Amy Eisenman's picture

Last Thursday our team flew to the windy city, Chicago, IL, and attended the 20th Annual International Society for the Improvement and Teaching of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (ISITDBT) Conference. ISITDBT provides our team the opportunity to meet with other DBT clinicians from around the world - yes, world - to fine tune our clinical DBT skills and hear about the newest research which proves how effective our dear DBT can be. It is truly a whirlwind of 24 hours packed with so much information that I'm not quite sure how to "recap" everything presented to us.

Like last year, Lynn McFarr, Ph.D. chaired the event and ensured each moment was full of enriching material and knowlege which each clinician could carry home to their own DBT teams and clients. This even included the annual sing along by Dr. Charlie Swenson with a special dance appearance by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., ABPP herself! (If you don't believe me, email me and I'll be sure to send you some video.) DBT clinicians like to have fun - no joke! - and we're certainly not going to let a conference stop us from doing that.

The break out sessions were priceless. I spent my time learning about TIBs, therapy interferring behaviors, and admitted to my own behaviors which can interfere with therapy. This certainly takes some humility as a therapist because I feel like I am expected to be "perfect" and "on my A game" 100% of the time. Truth be told, I mess up just like anyone else, and this does include messing up during therapy sessions and phone coaching calls. I'm excited to get the opportunity to chain myself in session with a client and to work on decreasing my behaviors so I may more effectively assist my clients in reaching their goals.

My biggest take away during the day was the clinical seminar by Alan Fruzzetti, Ph.D.. Dr. Fruzzetti's name is quite popular in the field and he has won the DBT Research award to honor the reserach he has done. He spent time during ISITDBT discussing the team perspective of DBT, one that is a necessity to the practice of DBT. Afterall, its not really DBT unless there is a consultation team! Dr. Fruzzetti discussed structure, polarization, observing your colleagues through video taping (talk about making my anxiety peak!), giving feedback and strengthening the DBT team. Since Peachtree DBT started in 2011 we have ensured that consultation team is a part of our weekly schedule. Each year after ISITDBT we make tweaks and changes to our team to ensure we're being as effective as possible during our 90minutes of "therapy for the therapist." This year was certainly not any different and I'm so excited to see each Monday how these tweaks and changes will ensure effectiveness and strengthen our team dynamic. We will be engaging in interactive mindfulness activities, attempt to be as nonjudgmental as possible, and ensure we're video taping sessions to share in team - even if that means our anxiety goes up because of it.

In team we make ourselves vulnerable to our fellow teammates. We provide ourselves with an opportunity to learn how to be better therapists and how to get out of our own way at times. We strive to be the best we can be in that moment and recognize that we also need to work harder and try harder (do you hear some DBT assumptions in there?!). Being a part of a consultation team allows us to accomplish all of these things and I am so grateful for that each week.

Thank you to Lynn McFarr and her team for putting together another successful ISITDBT! We will see you again next year in New York! Also, a huge shout out to my own team for helping me every day be the best I can be for my clients. You push me to do better and try harder and I am so grateful for that and honored to work with each of you!