JF&CS unveils behavioral, mental health programs; free for county adolescents

With financial support from St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund, Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS) introduces two new behavioral and mental health therapy programs targeted for adolescents. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Adolescents (DBT-A) and Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET) are open to adolescents ages 14-19 and their families living in St. Louis County.  For these programs JF&CS will partner with area schools, churches, synagogues and other participating agencies to provide services at no cost regardless of income level or religion.

DBT-A is a 16-week cognitive behavioral therapy program developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan that helps teens who experience erratic moods and/or frequent crises, and exhibit chronic mental health symptoms. The program, which offers classes, individual therapy, weekly consultation team meetings, coaching and family therapy sessions, is suitable for adolescents who may have a history of being unresponsive to past treatments.

The second program, Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET), is for teens with recent-onset schizophrenia and other forms of serious mental illness. Those who can benefit from CET include adolescents with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar illness; adolescents who are on the high end of the autism spectrum; or adolescents ages 14-19 with some symptoms of mental illness without a definitive diagnosis and exhibit social withdrawal, loss of interest in school or work, deterioration in hygiene and grooming and unusual behavior.

CET intervention takes advantage of trained clinical staff coaching and facilitating specialized computer software exercise to improve attention, concentration, memory and problem solving.  The participant receives individual sessions to apply learning and attends weekly psycho-educational groups that focus on social awareness and social cognition.  The Cognitive Enhancement Therapy coaches (JF&CS staff) have received highly specialized training through the Center for Cognition and Recovery in Ohio.

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CET participants can expect improved problem solving and vocational readiness, improvements in processing speed, the ability to handle new challenges and meet developmental milestones and improved cognition and social awareness.

For more information or to make a referral, call the JF&CS intake coordinator at 314-993-1000. JF&CS encourages parents, educators or anyone with interest to call for information if uncertain about making a referral. Other services offered under funding of the St. Louis County Children’s fund are school-based consultation services, learning and diagnostic assessments, school-based prevention services, child and adolescent psychiatry services, and child abuse prevention services.