McLean Hospital 115 Mill Street Belmont, MA 02478
McLean’s adolescent dialectical behavior therapy programs, collectively known as 3East, provide specialized care for teens and young adults who require treatment for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and emerging borderline personality disorder (BPD). Symptoms of these conditions include suicidal thoughts and behavior, self-injury (such as cutting), disordered eating, drug and alcohol abuse, impulsivity, and significant interpersonal difficulties. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary clinicians have chosen to specialize in working with this patient population and are dedicated to treating young people to address their individual challenges to help them make positive changes in their lives.
To help patients build the skills and strategies they need to work towards recovery, the programs utilize intensive dialectical behavior therapy, known as DBT, to teach individuals how to regulate emotions, tolerate stress, build interpersonal skills, manage attention, and develop self-awareness. DBT has been clinically tested and proven to be effective in borderline personality disorder treatment and depression treatment in adolescents and adults.
“My family appreciates the staff’s caring attention, exceptional devotion, and staunch support of our daughter during a tremendously difficult time. It’s not an exaggeration that McLean saved her life.”– Parent of a former 3East patient
3East is ideal for adolescents and young adults seeking:
The programs in the 3East continuum are specifically designed to accommodate patients in different phases of the treatment and recovery process, from highly focused residential treatment to outpatient care. We have intensive treatment tracks for both boys and girls, and our day program (partial hospital) and outpatient program are coed. Family services are included in all programs. Length of stay, ages accepted, and location vary with each program. As the programs within 3East are self-pay, we do not accept insurance or assist with insurance reimbursement efforts. However, some fees may be recoverable through your insurance provider.
3East is well known for its commitment to working with young people to create tailored treatment plans to meet individualized goals. Our dedicated staff takes the time to get to know patients and their unique set of challenges, working closely with them and their families to address difficulties, build skills, maximize treatment outcomes, and transition successfully to aftercare.
3East is located on McLean’s historic campus in Belmont, Massachusetts, and in nearby Cambridge, and is easily accessible to the greater Boston area and all its medical, psychiatric, and recreational resources. The programs offer a comfortable environment conducive to helping patients focus on their treatment. For our residential patients, accommodations are designed to provide a home-like setting while they are meeting with a member of their care team, participating in group therapy, or spending reflective time alone.
3East in the News:
Read more about 3East’s unique approach to adolescent dialectical behavior therapy.
McLean Hospital researcher Dr. Mary Zanarini is at the forefront of borderline personality disorder research.
Watch Dr. Alan E. Fruzzetti’s webinar on the topic of understanding borderline personality disorder in boys and young men.
Learn more about mental health in boys and young men.
Dr. Michael R. Hollander answers questions on why teens cut and what parents can do to help.
Dr. Blaise Aguirre dispels common myths about borderline personality disorder.
3East provides a continuum of compassionate and tailored care for individuals with symptoms of self-harm, including cutting and other forms of self-injurious behavior, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and impulsivity. Our programs are best suited for those living with conditions such as borderline personality disorder (BPD), depression (including suicidal depression), anxiety, disordered eating, alcohol or drug abuse, and trauma including complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stemming from emotional abuse, sexual abuse, child abuse, or other traumatic experiences. We’re here to make a difference in the lives of teens and young adults from across the country and around the world who live with mental illness.
The programs specialize in intensive dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)—a cognitive-behavioral treatment approach that emphasizes the development of four skill sets: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance. An evidence-based therapy, DBT has been clinically proven to be effective in adolescents and adults with borderline and related personality disorders, along with other co-occurring disorders.
One of the core principles of DBT is the balance of acceptance and change. 3East’s intensive treatment provides the structure to help individuals acquire the skills they need to reduce or eliminate behaviors that are dangerous or are hindrances to self-growth and healthy functioning. Our expert clinicians use validation strategies and cognitive behavioral protocols to help teens and young adults stay committed to treatment as they attempt the challenge of changing well-established behaviors, like cutting or other types of self-harm.
Upon admission to each program, patients receive a thorough evaluation by a highly specialized clinician in consultation with the program medical director. The evaluation may entail discussion of both short- and long-term medication treatment options, preferred therapy modalities, family interventions, transitional care planning, and educational recommendations.
If needed, additional specialty consultations are available for eating disorders, neurology, trauma, educational testing, and attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD). Following the initial consultations, a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and clinical support staff works to identify issues that may support or reinforce a patient’s unhealthy behaviors, factors that may get in the way of more healthy and adaptive behaviors, and consider the individual’s history, personal circumstances, and diagnoses to develop a customized treatment plan for long-term growth.
