Patient Information
Child & Adolescent
College Mental Health Program


Acute Residential and Partial Hospital for Adolescents

Joseph Gold, MD, Clinical Director
Cynthia Kaplan, PhD,
Associate Clinical and Administrative Director

The McLean Acute Residential and Partial Hospital Program in Belmont, Mass., provides structured 24-hour psychiatric treatment in an unlocked setting for adolescents, ages 13 to 19, who require clinically intensive care. The program offers a full range of services, including assessment and consultation, psychopharmacology, family therapy, treatment specialization in trauma and substance abuse and educational services and recommendations. It functions as an alternative to or step-down from an acute inpatient hospitalization.

This year-round program is available both during the summer and during the school year to intensively address emotional disorders and prepare teenagers for a successful return to school. Parents are very actively involved in the assessment and all treatment decisions.

There are three major treatment tracks:

Treatment Approach

Treatment Approach

Based on a multi-modal approach and therapeutic milieu model, the program teaches and builds appropriate interpersonal relationships. Program participants have the opportunity to learn about themselves through interactional groups and classroom experience. Through a strong partnership with caregivers, the adolescent determines the most appropriate strategies and alternative behaviors for managing his or her feelings, impulses and actions.

Each adolescent is evaluated for his or her psychological needs and an individualized treatment plan is designed. When necessary, further assessment and/or consultation address specific issues, such as chemical dependency, trauma, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, psychopharmacology, family dynamics and educational recommendations. The treatment team collaborates with each adolescent, his or her family, school, outpatient treatment program and community agencies to increase resilience and functioning, and to promote the smoothest possible transition from the therapeutic milieu back to their neighborhood school and community.

Program and Services

The McLean Adolescent Acute Residential and Partial Hospital Program provides a full spectrum of care.

Residential Treatment Service: Available to adolescents who require 24-hour care, seven days a week, this service is in an unlocked setting, maximizing the individual's responsibility and capacity for self-control. Groups and structured activities involve team building, preparing meals and recreation. This enhances daily living skills and provides a sense of autonomy and membership in a community.

Group Psychotherapy: Adolescents engage in daily groups, five days a week, bringing together adolescents and the community to examine the interpersonal problems and to learn coping skills. These groups utilize multi-modal approaches: psychodynamic, cognitive, dialectical behavioral, psychoeducational and expressive arts.

The Substance Abuse Recovery Program offers evaluation, outpatient groups and acute residential care. The goal of this program is to help young people become and remain drug- and alcohol-free while maintaining a steady developmental course. Groups are both psychoeducational and process-oriented in nature, and focus on creating and implementing relapse prevention plans. Cognitive-behavioral, 12-step and psychoeducational techniques are used in treatment.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Components: This program is designed for adolescents who are prone to self-destructive behaviors and suicidal ideation. DBT component skills training provides patients with coping skills to effectively deal with emotionally overwhelming circumstances, interpersonal conflicts and self-destructive urges. The goals of the DBT program include identifying precipitants and triggers to feelings of distress and related maladaptive coping patterns and then adopting more adaptive alternative coping strategies.

Psychopharmacology: All adolescents in the program receive a state-of-the-art diagnostic evaluation by a child psychiatrist and the results lead to specific treatment plans that may include medication.

Academics: Adolescents attend a year-round classroom program, which offers a a basic academic curriculum that can be individualized using materials from their public or independent school. Cognitive skills are supported and expanded through task-oriented, goal setting groups. Students struggling with issues related to substance abuse, anger management and trauma utilize specific curricula that help them work toward recovery. Regular contact with local educational agencies is maintained.

The Staff

The program features a multidisciplinary staff of child psychiatrists, neuropsychologists and psychologists, clinical social workers, primary care nurses, rehabilitation therapists, clinical educators, mental health specialists and psychopharmacologists. Clinical staff have special training and expertise working with trauma survivors and substance abusers. In addition, staff members have experience working with patients of diverse sociocultural and linguistic backgrounds.

Information and Referral

For further information or a prompt referral, call 800.333.0338, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Adolescent Acute Residential and Partial Hospital Program can be reached directly at 617.855.2820. McLean accepts many insurance plans. Prospective families should contact their insurance carrier, employer or McLean patient accounts at 617.855.3311.