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What we do

The research in Dr. Neacsiu's lab focuses on developing novel treatments and improving existing psychotherapies for transdiagnostic difficulties with emotions using affective neuroscience, neuro-modulation, psychophysiology and mobile technology.

Affiliations

Training

Upcoming trainings:

  1. Suicide Risk Assessment and Management with Substance Abuse (Wilmington, NC; Nov 6, 2019)

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and it is one of the most difficult problems mental health professionals have to work with. Suicidal behavior (e.g., ideation, communication, self-harm, or attempts) affects over 40% of those who report substance use disorders. Therefore, for those who work with SUDs, a thorough understanding of how to assess for risk as well as how to intervene when suicidal behavior occurs is crucial. The aim of this course is to learn updated information about the risk factors that lead to suicide and the interventions that are effective for suicidal behavior in SUDs. The workshop will provide hands on training in assessment of suicide risk and in crisis intervention and management. Participants will be provided with tools that are easy to incorporate in their own practice and that reduce liability and suicide risk in their clientele. Please note that this is an intermediate course in risk assessment and treatment. While this course will increase your familiarity with suicide assessment and treatment techniques, the course is in no way a sufficient or exhaustive training in risk management.

Learning Objectives:

      • Learn the risk factors that lead to suicidal behaviorin SUDs
      • Gain familiarity with research findings about the mechanisms and functions of suicidal behaviorin SUDs
      • Gain exposure to the suicide treatment literaturein SUDs
      • Increase proficiency at conducting suicide risk assessments with SUD outpatients
      • Review principles of crisis intervention
      • Increase proficiency at conducting crisis intervention with a variety of scenarios of suicidal crises
  1. Suicide Risk Assessment and Management (Fayetteville, NC; June 12, 2020)

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States as well as one of the most difficult problems mental health professionals have to handle in their profession. Beyond completed suicides, suicidal behavior is common therefore a thorough understanding of how to assess for risk as well as how to intervene when suicidal behavior occurs is crucial for a mental health practitioner. The aim of this course is to learn updated information about the risk factors that lead to suicide and the interventions that are effective for suicidal behavior. The workshop will provide hands on training in assessment of suicide risk and in crisis intervention and management. Participants will be provided with tools that are easy to incorporate in their own practice and that reduce liability and suicide risk in their clientele. Please note that this is an introductory course in risk assessment and treatment. While this course will increase your familiarity with suicide assessment and treatment techniques, the course is in no way a sufficient or exhaustive training in risk management.

Learning Objectives:

      • Learn the risk factors that lead to suicidal behavior
      • Gain familiarity with research findings about the mechanisms and functions of suicidal behavior
      • Gain exposure to the suicide treatment literature
      • Increase proficiency at conducting suicide risk assessments
      • Learn the principles of crisis intervention
      • Increase proficiency at conducting crisis intervention with a variety of scenarios of suicidal crises

3Cognitive Behavioral Therapies: A Six Month Blended Learning Curriculum (Durham, NC Feb- Aug 2020)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) includes a wide variety of empirically supported behavioral interventions that can be implemented in a relatively brief timeframe when needed (e.g., up to 16 sessions) to clients with a wide variety of different mental health and substance use disorders. Hundreds of clinical trials have been conducted to demonstrate the efficacy of CBTs, with many of these interventions now considered to have strong empirical support as evidence-based interventions. Despite the impressive amount of scientific research done on various CBTs, there are significant challenges to implementing CBTs in community treatment programs, outpatient clinics, and private practices. One major challenge is that many clinicians have limited formal training in CBT. Traditional training workshops rely mostly on in-person classroom didactics, but learning how to do CBTs is complex and requires additional and more extensive training. To address the need to provide a higher level of training in CBT, this new training program developed by Dr. Rosenthal at Duke will use a blended learning curriculum. Blended learning combines traditional in-person training techniques with multimedia technology, resulting in ongoing training and support from academic psychologists specializing in CBT at Duke University, over the course of six months. This course follows the Advanced Track for trainees with more experience in CBTs. The program begins with a 2 day in-person didactic and experiential training. Throughout the next 6 months, trainees will work with training staff through a dedicated website that can enable a diverse range of learning processes and functions. The web-based training includes monthly webinars with multi-media learning tools designed to teach key principles of CBTs. Trainers lead these webinars and training includes video demonstrations depicting elements of CBTs followed by group discussion. Monthly webinar meetings also will provide opportunities for educational consultation around clinical challenges implementing CBT. In addition, the web-based platform will host peer- consultation and support capabilities, and will provide critical resources needed to facilitate hands-on learning of key elements of CBTs. The training will conclude with an additional in-person 6 hour training day.