Components of each program include mindfulness practice, classroom-based DBT skills groups, individual DBT, group therapy, skills coaching, and guidance for parents. At the residential level of care, we also provide case management, medication evaluation and management, milieu therapy, and recreational therapies including yoga, art, music groups, and additional services for parents.
In addition to DBT, the programs also utilize DBT+prolonged exposure (DBT+PE)—an evidence-based therapy that has increasingly become the gold standard treatment for anxiety disorders and trauma. This approach exposes patients to the thoughts, memories, emotions, and settings related to specific traumas, fears, or invalidation and helps them learn to safely re-experience what they had been avoiding until the symptoms begin to diminish. Over time, patients will learn to effectively manage their fears and anxieties, and their symptoms will reduce in intensity.
At 3East, we strive for a balance of structure and flexibility so that our programs are well-rounded and can provide opportunities for individuals to incorporate their new skills into everyday activities. We organize short excursions to bookstores, craft stores, and restaurants, as well as to outdoor areas in nice weather.
To accommodate the growing demand for dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) services as well as the broad range of needs of our patients, 3East offers several programs, from intensive residential treatment to more independent residential care to outpatient therapy. Components throughout the continuum of care include intensive DBT treatment, individual and group therapy, mindfulness practice, skills coaching, and parent skills training and guidance.
Located in East House on the grounds of McLean’s Belmont campus, both the 3East Girls Intensive Program and 3East Boys Intensive Program are best suited for adolescents experiencing self-harm, suicidal thoughts and behavior, impulsivity, depression, including suicidal depression, anxiety, disordered eating, alcohol abuse and drug abuse, and trauma/post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), who need concentrated treatment and the 24-hour care of a residential program.
The girls program is appropriate for girls and young women ages 13 to 20, while the boys program is appropriate for boys and young men ages 15 to 21. Residents are immersed in the DBT curriculum to build upon their progress and reach individual goals. Designed to engage patients in their treatment, each day is carefully planned with a combination of individual therapy, classroom-based skills training, focused group therapy, treatment assignments, leisure time, and recreational activities.
Each program has a minimum length of stay which allows the treatment team to determine the most effective way for each patient to address individual challenges and achieve goals. It also provides residents and their family members with the greatest opportunity to learn the strategies necessary to begin integrating new skills into their everyday lives.
For young woman who have completed the intensive program and are still in need of 24-hour care we also offer intensive step-down care. Access to this less-intensive level of care is offered once the treatment team has determined the individual is clinically ready to transition into the program. The length of stay is determined by the care team and is largely based on individual treatment goals.
Aimed at individuals who are motivated to learn and practice DBT skills to manage their symptoms and improve their level of functioning in the community, the 3East Partial Hospital Program is a Monday through Friday day program for young men and women ages 13 to early 20s. The program is best suited for individuals learning DBT for first time and not in need of residential care. It also provides those who have stepped down from the 3East Intensive Programs the opportunity to strengthen their treatment achievements and generalize their skills use. Located on McLean’s Belmont campus, the partial hospital program operates year round, Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 3 pm.
The program, which accepts up to 15 participants at a time, provides an intensive daily treatment structure which allows for faster skill acquisition. We focus on identifying behaviors that may hinder an individual’s capacity to advance to the outpatient treatment setting while teaching new skills that support ongoing healthy functioning.
Program components include DBT skills groups, individual DBT therapy, group therapy, skills coaching, and parent guidance. Our expert clinical team also offers medication consultation, family therapy, and specialized consultations. Groups are kept to a small size, with one-on-one skills coaching readily available.
Our DBT+prolonged exposure (DBT+PE) specialty track provides focused treatment for those suffering from PTSD or trauma. The DBT+PE protocol aims to help patients stop avoidance and instead confront trauma-related thoughts and situations using therapeutic strategies to effectively process the trauma. This track offers a combination of DBT+PE treatment and education sessions to teach participants to successfully utilize their DBT skills. We provide both individualized and group therapy, as well as parent support, strategies, and resources.
The 3East Cambridge Residence is appropriate for teens and young women who would benefit from extended care before returning to live in the community, either with others or on their own. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near to McLean’s main campus, the ten-bed program is designed for women who have already received and benefitted from intensive DBT treatment, at McLean or elsewhere, and have not engaged in self-harm or suicidal behavior in the eight weeks prior to admission. Program participants make an initial three-month commitment but total length of time in the program depends on each individual’s progress and specific set of circumstances.
