Innovative Program Addresses Therapist Shortage And Supports Career Advancement



Therapist Shortage

As awareness surrounding the importance of mental health continues to grow, behavioral health providers are experiencing a therapist shortage. This increased demand underscores the need for licensed professionals to meet the rising mental health challenges.

Laura Gilbow, a dedicated medical social worker with a master’s degree in social work, has always been passionate about helping patients and their families at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka. While she found her work rewarding, she felt the desire to delve deeper into the issues her patients faced.

“At the hospital, you assist patients during their three or four-day stay, helping them stabilize and transition to their next phase. However, there wasn’t enough time to truly explore and address underlying issues,” she explained. Motivated to do more, Gilbow decided to pursue a clinical therapist license to broaden her skills and knowledge.

Program To Tackle Therapist Shortage Condition

Stormont Vail Hospital offered an invaluable program that supports professionals like Gilbow in obtaining their clinical therapist licenses. According to Matt Dittmer, the Behavioral Health Therapist Supervisor, this initiative is geared towards employees with master’s degrees, most commonly in social work or psychology.

“We like to cultivate our own talent within the organization,” Dittmer emphasized. “These professionals already possess valuable experience in supporting families and individuals.

Our program takes their capabilities a step further, focusing on implementing theoretical practices like cognitive behavior therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy.”

Obtaining a clinical therapist license necessitates a specific number of face-to-face hours with clients, guided by a licensed therapist, along with group therapy supervision.

Typically, this process would require individuals to pay for a therapist’s supervision and potentially work additional hours alongside their full-time job. However, Stormont’s program stands out as it allows participants to complete these requirements during their regular working hours, at no additional cost.

This innovative approach not only benefits individuals like Gilbow but also addresses the growing need for qualified therapists in the field of behavioral health. With mental health concerns on the rise, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s far-reaching effects, having a pool of licensed therapists is essential to meet the increasing demand for mental health services.

The program’s emphasis on “growing their own” talent highlights the organization’s commitment to nurturing and developing the skills of their existing staff. It recognizes that professionals with master’s degrees in related fields possess a solid foundation in helping individuals and families cope with various challenges.

By further honing these skills and integrating evidence-based therapeutic approaches, these professionals can offer even more effective support to their clients.

For Laura Gilbow and others like her, this program is a game-changer. It not only facilitates personal and professional growth but also serves as a testament to the organization’s dedication to enhancing mental health services.

As the need for mental health support continues to escalate, innovative initiatives like Stormont’s program are essential in ensuring that individuals and families receive the high-quality care they deserve.

Ultimately, the integration of more licensed therapists into the behavioral health field will help bridge the gap between demand and supply, ensuring that those seeking assistance for mental health concerns receive timely and effective support.

This forward-thinking approach is a testament to the importance of investing in the development of healthcare professionals and the ongoing commitment to improving mental health services for all.

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