The specialized Dialectical Behavior Therapy/Self-Harm Program within our Adolescent Girls Unit is for 12-17 year old females who exhibit self-destructive behaviors and are in need of stabilization due to chronic internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Females who will benefit from this program have had previous treatment failures, including outpatient and/or psychiatric hospitalizations. All diagnoses are accepted within this program including adolescents with developmental delays. Each adolescent will be evaluated on a case by case basis to determine if the program can reasonably expect to be effective in providing both stabilization and treatment.
The primary clinical approach to treatment utilized in this program is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT principals, as designed by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D, combine elements of cognitive-behavioral techniques, relaxation, self-soothing, and enhancement of self-awareness skills. This approach emphasizes personal and situational acceptance while providing encouragement and core skill development towards a more HOPEFUL and positive life. Implementing evidence-based treatment interventions, such as DBT, along with the incorporation of the latest innovative models for difficult populations enables this program to be the best choice for those adolescents whose mental health issues put them at risk for harm to themselves. A successful patient learns to modulate emotions in turn allowing her to make healthy choices and utilize appropriate coping skills within her home and community.