The Mood and Emotional Regulation Program is highly effective for a wide range of mental health challenges facing adolescents and young adults including depression and other mood-related disorders, self-harm, personality disorders, emotional dysregulation, family conflict, crisis, and developmental difficulties.
Our multi-modal approach utilizes individual therapies such as psychodynamic psychotherapy, mentalization-based treatment (MBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Daily individual sessions are balanced with a range of other therapeutic modalities including group therapy (also including MBT, DBT, ACT as well as open process and healthy boundaries), mentalization coaching, family therapy, psychiatry and case management. Treatment goals focus on key areas that we consider central to addressing the mental health and future wellbeing of our clients, including:
Focus on the expression of emotion.
The program encourages exploration and discussion of the full range of the client’s emotions. The individual therapist helps the client describe and put words to feelings, including contradictory feelings, feelings that are troubling or threatening and feelings that the client may not initially be able to recognize or acknowledge.
Exploration of attempts to avoid distressing thoughts and feelings.
People struggling with depression and other mood disorders, personality disorders and emotional dysregulation do a great many things, knowingly and unknowingly, to avoid troubling experiences. This avoidance can manifest in distressing symptoms and self-destructive behaviors. A client’s pattern of avoidance behavior inevitably finds expression through interactions with therapists, staff, and other clients. We make therapeutic use of these real-life experiences to actively focus on and explore attempts to avoid the issues most in need of attention.
Identify recurring themes and patterns.
The client’s individual therapist will work to identify and explore recurring themes and patterns in the client’s thoughts, feelings, self-concept, relationships, and life experiences. In some cases, clients with mood disorders such as depression, personality disorders, and/or emotional dysregulation may be acutely aware of recurring patterns that are painful or self-defeating but feel unable to escape them. In other cases, the client may be completely unaware of the patterns until the therapist helps them recognize and understand them. An awareness of and ability to identify these themes and patterns are a crucial step in the working-through process and, ultimately, form the foundation for resolving mood disorders and/or improving emotional regulation.
Integration of past experience (developmental focus).
Related to the identification of recurring themes and patterns for clients struggling with depression and mood disorders, personality disorders, and emotional regulation is the recognition that past experience, especially early experiences of attachment figures, affects our relation to, and experience of, the present. The client’s individual therapist assists the client in exploring early experiences, the relation between past and present, and the ways in which the past tends to “live on” in the present. The focus is not on the past for its own sake, but rather on how it can shed light on current psychological struggles.
Emphasis on interpersonal relationships.
The goals of the Mood and Emotional Regulation Program include, but extend beyond, symptom remission. We believe successful treatment should not only relieve the symptoms of depression and other mood disorders, personality disorders, and emotional dysregulation but also foster a secure foundation from which to continue to develop psychological strengths and resources. Depending on the individual and the circumstances, these might include the capacity to have more fulfilling relationships, make more effective use of one’s talents and abilities, maintain a realistically based sense of self-esteem, tolerate a broader range of emotion, understand self and others in more nuanced and sophisticated ways, and face life’s challenges with greater flexibility and resilience. Such ends are pursued through a rigorous process of self-reflection, self-exploration, and self-discovery that takes place in the context of a safe and nurturing environment.
John Grienenberger, PhD is the director of the Mood and Emotional Regulation Program. Dr. Grienenberger has received advanced training in MBT with Dr. Peter Fonagy and Dr. Anthony Bateman, the program developers of MBT. Along with his colleagues at Center for Reflective Communities (CRC), he has also developed multiple mentalization based treatment models and has trained many clinicians in these approaches both nationally and internationally. He is actively involved in training and consultation of both coaches and therapists at CW and seeks to integrate mentalization based work throughout the various services offered at the center.