I have colleagues to call for informal, peer supervision when I need help with an anxiety or OCD case, and in an online peer group that meets for regular monthly support. This week, however, I will be attending the IOCDF conference in Chicago, and have paid to attend the case consultation session. It is an exciting prospect.
I am in private practice. Conferences offer me a chance to learn the latest research and clinical skills in my specialty area of CBT for anxiety and OCD. Having the opportunity to get case consultation at the conference is a real bonus to me and I hope to the client whose case I will discuss.
I am very aware of how fortunate I am to have a specialty practice that allows me to go to a conference like this, and to get really good quality case consultation. 60% of mental health care in the U.S. is provided by social workers like me. I am one of the few who have specialty training in CBT and there are fewer of us still who have access to case consultation. It’s no wonder the mental health of people in this country is not improving, even though treatment was shown to be effective before Kimberly and I got our training 25 years ago.
The needs of people with mental illness are overwhelming: a 2007 Congressional Research Services report, The U.S. Mental Health Delivery System Infrastructure: A Primer, notes that “11% of adults (23.7 million) in the United States experienced serious psychological distress, such as anxiety and mood disorders, that results in functional impairment that impeded one or more major life activities.” The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that less than half of individuals with serious mental health problems receive treatment.
While these agencies are studying the problem, we who are on the front line delivering care are overwhelmed with the need for services. Here in the Washington, DC area where I practice, I have a 6-month wait for new clients, and that is typical for other therapists. Where Kimberly works, in Erie, PA, she also has a 6-month wait list, and there are no other providers in her area so people have to travel hours to see her.
Masters level clinicians may not have the time or resources to get to a conference for training and case consultation, but we know you want this information. We have heard from many of the people we have trained and who we provided with case consultation, and Kimberly and I designed AnxietyTraining.com for you, whatever your current level of training. We want to help bridge the enormous gap between the needs of people with anxiety, OCD and depression, and the training clinicians are able to access.
This week I am bringing all of you with me to the conference. I will look for what is new and clinically relevant. I’ll look forward showing you new research, new techniques, and new links to resources. I’ll write more next week, but follow us on Twitter @AnxietyTraining to get the latest from the meeting.