The Road to TBC for CBT

– From Nancy Gordon, Founder 

My interest in mental health issues actually began when I was in High School where I volunteered with the State Psychiatric Hospital and with a Crisis Call-in Center.  This is where I learned that I wanted to help people who were struggling with mental illness. My quest to provide exceptional, quality mental health care started with the phenomenal training I received during my MSW education and internships at U. Denver, Simmons and McLean Hospital in 1983-1985.  There, I was exposed to the best clinical education, and cutting edge programs and supervisors.  For the next 20 years I had the good fortune to be able to continue to grow professionally while at the Brattleboro Retreat working alongside some of the most remarkable doctors, social workers and psychologists I’ve ever met.  Due to the liberal continuing education funding we were allowed, and because the Retreat was a renowned center for providing continuing education programs I was privy to be able to enhance my learning to a degree that is unmatched by most of my peers.  In 1996 I attended a one-day orientation to Dialectical Behavior Therapy that was being provided in an adolescent state-run program in Massachusetts.  At that time, I was Clinical Director of a large adolescent residential program and frankly, we weren’t having as much success as I would have liked with the treatment we were providing.  Well, I was hooked.  It was clear to me that not only was this treatment model effective, but it also matched my philosophy, style and beliefs.  It took me 2 years to convince the administration that it would be worthwhile to pay the thousands of dollars to train a team but we finally got approval and 6 of us set out for the Intensive Training in DBT, finishing in 1998.  This was early on in the dissemination of DBT (Marsha Linehan had just published her books in 1993) and I started one of the first adolescent DBT programs in the country.  I am proud to say that the DBT program at the Brattleboro Retreat continues to this day.

In 2005 I was recruited to the Tampa Bay area to manage a large child and adolescent State Inpatient Psychiatric Program.  My professional journey to Florida was, let’s say challenging.  It was clear to me that the clinical knowledge and advances that were more prevalent in New England were slower to come to Florida. Hardly anyone knew anything about evidence-based treatment or DBT so I started my campaign to educate and implement DBT and other evidence-based treatments here.  I implemented DBT programs, provided workshops and trained staff in every setting I’ve managed since moving to Florida, (the SIPP program, a program for incarcerated girls, and a community mental health center).  Finally, in 2010 I decided the time was right for me to launch my own program and I started Tampa Bay Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Inc.   We have grown to a staff of 5 therapists and 3 graduate students, have expanded beyond just DBT and now provide all kinds of models of evidence-based practices, supervision, workshops and trainings.  We are the first DBT program in the state to have a DBT®-Linehan Board Certified Clinician, are working towards program certification, and are a training center for those who want to learn evidence-based treatment.  And the best thing……………we are continuing to learn!!!!   I and my staff attend and participate in research and continuing education from some of the top trainers in the country in order to provide our clients the highest quality of care that is available.   Thank you for allowing me to share my journey and I invite you to read more on my website, and  join us on this quest….to receive or provide exceptional quality evidence-based mental health care to consumers and their families.