This community-based residence uses DBT and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) techniques, including an adaptation of DBT called “Accepting the Challenges of Exiting the System,” or DBT-ACES. Residents work to develop an effective balance of self-sufficiency and use of supports while participating in activities outside of mental health treatment, such as employment, academics, and/or volunteering. Clinical social workers, psychiatrists, transition specialists, and milieu staff support residents to progress toward their goals.
The program aims to help residents transition to age appropriate levels of independence and enhance healthy functioning outside the treatment setting. Residents work towards this goal by practicing both general life skills and DBT skills at the residence, in school, and while taking part in program offerings or other approved social, vocational, or educational activities. At this level of care, the clinical team further customizes the resident’s treatment plan to reach additional goals on the path towards recovery.
At the 3East Outpatient Clinic, located at McLean’s Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services in Cambridge, Massachusetts, we provide treatment for adolescents and young adults between the ages of 13 and 22. We specialize in identifying and treating depression and risky behavior that may include suicidal ideation and suicidal thoughts, substance use, disordered eating, risky sexual behavior, and other forms of risk-taking. This coed program provides individual, family, and multi-family group sessions throughout the week.
Program participants make a minimum 20-week commitment. Our treatment approach engages the patient and family in targeting five treatment areas—confusion about self, impulsivity, emotional instability, interpersonal problems, and parent-teen problems. Upon reaching their treatment goals, patients are invited to participate in graduate groups, designed to help maintain accomplishments and provide continued support to teens and young adults as they strive to build a more fulfilling life.
Outpatient services include individual family therapy and weekly multi-family skills groups, weekly individual therapy sessions, and skills coaching for patients and parents to support effective skill use outside of session.
Michael R. Hollander, PhD, Director of Training, 3East Continuum
A nationally recognized expert on the causation and treatment of self-injury, Dr. Hollander travels extensively to lectures and to train clinicians in DBT. He has held numerous positions of clinical leadership at McLean and has treated adolescents and their families for over 40 years.
Gillian C. Galen, PsyD, Program Director, 3East Girls Intensive and Step-Down Programs
Dr. Galen is a senior child and adolescent psychologist specializing in DBT. She has extensive experience diagnosing and treating adolescents and young adults who struggle with emotion dysregulation, anxiety, depression, trauma, and self-endangering behaviors such as self-injury and suicidal behaviors. She has worked closely with Dr. Michael Hollander to develop and run the clinical training program at 3East.
Alan E. Fruzzetti, PhD, Program Director, 3East Boys Intensive Program
Dr. Fruzetti is the director of Family Services within the 3East Continuum at McLean Hospital and an internationally recognized clinician, researcher, and trainer in the areas of DBT, validation, and couples therapy. He has developed multiple successful DBT programs for various clinical populations and families and has authored more than 100 research and clinical papers and book chapters.
Blaise Aguirre, MD, Medical Director, 3East Girls Intensive and Step-Down Programs
Dr. Aguirre is an expert in child, adolescent, and adult psychotherapy including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and medication evaluation and management. He is nationally and internationally recognized for his extensive work in the treatment of mood and personality disorders in adolescents. Dr. Aguirre is the author of several books and lectures regularly in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East on borderline personality disorder and DBT.
John M. Teal Jr., MD, Medical Director, 3East Boys Intensive Program
Dr. Teal has a long standing clinical interest in human behavior, specifically disorders of the personality. His clinical work focuses on the application of behavioral models of the mind in emerging borderline personality disorder in young men along with a more broad application of psychoanalytic models in men and women with neurotic conditions.
Judith Mintz, PhD, Director of Clinical Services, 3East Girls Intensive and Step-Down Programs
As a psychologist and director of clinical services at 3East since the program opened in 2007, Dr. Mintz has developed a specialization in treating young women and girls who experience emotional dysregulation, self-harm, and suicidal behaviors. She has extensive training and experience using several treatment modalities including DBT, family therapy, and treatments for traumatized children.
Benjamin J. Banister, PsyD, Program Director, 3East Cambridge Residence
Dr. Banister is a clinical psychologist and an instructor in psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. While he has experience working with the full scope of mental health issues, his focus is in the treatment of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, and emotional dysregulation.
James A. Jenkins, MD, Medical Director, 3East Cambridge Residence
Dr. Jenkins’ clinical interests include the integration of medication management, milieu treatment, and evidence-based psychotherapies to provide the most comprehensive treatment for those whom prior treatments have failed. His advanced training includes certification and expert supervision in dialectical behavior therapy, mentalization-based therapy, and general psychiatric management.
