The surge of companies venturing into online mental health has revolutionized accessibility. With a decline in the stigma surrounding therapy, especially among the youth, and research proving online sessions are as effective as face-to-face, the future looks brighter. However, wider access means nothing if providers are not adherent to proven protocols. Today, individual therapists often lack supervision or accountability to these protocols, which threatens to throw shade on our progress.
As online mental health care booms and the stigma of therapy declines, how we will ensure adherence to what’s been proven to work? How can clients know if their therapist is providing adherent care? As a student in a group therapy course, how do you make sure your instructors and coaches are teaching you the skills you need to know?
In this post, we’ll outline how we’ve built adherence into our program from the ground up.
TheraHive's Three-Pillars Approach to Ensuring Adherence
At TheraHive we’ve taken a four-pillar approach to ensuring that every aspect of our DBT skills training program adheres to what the research shows to be effective:
- Recorded Material: Instead of relying solely on live sessions, TheraHive uses recorded instructional videos, case studies, and interactive tools to ensure consistent quality.
- Expert Peer Review: Every piece of content undergoes review by TheraHive's co-founders, Dr. Alicia Smart and Dr Jesse Finkelstein
- Session Auditing: To maintain transparency and quality, our carefully structured sessions are regularly audited and reviewed.
- Detailed Structure: Session guides provide clear roadmaps for our coaches so they adhere to best practices in all sessions.
Let’s dive deeper into each of those points:
Pillar One: Rigorously Reviewed Pre-Recorded Content Brings DBT to Life
The pre-recorded content that forms the backbone of our courses is both entertaining and rigorously reviewed. Our two co-founders lean into their strengths — Dr. Jess Finkelstein uses his talents as a visual and curriculum designer and as a DBT researcher to create engaging material. To ensure absolute adherence to the highest standards and best practices, this content is carefully reviewed by Dr. Alicia Smart, who has spent years both teaching these skills and supervising other therapists in the same. Every module is a fusion of rigorous academic understanding and a tangible, on-the-ground therapeutic experience, leading to an education that is consistent, adherent, and impactful — every day!
Pillar Two: Expert Peer Review with TheraHive Co-Founders
TheraHive takes pride in its meticulous content peer review process. Co-founders Dr. Alicia Smart and Dr. Jesse Finkelstein rigorously review the course content that each of them creates. This ensures a two-fold review mechanism, enhancing the adherence and rigor of our content and making sure that nothing slips through the cracks. Let’s briefly meet our founders:
Dr. Alicia Smart:
Clinical Director at TheraHive, Dr. Alicia Smart is a certified clinician from the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification. With expertise ranging from personality disorders and depression to relationship difficulties, Dr. Smart holds a BA from New York University and a Doctorate in Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Dr. Jesse Finkelstein:
A graduate in clinical psychology from Rutgers University, Dr. Jesse Finkelstein is also the creator of "The Game of Real Life", a card game deeply rooted in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and published by Penguin Random House. He’s also a highly skilled designer — as we mentioned above, you’ll enjoy his work in the course videos and materials!
Pillar Three: Session Auditing to Ensure Transparency and Continuous Improvement
TheraHive places a strong emphasis on the quality and adherence of its live sessions. We achieve this in two ways; firstly, we have technology that only records and transcribes what our coaches say in class (and not students) and then our team of psychologists analyzes it to ensure adherence. Second, Dr. Alicia Smart or Dr. Jesse Finkelstein periodically join live sessions to personally coach our coaches.
Going a step beyond auditing, TheraHive has integrated standard assessments into its programs, one of which is the DASS-21 or the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale - 21 Items. This set of three self-report scales is designed to gauge the emotional states of depression, anxiety, and stress, providing real-time data about how our students are using the skills they learn to achieve tangible results.
Pillar Four: Detailed Session Guides Make Sure Every Class Adheres to Standards and Exceeds Expectations
How do you ensure the same quality control that we have with videos and pre-created material in our dynamic live sessions? One pillar is recording and auditing, as we discussed above. The other pillar is that every session is built upon a detailed, carefully thought-out plan. These session guides serve as a roadmap, ensuring that each class not only meets the standards set by our founders, Dr. Alicia Smart and Dr. Jesse Finkelstein, but also consistently exceeds student expectations.
TheraHive session guides fuse tried-and-tested therapeutic practices with the dynamism and spontaneity essential for engaging in real-life scenarios. They ensure that while the core teachings remain adherent, there’s ample room for tailored interactions, making every session resonate with an individual's unique needs and experiences.
Go Above and Beyond, With Us
Other DBT skills groups simply aren't taking the robust measures that TheraHive is to ensure adherence—as educators focused on evidence-based protocols, this is a point of pride for our entire team. TheraHive's approach makes sure that clients receive care adherent to the modality, ensuring a quality experience that you can trust.
Ready to learn with us? Begin your journey here.