Recently completed workshops:

  1. Neacsiu, A.D. (2019). Suicide Risk Assessment and Management. Workshop presented on September 13th, 2019 at the Rocky Mount Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Rocky Mount, NC.
  2. Neacsiu, A.D. (2019). Fundamentals of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Blended learning. One DayWorkshop presented in February, 2019 in collaboration with South Regional Area Health Education Center (SR-AHEC), Durham, NC. Course followed by 6 monthly webinars and online training (https://www.sraheclearningcenter.org/dukecbt/course/index.php?categoryid=6; February, 2019-August, 2019). Course had a mid-course one day workshop presented in May, 2019 and will end with a one day workshop in August 2019.
  3. Neacsiu, A.D.  (2018). Updates to Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills.Workshop presentedon Aug 29th, 2018 in collaboration with the Southern Regional Area Health Education Center, Durham, NC.
  4. Neacsiu, A.D. (2017-2018). Fundamentals of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Blended learning. Two DayWorkshop presented in October, 2017 in collaboration with South Regional Area Health Education Center (SR-AHEC), Durham, NC. Course followed by 6 monthly webinars and online training (https://www.sraheclearningcenter.org/dukecbt/course/index.php?categoryid=6; November, 2017 – March, 2018). Course ended with a one-day workshop presented in March 2018.
  5. Neacsiu, A.D. (2017). Skills to help clients and therapists manage intense distress. Workshop presented on August 23rd, 2017 in collaboration with the Southern Regional Area Health Education Center, Durham, NC.
  6. Neacsiu, A.D. & Witterholt, S. (2016-2017). Dialectical Behavior Therapy Intensive Training Course by Behavioral Tech LLC (http://behavioraltech.org/training/details.cfm?eid=4889). Workshop presented Dec 5-10, 2016 and May 15-19, 2017 in collaboration with Co-host: Carroll County Youth Service Bureau, Cattonsville, MD.
  7. Neacsiu, A.D. (2016-2017). Fundamentals of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Blended learning. Two DayWorkshop to be presented in October, 2016 in collaboration with Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Charlotte, NC. Course followed by 6 monthly webinars and online training (https://www.sraheclearningcenter.org/dukecbt/course/index.php?categoryid=6; November, 2016 – April, 2017). Course ended with a one day workshop presented in April 2017.
  8. Neacsiu, A.D. (2017). Updates on the Assessment and Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorders. Workshop presented on January 27th, 2016 in collaboration with the Southern Regional Area Health Education Center, Fayetteville, NC.
  9. Neacsiu, A.D. (2016). Suicide Risk Assessment and Management. Workshop presented on November 18th, 2016 at the Greensville Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Greensville, NC.
  10. Neacsiu, A.D. (2016). Updates on the Assessment and Treatment for Personality Disorders. Workshop presented on May 6th, 2016 in collaboration with the Eastern Regional Area Health Education Center, Cherry Point, NC.
  11. Neacsiu, A.D. (2016). Introduction to Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Workshop presented on April 27th& May 18that the Partnership for Children, Fayetteville, NC.
  12. Neacsiu, A.D. (2016). Advanced Training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Blended learning. Two DayWorkshop presented on April 7 & 8, 2016 at Duke University in collaboration with Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Durham, NC. Course followed by 6 monthly webinars and online training (https://www.sraheclearningcenter.org/dukecbt/course/index.php?categoryid=13; April, 2016 – September, 2016). Course to end with a one day workshop to be presented on 10/21/2016.
  13. Neacsiu, A.D. (2015). DBT Skills for Substance Use Disorders. One hour Webinar presented on August 26th, 2015 in collaboration with the Fayetteville Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Fayetteville, NC.
  14. Neacsiu, A.D. (2015). Evidence Based Models for Suicide Prevention and Intervention. Workshop presented on June 10, 2015 for the Sandhills Center MCO, Asheboro, NC.
  15. Neacsiu, A.D. (2015). What to do when the treatment manual is not enough: tools for clinical engagement for challenging adolescents.Three-part blended learning workshop presented on April 29, May 6 and June 7, 2015 for the JJSAMHP/RF Initiative Sandhills Education Center, Greensboro, NC.
  16. Neacsiu, A.D. (2015). Updates to Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training. Workshop presented on March 10 – 11, 2015 at the Fayetteville Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Fayetteville, NC.
  17. Neacsiu, A.D. (2015). An Overview of Suicide Risk Assessment and Management. One hour Webinar presented on January 28th, 2015 in collaboration with the Fayetteville Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Fayetteville, NC.