Peggy Worden, PsyD, Program and Clinical Director, 3East Partial Hospital Program
Dr. Worden is a senior child and adolescent psychologist with 15 years of experience treating adolescents, children, and families. From 2000 to 2009, Dr. Worden was the clinical director of McLean’s Adolescent Acute Residential Treatment Program dual diagnosis unit. In 2009, she partnered with Dr. Michael Hollander and created the 3East Partial Hospital Program.
Julie Van der Feen, MDCM, Medical Director, 3East Partial Hospital Program
Dr. Van der Feen is a senior child and adolescent psychiatrist with 20 years of experience treating adults, adolescents, and children. Her clinical focus is on treating children and adolescents with mood and anxiety disorders, disruptive behavior disorders, personality disorders, substance use disorders, developmental disorders, and learning differences, as well as children coping with chronic medical illness.
Alison M. Yaeger, PsyD, Program Director, 3East Outpatient Clinic
Dr. Yaeger received her PsyD from Yeshiva University in Bronx, New York. While training at Montefiore Medical Center she became interested in borderline personality disorder in adolescence and the correlation this personality style shares with chronic suicidal ideation and self-harming behaviors. Dr. Yaeger specializes in DBT, particularly in the treatment of adolescents and young adults. She has extensive experience treating and supervising the care of high-risk, multi-problem adolescents.
Janna Hobbs, LICSW, Senior Consultant
Ms. Hobbs has extensive clinical and administrative experience in the treatment of adolescents, adults, and families. She has held numerous leadership positions on inpatient units and community residence programs, giving her experience in the assessment and treatment of a wide variety of disorders. Ms. Hobbs primary interests include DBT, milieu treatment, and parent guidance.;
Cynthia S. Kaplan, PhD, Senior Consultant
For over two decades, Dr. Kaplan has focused her clinical work on issues involving trauma and has worked with patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She is editor of a book entitled Helping Your Troubled Teen and co-author of several scholarly articles. Dr. Kaplan speaks locally and around the country on the issue of how to address and design targeted treatments for adolescents with mood and stress-related disorders.
The 3East staff consists of compassionate, multidisciplinary clinicians who have chosen to specialize in working with teenagers and young adults and have extensive experience in teaching DBT skills to individuals with emerging traits of borderline personality disorder and other complex psychiatric diagnoses. Our clinicians have extensive experience working with patients from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds from across the country and around the world.
We take the time to get to know our patients and pride ourselves on the highly specialized and effective treatment we provide to address the varying and often challenging problems presented by this population. Collaborating with family, community-based clinicians, schools, and social service agencies, we work to establish realistic treatment goals and aftercare planning for each adolescent or young adult.
The 3East programs operate within the Simches Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, led by Joseph Gold, MD.
McLean Hospital faculty have penned more than 50 books in recent years, including several titles by members of the 3East staff.
The continuum of care at 3East offers young people the care they need in settings designed to allow them to focus on recovery. All of our programs boast well-appointed treatment areas and serene environments designed with privacy and comfort in mind.
Our Intensive and Intensive Step Down Programs are located in East House on McLean’s historic main campus in Belmont, Massachusetts. The comfortable, dorm-like environment of these residential programs allows our teenage and young adult residents to feel secure and focus on their treatment and well-being.
Single and double bedrooms throughout East House offer plenty of natural light and scenic views of McLean’s tree-lined campus. Residents in our intensive programs can opt for catered meals or order takeout food and can utilize our dining area for communal meals. We also offer a classroom for residents who are ready to devote time to academics while continuing their treatment.
Part of residential treatment is learning to apply new coping strategies to everyday activities. Program outings are arranged on a regular basis, including dining at restaurants or other community activities designed so patients can work on improving social skills.
Located in nearby Cambridge, Massachusetts, the 3East Cambridge Residence is a modern ten-bedroom home-like setting. A modern and spacious kitchen is among the many amenities we offer. Residents can converse over catered or home-cooked dinners in the residence, or as they dine at restaurants in Cambridge. Our location offers proximity to an eclectic mix of museums, music, restaurants, boutiques, and theaters. Easy access to public transportation allows residents to make use of all the resources available in the Greater Boston area. Residents often engage in part-time employment, academics, and/or volunteer activities in the local communities.
