Staying “up-to-date” isn’t easy in today’s practice environment. In these lean economic times, training budgets are often the first to be cut. On the other hand, trying to separate the “important” from “irrelevant” in our information-rich age can be, as Mitchell Kapor once observed, “a bit like trying to get a drink from a fire hydrant.”
Gary Greenberg certainly has a way with words. In his most recent article, The War on Unhappiness, published in the August issue of Harper‘s magazine, Greenberg focuses on the “helping profession”–its colorful characters, constantly shifting theoretical landscape, and claims and counterclaims regarding “best practice.” He also gives prominence to the most robust and replicated finding in psychotherapy outcome research: the “dodo bird verdict.” Simply put, the finding that all approaches developed over the last 100 years–now numbering in the thousands–work about equally well. Several paragraphs are devoted to my own work; specifically, research documenting the relatively inconsequential role that particular treatment approaches play in successful treatment and the importance of using ongoing feedback to inform and improve mental health services. In any event, Greenberg’s review of current and historical trends is sobering to say the least–challenging mental health professionals to look in the mirror and question what we really know for certain–and a must read for any practitioner hoping to survive and thrive in the current practice environment. OK. Enough said. Read it yourself here.
This week I’m in Calgary, Canada. Last week, I was in Charleston, South Carolina. Next week, I’ll be in Marion, Ohio and Bay City, Michigan. In each instance, I’m working with the management and staff of public behavioral health agencies that are busy implementing consumer-driven, outcome-informed clinical work.
Some of the groups are just beginning the process. Others, as reported here on my blog, have been at it long enough to document significant improvements in outcome, retention, and productivity (i.e., in Ohio and Virginia). All have told me that implementing the seemingly simple ideas of outcome-informed practice is incredibly hard work–impacting nearly every aspect of agency life. Being able to access the expertise and experience of fellow clinicians and agency directors in real time when questions and challenges arise is, I’ve also learned, critical in maintaining the momentum necessary for successful implementation.
Enter the ICCE: The International Center for Clinical Excellence. Briefly, the ICCE is a web-based community of clinicians, researchers, agency managers, and policy makers dedicated to excellence in behavioral health. Many of the groups I’m working with have joined the site providing them with 24/7/365 access to a deeply knowledgeable world-wide community. In addition to the numerous topic-specific discussion groups and member-generated videos, organizations can set up private forums where management and clinicians can have confidential discussions and coordinate implementation efforts.
If you are a clinician or agency director and are not already a member, you and/or your organization can access the ICCE community today by visiting the website at: www.centerforclinicalexcellence.com. Membership is free. In the video below, I talk with Arjan Van der Weijde, about groups in Holland that are meeting on on the ICCE for practitioners to discuss their implementation of feedback-informed work in the Netherlands. Check it out.
I’ve also included a brief video about the upcoming “Training of Trainers” course, held each year in August in Chicago. As in prior years, professionals from all over the world will be joining me and the state-of-the-art faculty for four intensive days of training. Agencies both public and private, in the U.S. and abroad, are sending staff to the event to learn the skills necessary to lead transformation projects. Space is already limited so register soon.