dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) programs for adolescents and young adults


Treatment Approach

3East specializes 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. DBT has been clinically tested and proven to be effective in adolescents and adults with borderline personality disorder and emerging borderline personality disorder.

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Treatment Philosophy

Stock photoOne of the core principles of DBT is the balance of acceptance and change. 3East provides the treatment in an intensive form to allow for faster skill acquisition. This structure focuses on the reduction or elimination of the behaviors that are dangerous or get in the way of the teenager's or young women's capacity to utilize outpatient treatment, while providing new skill sets to support healthier functioning.

Staff members work to identify issues that may be reinforcing a young person's unhealthy behavior in order to develop individualized treatment plans and contingencies for long-term benefits. The highly trained treatment team uses validation strategies and cognitive behavioral protocols to help teens and young women stay committed to treatment as they attempt the challenge of changing ingrained behaviors such as cutting or other types of self-harm.

Levels of Care

To accommodate the growing needs for DBT services for adolescents, 3East now offers several levels of individualized care:

Program Components

Treatment components at 3East include classroom-based, DBT skills groups, individual DBT, group therapy, skills coaching, and parent guidance. Additional treatment components, at the residential level of care, consist of case management, medication evaluation and management, milieu therapy and recreational therapies.

Other features unique to the residential program include an all DBT-trained staff and a female-only population. Throughout each level of care, groups are kept to an intimate size. These benefits, and others, contribute to each person's sustained improvement.

Assessment and Evaluation

Patients receive a thorough evaluation by a highly specialized clinician in consultation with the 3East 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 in the following areas: eating disorders, neurology, trauma, medication evaluation and management, educational testing, and attention deficit disorder. Following the initial consultation, a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and clinical support staff develop an individualized treatment plan.