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PAU-Thailand Training Exchange

Sharing expertise and support strategies to improve training and access to mental health services.


In Thailand, mental health care has been integrated into primary health care by Thailand's Mental Health Department for many years, yet Thailand's primary health care doctors have limited training and interaction with mental health services.


As part of an initiative to train psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health care workers in evidence-based procedures and promote national adherence to national clinical guidelines and standards of care, the Thailand National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) invited Dr. Robert D. Friedberg to present a three-day workshop entitled, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for the Busy Child Psychiatrist and Other Mental Health Professionals.


The workshop, which took place in April 2015, was coordinated by academic child psychiatrists Dr. June Chosita and Sirirat Ularntinon of Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health. The 120 attendees included the vice-directors of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division of Thailand's NIMH, vice-minister of the Education Ministry, academic clinicians from the country’s most prestigious universities, clinical directors of well-known psychiatric/general hospitals, clinics and agencies, as well as community practitioners from Thailand’s provinces.


During the three-day workshop, the participants learned CBT conceptualization, advanced approaches for treat-to-target monitoring, and basics of modular CBT with youth. Content of the workshop was based on the seminal text Clinical Practice of Cognitive Therapy with Children and Adolescents (2nd edition, 2015) co-authored by Friedberg and Jessica M. McClure, Psy.D., and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the Busy Child Psychiatrist and Other Mental Health Professionals (Friedberg et al., 2011).


Thailand's integration of mental health care and primary care has important implications for U.S. practitioners as behavioral health care becomes more fully integrated with primary care in Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH). In October 2015, three child psychiatrists from Thailand were visiting scholars at the Center for the Study and Treatment of Anxious Youth in Palo Alto, which Dr. Friedberg directs. They spent a month working with Dr. Friedberg to train lab members in integrated primary behavioral health care for pediatric populations.

Robert Friedberg with Vice-Ministers of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division of Thailand NIMH, Vice-Minister of Education Ministry, Dr. Chosita and Dr. Ularntinon and other conference attendees in Bangkok.

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