Available workshops:

  1. What to do when the treatment manual is not enough: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills for common problems with emotions for the complex, multi-diagnostic client (1 day workshop)

Emotion dysregulation has been connected to a variety of mental health disorders including borderline personality disorder (BPD), depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar, eating and substance use disorders. Nevertheless, treatments for many of these disorders provide little information about how to change emotion dysregulation and the presence of this problem complicates evidence based treatments. In this workshop, a framework of assessing and conceptualizing emotion dysregulation transdiagnostically that has been drawn from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) will be presented. Briefly, emotion dysregulation will be defined as either lacking skills or consistently using maladaptive strategies to manage: vulnerability to emotions; situations that cue emotions; attention to or away from emotional stimuli; interpretations; biological, experiential and actions changes during an emotion; and emotion after effects. Next, specific DBT skills that correspond to each type of emotion regulation problem will be taught: managing vulnerability factors, problem solving, mindfulness, checking the facts, changing the body’s chemistry, opposite action, and mindfulness of current emotions. Finally, the application of these skills with a variety of diagnostic presentations will be illustrated and discussed.

  1.  Suicide Risk Assessment and Management (1-2 day workshop)

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States as well as one of the most difficult problems mental health professionals have to handle in their profession. Beyond completed suicides, suicidal behavior is common therefore a thorough understanding of how to assess for risk as well as how to intervene when suicidal behavior occurs is crucial for a mental health practitioner. The aim of this course is to learn updated information about the risk factors that lead to suicide and the interventions that are effective for suicidal behavior. The workshop will provide hands on training in assessment of suicide risk and in crisis intervention and management. Participants will be provided with tools that are easy to incorporate in their own practice and that reduce liability and suicide risk in their clientele. Please note that this is an introductory course in risk assessment and treatment. While this course will increase your familiarity with suicide assessment and treatment techniques, the course is in no way a sufficient or exhaustive training in risk management.

Learning Objectives:

      • Learn the risk factors that lead to suicidal behavior
      • Gain familiarity with research findings about the mechanisms and functions of suicidal behavior
      • Gain exposure to the suicide treatment literature
      • Increase proficiency at conducting suicide risk assessments
      • Learn the principles of crisis intervention
      • Increase proficiency at conducting crisis intervention with a variety of scenarios of suicidal crises
  1. Introduction to Dialectical Behavior Therapy (1-2 day workshop)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive and flexible cognitive-behavioral intervention combining change strategies and acceptance strategies that are commonly encountered in many successful interventions for mental health problems. Through DBT one learns behavioral assessment and strategies, acceptance and validation, communication and case management strategies, problem solving and crisis management and many other principles and techniques that are widely used throughout psychological services.  The ease with which DBT can be used for a variety of problems is demonstrated through the wide array of research studies supporting its use with various populations. DBT has been used with suicidal individuals, adults meeting criteria for substance dependence, adolescents, elderly individuals with depression, adults with eating disorders, oppositional children, victims of domestic abuse, stalking offenders, families of at risk individuals and difficult to manage correctional populations. DBT is used across various clinical environments and is constantly being disseminated and used not only by mental health professionals, but also by members of the community. This course is aimed to be an introduction to DBT topics. The goal is to gain more knowledge about DBT and to learn techniques that can be readily incorporated into your daily practice. Since the aim is to introduce DBT, this course will not offer sufficient training to become a DBT therapist; rather the future steps needed to implement full model DBT into your practice will be presented and discussed.