Since the 3East residential programs are intensive and highly structured, we make it a priority to schedule time throughout the week for recreational opportunities. We emphasize the importance of creating a healthy balance of activities with time for mindfulness, yoga, and exercise, and opportunities for self-expression through art, crafts, and music.
The 3East continuum of care is designed to provide individualized programs for teens and young adults who have symptoms of self-harm/self-mutilation such as cutting, impulsivity, depression, anxiety, disordered eating, suicidal thoughts and behavior, drug and alcohol abuse, and trauma including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our expert clinicians use intensive dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to help individuals progress through treatment and build the skills and strategies they need to lead stable, meaningful, and productive lives. We accept patients from across the United States and around the world, and can help arrange admission from most domestic or international locations.
Our self-pay programs offer varying levels of care to address the specific needs, diagnoses, and challenges of each of our patients. The programs are specifically designed to provide options for patients at different phases of the treatment and recovery process.
For more information, or to make a referral, please contact:
Sarah Hunt, Admissions Coordinator
3East Outpatient Clinic
We hope to answer your call directly or will return your call/email within one business day.
We work with families and referring clinicians to determine if our programs are an appropriate option for each young person. A preliminary screening is conducted over the phone to gather as much pertinent information as possible and to explain our mission and the specifics of our programs.
Prospective patients and families or referring clinicians seeking partial hospital (day program) care should fill out the 3East Partial Hospital Program Referral Form. Once the form is returned to the program, we can help determine if this is an appropriate option.
As a self-pay program, 3East does not accept insurance or assist with insurance reimbursement efforts.
As clinically indicated:
The 3East programs are primarily on McLean’s Belmont, Massachusetts campus. The 3East Girls and Boys Intensive Programs and Girls Intensive Step-Down Program are located in East House, while the 3East Partial Hospital Program is in the White Building, adjacent to the Academic Center. McLean’s Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services located at Sancta Maria Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is home to the 3East Outpatient Clinic. The 3East Cambridge Residence is also located in nearby Cambridge. For more information on directions, parking, and local accommodations, please visit our Maps & Directions page.
Our programs focus on treating adolescents and young adults, ages 13 to 25, who have symptoms of self-injury, impulsivity, depression, anxiety, disordered eating, emerging personality disorders, substance use disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Family participation is an integral part of treatment at 3East to support both the patient and also the family members. Families participate in weekly DBT family therapy and we offer weekly two-hour parent skill groups so that parents can learn and practice DBT skills and get support from other parents.
3East discourages smoking and is not allowed in some programs. Check with program staff for details on smoking policies in each program.
Smoking is allowed in designated outdoor areas only. No smoking is allowed inside any of our buildings.
Visits to the residential programs are typically arranged Monday through Friday 4-9 pm and on weekends throughout the day. Visits and passes are arranged through the patient’s therapist.
Cell phone usage is part of the behavioral level system. Typically, patients become eligible for limited access to their cell phones after the first few weeks of treatment, depending on their treatment course and DBT skill level. Access ranges from two 15-minute periods to full access, depending on progression through the behavioral level system.
Privacy is of the utmost importance to 3East and we ensure confidentiality through our highly trained, professional, and discreet staff. No third party, whether known to the patient or not, has access to medical records, health information, or any program participation without prior, written authorization from the patient.
While our priority is treatment, we recognize the importance of education. Typically, after the initial phase of residential treatment some patients may be able to manage focusing on schoolwork after the completion of the clinical day. If it is consistent with a patient’s ongoing treatment plan, program staff works with the adolescent’s school and family to develop a realistic academic plan that may be implemented during treatment. This may involve program staff helping families identify private tutors who can work with their child while at 3East.
From helpful online resources to self-help groups and more, McLean Hospital is committed to providing support and mental health education to aid patients and families on the path to recovery.
The treatment team works closely with the individual as well as with family, significant friends, and outside providers to develop a personalized aftercare plan. Recommendations by staff are made based upon clinical needs, progress made during treatment, and long-term treatment goals.
All requests for medical records should be directed to McLean’s Health Information Management Department.
To complement our programs’ services and encourage individuals’ initiatives in their own treatment course, many self-help groups are hosted by McLean.
McLean is dedicated to maintaining high-quality and effective patient care. To ensure that those standards remain at the highest level, we utilize a number of feedback instruments and quality indicators. Among these tools are the Perceptions of Care survey which monitors patient satisfaction, and BASIS-24™, a psychiatric outcomes measurement tool created at McLean and widely used in the US and around the world, which delivers feedback on the patient care experience.