What is a “Core Competent” Clinician?

All contracted clinicians with the Brief Therapy Institute of Denver meet the 9 Core Competencies in providing integrated care as defined by SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions (CIHS).* Integrated care is the systematic coordination of general and behavioral healthcare. Integrating mental health, substance abuse, and primary care services produces the best outcomes and proves the most effective approach to caring for people with multiple healthcare needs. Look for the  which indicates you are under the care of a core competent clinician.

*The SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions (CIHS) promotes the development of integrated primary and behavioral health services to better address the needs of individuals with mental health and substance use conditions, whether seen in specialty behavioral health or primary care provider settings.


The ability to establish rapport quickly and to communicate effectively with consumers of healthcare, their family members and other providers. Examples include: active listening; conveying information in a jargon-free, non-judgmental manner; using terminology common to the setting in which care is delivered; and adapting to the preferred mode of communication of the consumers and families served.
The ability to function effectively as a member of an inter-professional team that includes behavioral health and primary care providers, consumers and family members. Examples include: understanding and valuing the roles and responsibilities of other team members, expressing professional opinions and resolving differences of opinion quickly, providing and seeking consultation, and fostering shared decision-making.
The ability to conduct brief, evidence-based and developmentally appropriate screening and to conduct or arrange for more detailed assessments when indicated. Examples include screening and assessment for: risky, harmful or dependent use of substances; cognitive impairment; mental health problems; behaviors that compromise health; harm to self or others; and abuse, neglect, and domestic violence.
The ability to create and implement integrated care plans, ensuring access to an array of linked services, and the exchange of information among consumers, family members, and providers. Examples include: assisting in the development of care plans, whole health, and wellness recovery plans; matching the type and intensity of services to consumers’ needs; providing patient navigation services; and implementing disease management programs.
The ability to provide a range of brief, focused prevention, treatment and recovery services, as well as longer-term treatment and support for consumers with persistent illnesses. Examples include: motivational interventions, health promotion and wellness services, health education, crisis intervention, brief treatments for mental health and substance use problems, and medication assisted treatments.
The ability to provide services that are relevant to the culture of the consumer and their family. Examples include: identifying and addressing disparities in healthcare access and quality, adapting services to language preferences and cultural norms, and promoting diversity among the providers working in interprofessional teams.
The ability to function effectively within the organizational and financial structures of the local system of healthcare. Examples include: understanding and educating consumers about healthcare benefits, navigating utilization management processes, and adjusting the delivery of care to emerging healthcare reforms.
The ability to assess and continually improve the services delivered as an individual provider and as an inter-professional team. Examples include: identifying and implementing evidence-based practices, assessing treatment fidelity, measuring consumer satisfaction and healthcare outcomes, recognizing and rapidly addressing errors in care, and collaborating with other team members on service improvement.
The ability to use information technology to support and improve integrated healthcare.
Examples include: using electronic health records efficiently and effectively; employing computer and web-based screening, assessment, and intervention tools; utilizing telehealth applications; and safeguarding privacy and confidentiality.


How can therapy help me?

A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, grief, stress management, addiction and other life challenges.  Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems.

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.

Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?

People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy.   Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well.  Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks.  Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods.  Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life.   In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.

What is therapy like?

Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual.  Solution-focused therapy interventions include goal setting, looking at times when things are better, exceptions to problems, scaling symptoms and progress throughout the therapy process, skill building and identifying strengths and resources to be used to assist in reaching your goals.
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process.  The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life.  Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.

Do you take insurance, and how does that work?

To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them.  Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers.  Some helpful questions you can ask them:
  • What are my mental health benefits?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
  • How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?

Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?

Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist’s office.   Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone.  This is called “Informed Consent”.  Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.


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