The Incubator Treatment Development Model: The SAFETY Treatment for Suicidal/Self-Harming Youth

Joan R. Asarnow, Jennifer Hughes, Daniel Cohen, Michele Berk, Emily McGrath, Stanley J. Huey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Youths who make suicide attempts or engage in repetitive self-harm are at risk for future suicide attempts and death by suicide or self-harm. This treatment development report focuses on the Safe Alternatives for Teens and Youth (SAFETY) treatment. SAFETY is a 12-week outpatient child and family-centered cognitive-behavioral treatment, informed by dialectical-behavior therapy, and designed to promote safety following a suicide attempt or repeated episodes of self-harm. Previous reports have described results of small open and randomized treatment development trials. Here, we describe our “incubator” treatment development model. Combining scientific rigor with attention to the community context in which treatment is delivered, the incubator model emphasizes laboratory-based treatment development trials and quantitative and qualitative data generated through partnerships with community treatment sites and youth and parent consumers of care. Aims of this approach are to: (1) integrate information from our partners throughout the treatment development process; (2) create a more feasible and easily transportable “youth” and “family” centered treatment; and (3) accelerate the pace with which laboratory-based treatment advances can be incorporated into improvements in community care. We describe our incubator treatment development model and how data generated through our treatment development process and interactions between the laboratory and community teams contributed to the development of the SAFETY treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-197
Number of pages13
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • community partners
  • self-harm
  • self-injury
  • suicide
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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