Ryan Freeman Burchfield, LPC, is among the first clinicians to get certified in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) with Beck Institute. BI’s Certification program includes coursework (currently hosted online in both on demand and live, interactive formats), one term of supervision with our expert faculty, case write-ups, and a work sample. Ryan shared insight about her experience in the program and why she chose to pursue CBT as the driving force in her career.
Can you tell me about your organization and your role there? What made you decide to get CBT certified with Beck Institute?
I am the founder and CEO of The Freeman-Burchfield Institute, a clinic in northwest Arkansas specializing in CBT, so I was excited to get CBT certified when the program was introduced last year. Certification helped me to refresh and hone my skills, as well as translate them to both my clients and my internal team of mental health professionals. As team leader, it has been essential to use the same frameworks both because they are effective and so that my team will have muscle memory for structuring their sessions.
What made you choose CBT?
I was drawn to CBT from a young age. I competed as a pole vaulter in college and was a gymnast before that. Although I had been fearless of heights, that changed after I fell and blew my left leg out. I had so much fear, and, on top of that, I was concerned about losing my scholarship. My coach set me up with a sports psychologist, and it was incredibly effective. In fact, I ended up setting the record for highest jump. This experience guided my urge to work with athletes, where there is a high incidence of anxiety and depression. From both the evidence and my personal experience, I know CBT to be the most effective treatment. With the lack of CBT therapists in my community, I ultimately decided to start my own practice.
What was your favorite part of the certification process?
My favorite stage of the certification experience was definitely my term of Supervision. The collaboration fostered a sense of community, and getting feedback from my supervisor was invaluable for improving my skills. I can’t wait for my team to do it because I think they’ll fall in love with CBT even more. One of my biggest takeaways was expanding my knowledge of using measurements to inform treatment. Using graphs and inventories are empowering for clients and can take some of the guesswork out of the session for therapists.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience in Beck Institute’s certification program?
Overall, my certification experience was enriching, and I frequently use elements of it in my practice. The coursework was engaging both in person and virtually. My first in person course was actually a birthday gift from my family in friends, who flew me to Philadelphia to take CBT for Anxiety! I’m thrilled to be connected to the Beck Institute community as a BICBT-CC and am excited to continue becoming a better CBT practitioner.