What DBT Qualifications do TheraHive Coaches Have?

June 11, 2024
# min read

While licensing and training are important, they do not guarantee high-quality care or education. There are individuals with high-level certifications who may not be effective teachers, while others without formal certifications can excel in teaching DBT skills. So, how can we know that someone is going to be a GREAT coach who will live up to our high standards at TheraHive?

What makes a great coach? There are many factors, but two primary qualities stand out. First, a great coach must know DBT skills inside and out. They must have personal experience using the skills, not just teaching them. This means understanding the individual skills and how they integrate and work together to change behavior and achieve goals. Second, a great coach must be an excellent teacher and group leader. They should create a safe environment for students, moderate discussions effectively, ensure everyone gets a chance to speak, and help students overcome barriers with skills. Finally, they must focus on the skills most important to achieving each student’s specific goals.

We also train our coaches specifically on our curriculum. At TheraHive, we have worked hard to teach DBT skills in a particular way, and our coaches are trained to integrate their live instruction with the self-paced portions of our program. This ensures a cohesive learning experience for our students.

A rigorous approach to coach supervision

At TheraHive, coach supervision is an integral part of maintaining our high standards. Each week, our coaches participate in supervision meetings led by either Dr. Jesse Finkelstein or Dr. Alicia Smart. These meetings provide a platform for coaches to discuss challenges, share successes, and receive guidance on improving their teaching strategies. In addition to these meetings, we collect weekly check-ins from students, which include specific feedback on their coaches. This ongoing feedback is complemented by end-of-module surveys where we ask a comprehensive set of questions to assess the overall effectiveness and satisfaction of the students. We also analyze student outcomes in groups led by different coaches, comparing them to ensure consistency and effectiveness across the board. To further ensure quality, Jesse, Alicia, and our senior coaches periodically audit classes to observe firsthand how the sessions are conducted and to identify any areas for improvement.

DBT skills are general life skills that can benefit anyone—with this context, we don’t think a formal credential is what matters most. We put the greatest emphasis on assessing our coaches in the context where it matters most: the classroom. At TheraHive, our coaches come from diverse backgrounds and possess a range of qualifications. 

Many of our coaches are licensed therapists, but in the context of our program, they operate as coaches because TheraHive is a psychoeducational program, not a therapy service. 

Regardless of whether a coach is licensed in a state or not, they operate under the supervision and guidance of Dr. Alicia Smart, a trained psychologist and Linehan Board Certified Clinician.

Our approach includes having new coaches co-lead sessions with one of our founders to demonstrate their skills. Those who perform well gradually transition into leadership roles. Additionally, we collect regular feedback from students to ensure that coaches meet our standards and measure the outcomes of students working with each coach to assess their effectiveness and consistency with our most experienced coaches.

Following this, we have some coaches who may not be licensed or certified but every coach has a deep understanding and passion for DBT, and a talent for teaching the skills. The proof that our approach is working is in the results that we’ve helped our students achieve. With 96% of students completing modules they start, and 95% reporting an improvement to their mental health we think we’re on the right track and we hope you will be too!

Sign Up for Our Newsletter