The WOKE Program provides evidence-based, early intervention for young people and their parents struggling with problems associated with emotion regulation difficulties and at risk of developing borderline personality disorder. The 14-week Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) based program provides assessment, pre-treatment, concurrent individual therapy, and skills group training for young people; and skills group training and concurrent individual therapy for parents. Delivered by clinical psychology students at the University of Canberra, it provides training for the future workforce in provision of evidence-based practice for youth with complex issues. The Program is committed to providing access to a free, evidence-based service to young people and their families in the ACT region, delivering excellent participant outcomes since commencing in 2019.
The WOKE Program was developed to address a major service gap in the ACT by providing early intervention for young people experiencing social/emotional problems and vulnerable to developing borderline personality dis order (BPD). This is a well-acknowledged treatment gap and area of major need for young people and their families in ACT.
WOKE is strongly evidence-based in two ways:
- the foundational DBT approach has the strongest evidence for young people with emotional dysregulation
- a robust research evaluation framework was implemented alongside the Program to determine effectiveness of the adaptations. This comprised analysis of key change and outcome measures before, during, post, and follow-up, and interviews to derive rich qualitative information about the experiences of young people, parents, and the student clinicians.
WOKE has led to improved practice with young people by providing: a much-needed referral option for the ACT, a highly effective intervention for young people and their parents, and training of a skilled workforce ready to work with critical mental health concerns for young people.