The International OCD Foundation’s Behavior Therapy Training Institute:
A One-of-a-Kind Continuing Education Opportunity for
Mental Health Professionals

By Annette Perot, Ph.D

When is the last time that you participated in a continuing education (CE) program and left saying, “that was the very best CE activity I’ve ever attended?” When is the last time that you felt so grateful for the excellent quality of a CE activity that you immediately joined the organization that held it?

The answer for me is October 2008, when I participated in the International OCD Foundation’s 3-day Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI) held in Chapel Hill, NC. What you need to know is that I don’t say this about every CE activity in which I participate. As a former co-chair of the CE/Program Committee for my state psychological association, I know a thing or two about what makes for a good quality training opportunity. And the BTTI is not your typical CE program.

What may be noteworthy as well is that I didn’t come to the BTTI as a novice in treating OCD. Having worked for the past 14 years in a practice specializing in anxiety disorders, I have worked with hundreds of adults with OCD and related disorders. It says volumes about the BTTI that an experienced clinician like myself could leave with such a beneficial experience.

One of the positive aspects of the BTTI is that it is limited to a small group of 30 professionals. I appreciate how this enabled us to get to know one another to a greater degree, and begin to form collegial connections that I hope will continue to extend beyond that weekend. In addition, the 3-day format allowed time to cover not only the basics of OCD treatment, but also the more complex issues and challenges in working with this population. The balance of video footage and case examples, along with educational information, also really helped us to see the concepts come to life.

But wait there’s more! The third day of the BTTI focused on small group case consultation, with each participant having prepared a case ahead of time. Rarely do we have such an opportunity to get individual feedback from an expert in the field; that opportunity extends beyond the BTTI, as participants receive three additional phone consults with their group leader regarding their case following the BTTI weekend.

Undoubtedly, my most convincing reason for enthusiasm is my experience of change following the BTTI. After all, aside from a need to earn CEUs, isn’t that what each of us is seeking anyway?  It has been two months since the BTTI, and I continue to see ways in which I am working differently with my clients, whether it is in how I explain the model for treatment, assist in exposure work, or help a client work through stuck points in treatment. I only wish I had process research to empirically support my feelings. For now you will just have to take my word for it. Hopefully you will participate in a future BTTI and experience it all for yourself.  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Dr. Perot is a licensed psychologist with the Anxiety Disorders Treatment Center in Chapel Hill and Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Perot specializes in working with adults with anxiety disorders, including OCD and related disorders. In addition, she is currently president of the North Carolina Psychological Association, and past co-chair of NCPA’s Program/CE Committee. She can be reached at perot@email.unc.edu.

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