The Riverside Life Skills Centers are supportive, therapeutic programs for adolescents, ages 12-18, who are experiencing significant emotional difficulties or a psychiatric diagnosis, and disruptions in their home, school, or community. In a highly structured clinical environment involving therapeutic groups and activities, teens are able to identify and understand their behavior patterns. They learn more effective ways of coping, gain insight into their mental health issues, improve their self-esteem, and increase social skills so they can integrate more effectively into their school and home communities.
We offer a very small youth-to-staff ratio and focus on a sense of community and well-being that is essential for a teen’s recovery. Additionally we provide strong clinical, family, and academic supports. The Riverside Life Skills Centers are designed to accommodate teens with significant mental health issues and learning challenges, including but not limited to:
- Anxiety and depressive disorders
- Attention and learning disorders
- Mood and psychotic disorders
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Dual-diagnosis conditions
The Life Skills Centers utilize a group and milieu therapy model in order to help teens process and manage the challenges they face. Therapeutic groups are developed and facilitated utilizing the following models:
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Anger management
- Expressive therapies
- Social skills and relationship-building
- Health and wellness education
Each adolescent is assigned a primary clinician to coordinate goals and treatment at the Life Skills Center, and to access community agencies and providers to help meet the teen’s individual needs. The clinician collaborates with the teen and family to develop an action plan outlining the course of treatment and establishing goals to accomplish with the team’s support.
As family is an essential part of a teen’s success, all family members are encouraged to attend and participate in family meetings. Meetings focus on helping the family understand and participate in their child’s treatment goals, build communication and support, and develop stronger family relationships.
Many of our teens have struggled to manage the academic and social stressors at school. We help to help identify school-related triggers, and to develop healthy coping skills to manage these demands in a supportive therapeutic environment.
To provide continuity of care, our clinical staff works closely with a broad range of community partners including outside therapists, the Department of Mental Health, Department of Children and Families, and local schools. Riverside also has a continuum of services to support youth and families, including our In-Home Therapy services, Community Service Agency, Riverside School, and Outpatient Therapy.
For Early-Course Psychosis or Clinical High Risk
In addition to the clinical supports offered in all three Riverside Life Skills Centers, our Somerville center serves youth with early-course psychosis or clinical high risk. The LARRY (Learning and Readiness for Resilient Youth) framework, named for Larry Seidman, PhD., a pioneer in research on cognition, neuroscience, and major mental illness, addresses conditions including but not limited to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This approach helps youth with these distressing but treatable symptoms and diagnoses to understand and manage their symptoms, while learning new skills to successfully navigate their school and daily routines. Life Skills Center at Somerville is the first day program in the country to integrate this innovative approach to youth services.