Learning Objectives:

      • Understand problems with other treatments in treating high risk clinical clients with multiple problems
      • Gain familiarity with the applications of Dialectical Behavior Therapy and the research findings supporting the application of the treatment
      • Learn dialectical philosophy within the context of balancing acceptance and change in treatment
      • Understand how case conceptualization is constructed within the DBT model
      • Learn the structure of a DBT treatment at different levels of application (in session, in team, in an organization)
      • Gain exposure to core DBT strategies and their application (e.g. validation, mindfulness, behavioral methods)
  1. Advanced topics in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (1-5 day workshop)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive and flexible cognitive-behavioral intervention combining change strategies and acceptance strategies that are commonly encountered in many successful interventions for mental health problems. Through DBT one learns behavioral assessment and strategies, acceptance and validation, communication and case management strategies, problem solving and crisis management and many other principles and techniques that are widely used throughout psychological services.  The ease with which DBT can be used for a variety of problems is demonstrated through the wide array of research studies supporting its use with various populations. DBT has been used with suicidal individuals, adults meeting criteria for substance dependence, adolescents, elderly individuals with depression, adults with eating disorders, oppositional children, victims of domestic abuse, stalking offenders, families of at risk individuals and difficult to manage correctional populations. DBT is used across various clinical environments and is constantly being disseminated and used not only by mental health professionals, but also by members of the community. This course is aimed towards participants who have had some exposure to DBT and are interested in learning in more depth DBT strategies and principles. We will cover advanced topics such as validation, chain analysis, secondary targets, reciprocal communication, irreverence, dialectical strategies, and how to address therapy interfering behaviors. The workshop will include experiential practice and feedback in applying these strategies with difficult to treat multi-diagnostic clients.  

5. Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training (1-5 days workshop)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), is an empirically supported treatment for suicide and for borderline personality disorder (BPD). DBT is based on a skills deficit model that views dysfunctional behavior as either a consequence of lacking skills to solve problems or a maladaptive approach to problem solving. Consequently, DBT includes more than 60 concrete skills translated from behavioral research and other evidence-based treatments that are grouped into four modules:  (a) mindfulness skills, which emphasize observing, describing, and participating in the present moment effectively and without judgment; (b) emotion regulation skills, including strategies for changing emotions and for changing the tendency to respond emotionally; (c) interpersonal effectiveness skills, ranging from social skills to assertiveness and interpersonal problem solving; and (d) distress tolerance skills, including strategies to control impulsive actions and to radically accept difficult life events.Evidence suggests that these skills alone are effective in reducing psychopathology in a variety of populations including forensic adults, suicidal adolescents, adults with ADHD, individuals with depression and anxiety, individuals with eating disorders and substance use disorders. This workshop will present all the DBT skills as well as information on how to teach and help your clients apply these skills in common clinical situations.

6. Cognitive Behavioral Therapies: A Special Six Month Blended Learning Curriculum

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) includes a wide variety of empirically supported behavioral interventions that can be implemented in a relatively brief timeframe when needed (e.g., up to 16 sessions) to clients with a wide variety of different mental health and substance use disorders. Hundreds of clinical trials have been conducted to demonstrate the efficacy of CBTs, with many of these interventions now considered to have strong empirical support as evidence-based interventions. Despite the impressive amount of scientific research done on various CBTs, there are significant challenges to implementing CBTs in community treatment programs, outpatient clinics, and private practices. One major challenge is that many clinicians have limited formal training in CBT. Traditional training workshops rely mostly on in-person classroom didactics, but learning how to do CBTs is complex and requires additional and more extensive training. To address the need to provide a higher level of training in CBT, this new training program developed by Dr. Rosenthal at Duke will use a blended learning curriculum. Blended learning combines traditional in-person training techniques with multimedia technology, resulting in ongoing training and support from academic psychologists specializing in CBT at Duke University, over the course of six months. We have 2 versions of this course, a Basic Track for trainees new to behavioral therapies or CBT, and an Advanced Track for trainees with more experience in CBTs. The program begins with a 2 day in-person didactic and experiential training. Throughout the next 6 months, trainees will work with training staff through a dedicated website that can enable a diverse range of learning processes and functions. The web-based training includes monthly webinars with multi-media learning tools designed to teach key principles of CBTs. Trainers lead these webinars and training includes video demonstrations depicting elements of CBTs followed by group discussion. Monthly webinar meetings also will provide opportunities for educational consultation around clinical challenges implementing CBT. In addition, the web-based platform will host peer- consultation and support capabilities, and will provide critical resources needed to facilitate hands-on learning of key elements of CBTs. The training will conclude with an additional in-person 6 hour training day.