in CBT theory and practice and reinforced these skills.
The content, world-class faculty, and open communication allowed a long-term online training model to be (and continue to be) extremely successful.
As a result of these remote trainings, BI and CVN have been able to increase the number of staff members at CVN who have access to high-quality CBT training. This has led to greater impact on their patients. In addition, the remote model also eliminated the additional expense of travel needed for in-person trainings.
Renno mentioned that one thing that makes Beck Institute’s remote training options so effective is the fact that they are interactive. Role-plays, discussions, and question and answer sessions are all integral components of the sessions and ensure that participants are engaged.
To measure results, we heard directly from CVN staff and trainees:
“For the El Paso office, having access to this training has made a difference in the quality of treatment provided and affords the client the opportunity to gain skills that they can continue to use after short-term treatment is completed. Clients feel empowered and report having the ability to think before they react, observing their thoughts and how they impact the outcome of how they will handle situations,” said Jeanette James, Cohen Clinic Director in El Paso. “Having a staff member that is an approved supervisor through the Beck Institute Supervision program has allowed for staff to have access to an expert in understanding the true application of CBT and allowing them to get real time feedback in different ways they can approach a situation.”
Online training will continue to grow as an essential training model for both Beck Institute and Cohen Veterans Network. Both organizations share this goal for the future: that more health and mental health professionals gain access to quality CBT training through remote partnerships like this one.