1. To provide high quality intensive mental health care in English to a high-risk and complex patient population
2. To work together as an integrated team in delivering this treatment
3. To continually educate ourselves, the mental health community, and the community at large about issues related to mental health and treatment
In the same way that “it takes a village to raise a child”, we strongly believe that “it takes a team to help the client”. Our approach emphasizes teamwork- each perspective that our team brings to a case is carefully considered and discussed. This spills over into treatment with our clients where treatment plans are formed collaboratively with our clients, who take an active role in their treatment and goal-setting. We maintain our expertise in mental health and treatment models, and we consult with our clients’ expertise in themselves (this is consistent with the DBT principle of “consultation to the client”). Consistent with our emphasis on teamwork and collaboration is our adherence to the core assumptions of DBT:
- People want their lives to be better- we are committed to assuming the best about our clients. It is difficult to change old habits and to engage in therapy, but we maintain that no matter what their behavior at the moment, our clients come to therapy because they DO want things to get better
- People are doing their best AND they need to do things better– we are committed to the assumption that no matter what, our clients are doing their best. At the same time, we are also committed to examining their current level of functioning and helping them identify more effective ways to reach their goals.
- People may not have caused their problems, and they still bear responsibility for addressing them- many of our clients have been impacted by various difficulties in life. It can sometimes be difficult to hear, but no matter what anyone else may have done, only we can be responsible for creating changes in our lives. In conducting therapy, we are committed to helping clients understand their problems in ways that do not involve blaming themselves or others.
- New behavior should be practiced in the context for which it’s needed- in order to create change, it isn’t enough to simply show up to therapy. Clients ultimately need to learn and implement new behaviors and skills in their everyday life in order to make things better, and we are committed to helping everyone find their own path to doing so.
- All thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are caused, and finding and changing those causes works better than judging and blaming- often, clients come to us carrying painful judgements about their behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. Such judgments are painful enough to experience, and moreover they do nothing to help individuals change. We believe that there is always a reason why we act, think, and feel the way we do. When we can allow ourselves to see things in a validating, nonjudgmental manner we can often understand ourselves better and take steps to grow and develop.