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At McLean Hospital, we recognize the challenges children and adolescents with mental health conditions face. Through our Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services, located on the campus of Sancta Maria Nursing Facility in Cambridge, we are focused on helping young people and their families cope with mental illness.
Our outpatient care includes group therapy and medication management through our general clinic and testing via the Child and Adolescent Testing Service (CATS). We also have a number of specialty offerings like the McLean Anxiety Mastery Program and the 3East DBT Outpatient Clinic.
The Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services are ideal for kids and teens who:
Our group and individual therapy options help young people and their families cope with psychiatric illness and the challenges it often brings. Some of these services are primarily available for those who are stepping down from the McLean-Franciscan Child and Adolescent Inpatient Program and the Adolescent Acute Residential Treatment (ART) program. However, there may be openings for other children and adolescents seeking outpatient treatment, subject to the availability of staff.
Our Child and Adolescent Testing Service (CATS) offers evaluations for children, adolescents, and young adults ages 5 to 22 who have neuropsychological and/or psychological difficulties that are interfering with their ability to manage demands at home, at school, and/or with their peer group. CATS was created to more effectively help young people with their unique needs. Through comprehensive testing, our trained staff will gain a thorough understanding of a child. Our professionals can offer expert evaluations and make recommendations for treatment, educational planning, and more.
McLean Anxiety Mastery Program
The McLean Anxiety Mastery Program for anxious youth ages 7 to 19 offers group-based cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) with an emphasis on exposure and response prevention (ERP) for children and adolescents who present with social anxiety, specific phobias, panic attacks, separation anxiety, school refusal, and obsessions and compulsions.
3East DBT Outpatient Clinic
The 3East DBT Outpatient Clinic provides treatment for high-risk adolescents and young adults between the ages of 13 and 22. The program specializes in identifying and treating depression and risky behavior which may include suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, substance use, binging and purging, risky sexual behavior, and other forms of risk-taking.
The Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services provide an initial evaluation that may lead to additional services, such as group therapy, individual therapy, medication evaluation and management, parent guidance and support, psychological testing, and neuropsychiatric testing.
Treatment focuses on the diagnosis of developmental problems and psychiatric illnesses. We work closely with each patient and their family to create personalized treatment plans that may include individual or group sessions, cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and medications when clinically indicated.
Groups help young people develop social and other skills that can directly benefit them at home, at school, and in interpersonal relationships. Group therapy provides adolescents with peer support as well as skills to help them deal with their illness. Membership for each of these sessions requires that the adolescent be in weekly individual therapy.
Mondays 5:30-6:30pm, Thursdays 5:30-6:30pm
This is a 20-week skills group for adolescents ages 14-19 (in high school) and their parents. The program aims to treat adolescents who have particular difficulties managing their strong emotions and who, as a result, engage in self-destructive behaviors. We teach dialectical behavior strategies to adolescents and to their parents. These strategies include five key areas, each designed to promote acceptance and change in people’s lives—distress tolerance, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, mindfulness, and middle path. Our coed program consists of the Adolescent Group, which is covered by most insurance providers, as well as a required self-pay Parent Group, which runs concurrently with its respective teen group. Both the Monday and Thursday sections offer rolling admission whenever openings are available and when the groups are between modules.
Individual therapy ranges from play therapy for younger children to insight-oriented models for older adolescents. Cognitive, behavioral, and medication therapies are applied when needed. Support for parents includes education about their child’s illness and help fostering new parenting skills.
As with McLean’s other outpatient programs, our clinical services are focused on stabilization. Should longer-term treatment be necessary, assistance is provided in finding appropriate community resources.
The Child and Adolescent Testing Service (CATS) offers neuropsychological and psychological testing and evaluations to help young people and their families cope with mental illness at home and at school. CATS is ideal for:
Although our evaluations are “diagnostic,” we also see patients who already have diagnoses, but who still need help with treatment and/or educational planning.
Please note that we are unable to accommodate individuals who are not fluent in English, who have significant sensory or motor difficulties that require specialized testing procedures, or who have autism or moderate to severe pervasive developmental disorder, however we will refer these individuals elsewhere.
The evaluations are made up of four or more parts, including these required elements:
The testing results along with our review of the child’s records inform our recommendations. We share the results via a feedback meeting with parents (and adolescents, if appropriate), as well as in a written report.
A 90-minute feedback meeting will be scheduled for two weeks following the first day of testing so that our evaluation coordinator can talk with parents and guardians about the child’s testing results. The goals of the meeting include using the testing information to address specific concerns and questions, talking about diagnostic conclusions, specifically addressing the educational implications of the results, discussing educational recommendations (such as parent education), and reviewing recommendations about next steps.
If we determine that it is important for an adolescent to have a separate feedback meeting, this will be arranged as well, and is included in the cost of the evaluation.
