CWC

Strong Workforce | Healthy Connecticut

Projects

Higher Education Partnership on Intensive Home-Based Services

Educational Partnerships to Increase Availability of Therapists Skilled in Intensive Home-Based Services

Overview: This project was designed to strengthen graduate training in evidence-based practice and the various models of empirically supported in-home treatments that have been broadly disseminated across Connecticut. The project included the development and implementation of a full semester curriculum for graduate students in social work, psychology, marriage and family therapy and counseling, and a faculty fellowship to train professors to effectively teach the course. 

Need: Over the past decade, Connecticut has invested significant resources to develop a continuum of empirically supported treatment programs to assist families in addressing the needs of youth with serious psychiatric, behavioral and/or substance abuse concerns while maintaining them in their communities. The state has also invested in several research-based intensive in-home treatment programs designed to address parental substance use. As a result, over 350 in-home clinician positions were created. Despite the growing emphasis on evidence-based treatment approaches and in-home service delivery, Connecticut provider agencies are continuously challenged in finding interested and well prepared clinicians to do this work. Providers regularly observed that despite the large number of behavioral health graduate training programs in Connecticut and neighboring states, graduates entering the workforce had no knowledge of the specific treatment models in practice, and typically lacked a solid grounding in the fundamental concepts of evidence-based practice and in-home family treatment.

Objectives:

  1. To increase knowledge of and interest in evidence-based and promising practice models of in-home family treatment among faculty and graduate students in graduate programs of social work, marriage and family therapy, counseling and psychology, and to connect faculty and students to provider organizations that deliver these types of services.
  2. To increase the capacity of graduate training programs serving as the pipeline for Connecticut’s behavioral health workforce to offer innovative course work that provides an accurate representation of the different in-home treatment models, exposure to some of the treatment tools utilized within the models, and a review of the competencies shared by these models.

 Activities: The curriculum developed as part of this initiative is titled Current Trends in Family Intervention: Evidence-Based and Promising Practice Models of In-Home Treatment in Connecticut. It was developed and implemented by Wheeler Clinic in collaboration with developers of the in-home models, consultants on these models, provider agencies that deliver the models, and family members who had received one of the in-home treatments. The curriculum was designed to provide an overview of evidence-based practice and to introduce students to several specific empirically supported treatment programs in use within Connecticut including: Multisystemic Therapy (MST), Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT), Functional Family Therapy (FFT), Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT), and Intensive In-Home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services (IICAPS). A comprehensive Instructors’ Toolkit was created, offering everything necessary to implement a full semester course including: power point lectures, discussion guides, suggested readings, skill-building activities, exam questions and semester assignments. A faculty fellowship was developed to provide professors with more in-depth training about the different models and how to use the curriculum tools effectively. As part of the course design, providers of the different models were invited into the classroom to talk about their experiences with the specific in-home treatment paradigm. Families that had received services through one of the models were also recruited to assist in the classroom to educate graduate students about the models and practical strategies for engaging families. Following the implementation of the first edition of the curriculum, feedback from faculty fellows, students, and guest presenters was utilized to revise the curriculum and to enhance the teaching tools.

Results: Since the development of the Current Trends in Family Intervention curriculum in the fall of 2008, 17 professors have been trained in the curriculum and 11 graduate training programs have offered the course one or more times. As of May 2011, the full semester 3-credit course had been offered 17 times to over 250 graduate students. In each of the course offerings, 3 to5 clinicians representing different models, plus panels of 1-3 parents have talked in the classroom about their experiences delivering and receiving the models to reinforce the skill set necessary to effectively support and engage families in treatment.

Current Status: The course has been integrated as required curriculum for all students in two graduate programs, and has been officially incorporated as part of regularly offered electives in six other programs that have already delivered the course two or more times with increasing enrollment. One program with a smaller number of students in the program intends to offer the course as an elective in alternating years. Three programs have incorporated curriculum content into other courses on family intervention. Connections have been made between faculty and providers to facilitate guest presenters, and a video of a family panel is being developed in order to ensure continued inclusion within the classroom of the families’ voice. Feedback from all stakeholder groups indicates positive impact of the course. Students have given the course high satisfaction ratings. Providers have reported hiring candidates who have completed the course. Some in-home programs’ new staff members have indicated that the course interested them in this work. Delivery of this curriculum is continuing beyond the Mental Health Transformation grant, evidenced by programs having adopted the course, faculty members having been trained to deliver it, and providers being engaged to participate in future offerings.

 

 

Contact Information

Project Leader:
Elisabeth Cannata, Ph.D.
Wheeler Clinic, Inc.
91 Northwest Drive
Plainville, CT 06062
ecannata@wheelerclinic.org

T: (888) 793-3500
F: (860) 793-3520