Reimagining Certification: Changes for 2016

DTI is committed to making our program more accessible to all doulas. Over these past five years, we’ve taught dozens of trainings across 13 cities and learned innumerable lessons along the way. We’re excited to announce changes in our training and certification process that will make training with DTI more compatible with a busy lifestyle and will strengthen the community that makes DTI so unique and powerful.

DTI Group Photo

Doulas need doulas to thrive.

Mentorship is at the heart of DTI. Hundreds of doulas have trained with us, each one led on their way by a mentor. As we have grown, so has the collective wisdom of DTI doulas. Our tribe embodies an uncommonly rich diversity of region, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, childbearing status, income level, education, religion and interests, united by our shared calling to doula work. As a progressive organization, we value the diversity of our community and feel passionate about creating a safe environment that is inclusive for all doulas.

We’ve seen that it’s time for a radical shift and are excited to share with you a new model of mentorship based on community.  Starting in 2016, all certifying doulas will enjoy a triad of mentorship.

Our first component is an online community for all Certifying DTI Doulas across trainings. Here, all doulas on their nine-month certification journey will be able to share tips and ask for guidance about the process. Trainees from different regions will have the chance to connect. Those that were brand new not so long ago will soon find themselves as leaders. Our DTI Founders Aimee Brill, Gina Giordano and Tara Brooke will keep a close eye on this group, continuing and strengthening the relationships forged at trainings.

In addition to the Certifying DTI Doulas community, trainees will be invited to actively participate in the online DTI Doula community. Already a source of wisdom and strength, we anticipate an even more powerful conversation as we direct our newest doulas’ questions to the group and encourage everyone to answer. We learn best when we learn as a community, sharing information and insights and embracing different perspectives.

Finally, each month, a DTI Educator or field expert will host a Question and Answer video call. All certifying doulas are invited to participate. Over the course of an hour, the host will field questions from the group. Many aspects of the training process and doula work itself are complex and not always easy to discuss with the written word. These group calls afford our doulas the chance to talk through our challenges out loud and learn collectively.

 

A first-rate foundation.

A thorough knowledge of childbirth and breastfeeding underpins the many structures of support a doula offers: advocacy, reassurance, education, comfort, motivation and more. Up to this point, our five-day program has kicked off with a day of Childbirth and Breastfeeding Education. Time and again, we hear how much our doulas value this segment of training, and time and again, we see the frenzy of note-taking and “could you repeat that?” that accompanies these sessions. It’s time for an approach that gives our doulas the first-rate education they need at the pace that’s right for the individual.

As of 2016, the Childbirth and Breastfeeding Education component of our trainings will be a two-part video course that all participants will watch in advance of their intensive. In accordance, our trainings will shorten from five to four days, giving the added benefit of making our trainings easier to fit into our aspiring doulas’ busy schedules. We anticipate even higher engagement and energy during each intensive as doulas enter in already brimming with both knowledge and questions.

In order to provide the same first-rate education we offer now, we’ve partnered with Plumtree Baby to produce a series of professional videos featuring high quality graphics and production. Founded within weeks of each other, DTI and Plumtree Baby have a longstanding friendship that has helped each company grow to become an industry leader. We’re confident that this partnership will create best-in-class Childbirth and Breastfeeding Education content that our doulas will love.

 

A lifetime of education begins with a nine-month journey.

Already a favorite among our certifying doulas, Video Classes will have an even bigger role in our trainings 2016 and onward. DTI’s one-time, lifetime certification is based on the principle that those drawn to an active career in birth work naturally seek out ongoing education. Our nine-month format is long enough to foster the participation in and valuing of further professional development that makes us confident that our doulas will grow and stay informed throughout their careers. Our new format will expand our Video Class offerings, deepening our doulas’ commitment to education.

Taking the form of pre-recorded interviews and mini-seminars available to watch at any time, these hour-long Video Classes cover topics ranging from running a successful business to birth activism, featuring professionals like Sarah Juliusson, Rachel Yellin, Kathi Vallei and Dr. Tara May. We’ll be adding in new content on an ongoing basis to keep our offerings fresh and relevant. Expect a lively online discussion to accompany each Class as we react to and engage with the session.

 

Slow Doula Method™: compassion is radical.

DTI’s Slow Doula Method™ is a transformative approach to doula work and life that forms the core of what it is to be a DTI doula. Beginning in January 2016, our certification program will offer an even more advanced training in this powerful method. By teaching our doulas how to develop mindfulness of self, interpersonal dynamics, and environment, we teach our doulas how to be deliberate and compassionate in their actions. In doing so, our doulas learn how to create change. This individual foundation helps doulas understand themselves and their work in a broader context, empowering large-scale movements for equality and rights in birth and postpartum.

 

Putting it all together.

DTI was founded upon the dream of a tribe of doulas with both an outstanding education and an extraordinary commitment to one another. Our community has blossomed into something beautiful to behold, unique in the veins of love and respect that run through everything we do. We are committed to growth. We are committed to serving our members. We are fierce. We are Doula.

 

Love, DTI

Aimee Brill, Gina Giordano, and Tara Brooke

Aimee, Gina and Tara