Parents and guardians receive a written report by mail, approximately a month after the feedback meeting. The report includes information about the testing administered, how the child performed, and conclusions and recommendations for the child, the child’s school, and the professionals with whom the child works.
McLean’s Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services are ideal for children and teens with mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, OCD, phobias, and bipolar disorder.
In addition, our testing service benefits children, adolescents, and college students who are experiencing difficulties in educational, home, or social settings due to the impact of difficulties that are neuropsychological (executive functioning challenges, head injury, concussion), learning-based (dyslexia, language-based learning disability, nonverbal learning disability), and/or psychiatric (anxiety, mood disorders, thought disorder). Individuals who benefit from testing are often “stuck” and need a good treatment and/or educational plan so they can move forward.
For more information or to make a referral, please contact:
McLean accepts Medicare, Massachusetts Medicaid, and many private insurance and managed care plans. Some of our outpatient services accept insurance, while others are self-pay. Please contact the programs to find out more.
Our testing service is part self-pay and part insurance-based. Some insurance plans will cover a portion of the cost of the testing, but please note that academic testing and the parent education component are not considered medically necessary and therefore are not covered by insurance. The costs that are not covered by insurance are $2,000.
More information on insurance providers accepted by McLean Hospital may be found on the Mass General Brigham website. You may also find it beneficial to review McLean’s patient billing and financial assistance information.
Diane Bedell, LICSW, Program Director
Ms. Bedell is program director program director for McLean’s Outpatient Services, where she has overseen rapid growth in several programs. She is also program director of the Clinical Evaluation Center, where she has been successful in keeping the intake and admissions processes up to date with the changes in health care systems.
Mona Potter, MD, Medical Director
Dr. Potter is the medical director of McLean’s Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services including the McLean Anxiety Mastery Program, School Consultation Service, and Adolescent DBT Outpatient Service. Dr. Potter has particular interest in the treatment of pediatric anxiety disorders, OCD, mood disorders, and borderline personality disorder, with a focus on collaboration with schools.
Jennifer White, PhD, Director
Dr. White is a clinical neuropsychologist who has worked for over 20 years in the field of neuropsychological and psychological assessment. She also provides training for the pediatric neuropsychology post-doctoral program associated with CATS. Her research background is in ADHD and learning disabilities.
Susan Parks-Cohen, PhD, Assistant Director
Dr. Parks-Cohen’s clinical interests include the integration of cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapies with neurocognitive coaching techniques, prevention of head injuries for athletes, and stress management. Dr. Parks-Cohen is on the advisory board of Life after War: Reintegrating Veterans, a non-profit organization.
Kathryn D. Boger, PhD, ABPP, Program Director
Dr. Boger is board certified in clinical child and adolescent psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology and specializes in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for anxiety, mood, and substance use disorders. She has had extensive training and experience in the delivery of scientifically proven treatments in both outpatient and residential levels of care.
Jacqueline Sperling, PhD, Director of Training and Research
Dr. Sperling is a clinical psychologist, who specializes in implementing evidence-based treatments such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), and works with youth who present with anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). In addition, she is experienced in providing parent guidance on how to manage children with internalizing and externalizing behavior issues.
Karen Monroe, MD, Medical Director
Dr. Monroe has been the medical director of McLean Hospital’s Child and Adolescent Outpatient Clinic since 2004. She also serves as the child and adolescent psychiatrist for the 3East Outpatient Clinic. A dedicated teacher, Dr. Monroe coordinates the child outpatient rotation for adult psychiatry residency training. She has a strong interest in resilience in children and adolescents.
Alison M. Yaeger, PsyD, Program Director
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.
Our expert clinicians and support staff have dedicated their careers to working with young people and so are able to provide compassionate, focused care to this patient population. This multidisciplinary staff works collaboratively with family, community-based clinicians, schools, and social service agencies to establish realistic treatment goals for each child.
The Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services operate within the Simches Center of Excellence in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, led by Joseph Gold, MD.
The program is located at the Sancta Maria Nursing Facility at 799 Concord Avenue, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information on directions, parking, and local accommodations, please visit our Maps & Directions page.
Our program includes an array of outpatient care for children and adolescents with mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, OCD, phobias, and bipolar disorder.
Our testing services are ideal for young people experiencing difficulties in educational, home, or social settings due to the impact of difficulties that are neuropsychological (executive functioning challenges, head injury, concussion), learning-based (dyslexia, language-based learning disability, nonverbal learning disability), and/or psychiatric (anxiety, mood disorders, thought disorder).
Family involvement is encouraged. We work closely with families to understand their concerns and to obtain important background information.
Our program is non-smoking.
Cell phone use is strongly discouraged during treatment and in the waiting room to prevent disruption of the program and others.
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.