2022 Fall Conference Takeaways

9 takeaways related to DBT and mental health

By: Alexandra Mejia

It was wonderful to be back in-person with conferences again. Co-founder Lourica Halteh and I hit the ground running talking about Waverider to providers and researchers at ISITDBT and ABCT. We also took some time to soak up some of the great insights from peers in mental health.

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Here are the top nine highlights/insights I walked away with from these DBT and mental health conferences:
  1. In the true heart of DBT, we opened up with a Mindfulness meditation led by Wyneshia Hicks, LCSW-C. Bringing ourselves into a state of Wise Mind is always a good way to start anything. It was a good reminder to experiment with doing Mindful Yoga as a part of starting your day, a brief meditation to take space between the end of your work day and the start of “going” home (especially if you work from home), or even a practice of Mindful awareness prior to a big meeting.
  1. Dr. Sheftall provided new statistics on suicide rates among youth and disparities of growing suicide rates among youth of different ethnic groups.  She discussed concerns about the higher-than-average increase amongst African American youth in the last decade in comparison to other ethnic groups.
  1. Research on DBT training programs showed that there is a great need to bring more trainees of color into the fold.  
  1. DBT for adolescents with Bipolar disorder research showed that this population is at a greater risk for suicide and a greater need for DBT skills.  Discussions with adolescent providers showed a great need for digitally formatted DBT diary cards in this population.
  1. Dr. Daros presented findings on a trial of an online text-based DBT skills group.  He expressed a large dropout rate, (Waverider has seen similar trends with their earlier testing), but expressed that it could be a viable resource in the future.  Research is ongoing into this pathway to digital DBT.
  1. A workshop on dialectical dilemmas, led by Dr. Gold, explored how clinicians can work with clients’ resistance utilizing the change versus acceptance dilemma. Clients who understand dialectical dilemmas and work with them in sessions and in their daily lives are better able to find a sense of validation and come into a state of Wise Mind.
  1. The anti-racism discussion, led by Dr. Kamal expressed a greater need for clinicians to be mindful of their language and microaggressions around clients as well as other clinicians. Dr. Kamal presented examples of clinicians’ statements from her own personal and professional experiences that showed insensitivities among professionals around her. She described ways we can do better as clinicians in our language and behavior and ways in which we can better respond to racism and microaggressions in and outside of our practice.
  1. A workshop on phone coaching, led by Dr. Maliken discussed the importance of this strategy in DBT treatment. She expressed how much easier this strategy is than many clinicians recognize and how much more benefit it provides clients than might be expected.  
  1. A workshop led by Dr. Fitzpatrick described the need for incorporating intimate partners within DBT treatment. This can be done on an as-needed basis, by bringing the partner into some sessions or having DBT-style couples counseling sessions on a regular basis with both partners. There is a great need for partners and loved ones to also utilize DBT diary cards to get a fuller picture of clients’ needs and struggles, and a clearer picture of what goes on outside of therapy.  

As we scope out the future growth of Waverider, these insights help reinforce that we are on the right path. We believe in creating a tool to make DBT more accessible and easier to use in this digital environment. Feedback from our community fuels our development. If you have any suggestions or ideas for needs that Waverider can help shape, drop us a note at support@waverider.io

We look forward to talking to more members of our community across more conferences in 2023. 

About the author:

Alexandra Mejia is a licensed mental health counselor specializing in trauma, personality, mood, and anxiety disorders. She utilizes evidence-based treatment modalities such as CBT, DBT, Mindfulness and Exposure therapy. Alexandra joined Waverider as a Clinical Advisor and has been instrumental representing the providers perspective. Her passion and commitment to helping clients work towards behavioral development goals has informed our thinking behind our behavioral tracker.

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