Elizabeth, NJ --- A little-known and difficult to find treatment for emotional disorders is getting strong attention, even among celebrities like Mika from NBC News, NFL player Brandon Marshall, Selena Gomez, and Darrell Hammond. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), created by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., is now considered to be the gold standard for treating individuals who have difficulties with emotional regulation. While DBT is empirically based for treating Borderline Personality Disorder, it can also be effective in treating other conditions such as eating disorders, substance use disorders, mood disorders, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders. 

However, Trinitas Regional Medical Center has relied on this highly effective therapy for over a decade, and recently announced the new Trinitas Institute for DBT and Allied Therapies, which will be housed within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health. 

Individuals who experience extreme shifts in their emotional states and behavioral instability can learn to develop behavioral skills in a supportive and validating therapeutic environment. The goal of DBT treatment is to “Build A Life Worth Living” by replacing less effective ways of behaving and thinking with new, effective skills in order to improve impulse control, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and overall functioning.

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James McCreath, Ph.D., Vice President of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, says, “The Behavioral Health department has offered high-quality DBT treatment to adolescents and adults for years. The DBT team has reached a level of skill, experience, and competencies that we feel we are ready to train other clinicians who seek to provide high fidelity DBT services.”

The Trinitas Comprehensive Outpatient DBT programs consist of the following components: Weekly Individual Therapy, Weekly DBT Skills Group, Between Session Phone Coaching, and Weekly DBT Consultation Team. With eight associates, the Institute’s co-directors are Essie Larson, Ph.D., and Atara Hiller, Psy.D., with Maria Santiago, LCSW as the Clinical Coordinator. Both the Adult and Adolescent DBT teams have been Intensively Trained by Behavioral-Tech, a company created in collaboration with Dr. Linehan. According to Dr. Larson, “The Institute’s core philosophy is that everyone should have access to comprehensive, quality DBT. We are committed to providing treatment and training in a compassionate, individualized, and effective manner that emphasizes the balance between acceptance and change.” 

Dr. Hiller says, “Our ultimate goal is assisting our clients in building lives worth living, and training clinicians to help individuals do so.”

The Institute is dedicated to providing clinical services, supervision, and training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and the allied therapies used in the context of DBT (i.e. Prolonged Exposure). Additionally, the Institute is committed to conducting research on its treatments and training in order to ensure that staff is providing quality and effective services. 

Housed at 654 and 655 East Jersey St., Elizabeth, the Institute will provide comprehensive DBT services in English for adults and comprehensive DBT services in English and Spanish for adolescents, and their families.

More information about the Institute can be found by visiting the website at www.dbtnj.org or by calling (908) 994-7087 for adult DBT services and (908) 994-7378 for adolescent DBT services.

“As a Center of Excellence, the Trinitas Department of Behavioral Health and Psychiatry offers a wide range of treatments for those facing the stress of daily living, the challenges of aging, building a healthy foundation for children, and finding alternatives to chemical dependency,” says Gary Horan, FACHE, CEO/President of Trinitas.

Trinitas also offers the full continuum of care with specialized services available for adults, children, adolescents, and families alike. In addition to a 95-bed inpatient facility, Trinitas has a one-of-a-kind unit for mentally ill/developmentally disabled individuals. Overall, Trinitas provides almost 200,000 behavioral health outpatient visits per year.

Photo Caption: (from left to the right in the back) Catharina Carvalho, Ph.D., Victoria Blom, LCSW, Masha Belova, LCSW, Essie Larson, Ph.D., Masami Araki, Psy.D., Jonathan Lamm, Ph.D., Jim McCreath (of course)

(front line left to right) Maria Santiago, LCSW, Angela Gonnella, Psy.D., Atara Hiller, Psy.D., Melanie Andrade, LCSW