Online Program

Adapting DBT: Evidence-based practice in a psychosocial cancer support setting

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

Melissa Lang, DrPH, MPH, MPA, MA, Gilda's Club Westchester, White Plains, NY
Miranda Dold, LCSW, Gilda's Club Westchester, White Plains, NY
Elizabeth Cohn Stuntz, LCSW-R, BCD, Gilda’s Club Westchester, White Plains, NY
Psychosocial support is often unavailable or under-funded and formal mental health services can be prohibitive given cost/time constraints. Time-limited psychosocial interventions to help manage the burden associated with a cancer diagnosis can be effective treatment modalities. This study tests the feasibility of using the skills training of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in a psychosocial cancer treatment setting. DBT is an evidence-based treatment teaching mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation and distress tolerance skills. Given that informal caregivers play an essential role in the delivery of healthcare services (often experiencing psychological, behavioral and physiological effects) in addition to the increasing number of people living with a breast cancer diagnosis, the need for psychosocial services is increasing. Research indicates that emotional support can positively impact quality of life and may also positively influence health outcomes. Two separate six-session interventions were conducted over a four-month time period at Gilda's Club Westchester. Participants were given a self-report instrument to measure the effectiveness of the skills training in relation to their cancer experience. Phase one of this study adapted DBT for informal caregivers to individuals with cancer. The second phase adapted DBT for those with a breast cancer diagnosis. There is limited research adapting DBT in a cancer support setting; results assess the feasibility and compare differences between the two cohorts.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the feasibility of adapting DBT skills training as a psychosocial intervention in a cancer support setting Compare the differences in adapting the DBT modules between the two cohorts: informal caregivers and breast cancer survivors. Analyze the results from the self-report instrument from the two cohorts to evaluate time-limited skills-based training.

Keyword(s): Social Work, Cancer

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the CEO at Gilda’s Club Westchester, an organization that provides psychosocial support to individuals with cancer and their families. I oversee this project; sessions were facilitated by co-presenter Miranda Dold, LCSW who is trained in DBT by Behavioral Tech.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.