Alright, it’s time for us to spill the beans and tell you what all the hype is about.

We’ve gotten some wild guesses – a reality show, a dog rescue, a book, and the most common one – a baby. Well, it’s none of those. The only other Mopper’s right now are Toby and Charlie. Let us assure you that when that time does come for us, we probably won’t be making an announcement that there’s announcements coming at BP 😉


No, we are not opening a second location. Our current location is about to grow, as well as our team, clinical services and team members roles. Let us explain…


We love our home at 73 West End. In fact, we love it so much that we’re in the process of expanding it. In four short years we are filled with both shock and gratitude that we have outgrown our space. If you are familiar with our spot, you will know that we have two outdoor decks on the back of our building and a detached garage. While we toyed around with the idea of a second location, we decided to build upon what we already love and continue to all work together under the same, yet larger roof. In the next few months we will be enclosing our two back decks in order to add two more offices. In addition, we are renovating our garage into a really cool functional spot. We don’t know what it will be just yet but have some really great ideas for it. Homework Café… BP Jam Garage… we’ll see!


Our services are growing – We are on the way to becoming a MENTAL HEALTH POWERHOUSE!


We have been sharing Carly with another treatment center. As of June, Carly is going to start transitioning over to us full time. Huge win for us (she is amazing) and win for people who have been waiting on Carly’s wait list.


Lindsay Sowder

At Blueprint we believe in and support our team members growth and provide CEU benefits to all of our team members. We’re very excited to announce that Lindsay is currently going through the training process for EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), which is a leading therapy approach using rapid, rhythmic eye movements to heal emotionally charged memories or traumatic events.


Blueprint Junior Varsity Program


There’s more! In May, we will be launching our Blueprint Junior Varsity Program. Our Client Relations Team, Helen, Scott and Sam, are going to the first ever Blueprint Graduate Interns that will be taking on a few individual clients and groups here. These guys are not your typical interns you find straight out of class. They have been working with us and absorbing from the treatment team for a year and know all the ins and out of Blueprint. We are so excited to be able to support them and help them grow into future clinicians, while at the same time, offer support to our community at heavily discounted rates. Each of them are already fully immersed within the Blueprint Treatment Team and will be supervised by a Blueprint Varsity Clinician. For more information about this, check out the information about our Junior Varsity Intern Program here.


Now… If you’ve been following our story, you know that we built Blueprint from the ground up. We went through a 9-month closing process and finally were able to call 73 West End Blueprint’s home on April 13, 2018. We ripped the floors up ourselves (and then realized very quickly HGTV makes it look a lot easier than it is), we decorated every single detail of our space and one by one built our team. Fast forward to now, in addition to the two of us there 11 other Blueprint team members here, all reporting to us. We are outnumbered! With great people! It’s time for us to pass some torches.


Leah was the first person to join our team alongside us. It’s no secret that she is a truly gifted child therapist. Parents who work with her have actually used the word “genius”.  If you know her, you also know that she’s creative, witty, and incredibly thoughtful. Leah will now be taking on the titles of the “Little’s Clinical Advisor” and the “Blueprint Architect”. She will be overseeing the clinical services for clients 13 and below, while also focusing on building the Blueprint Team Culture and overall experience within the walls of 73 West End. We may just see a garden, a therapy escape room, and a Blueprint Alumni program soon…


Jason Marchitto

Ok, there’s one more, and this one is pretty huge. After almost 20 years of clinical experience (you’d never know it, he ages like a fine wine), 14 years of being a Student Assistance Counselor (SAC) at a local high school and three years as a part-time therapist on the Blueprint team, our very own Jason Marchitto is joining the Blueprint squad full time, and taking on the role of Blueprint’s Clinical Advisor. THIS IS A REALLY BIG DEAL. He brings with him an incredible amount of experience and will be overseeing the clinical services for clients ages 14 and up, and in addition will be taking on the clinical advancement and growth of Blueprint’s clinical services and team. This means that our clinical team and services are about to get even stronger. He also will be opening up a whole bunch of appointments.


So there ya have it. No reality show just yet, but some really cool things happening over here along with a few cool office perks for the team.


Leah Behar, LCSW; “Little’s” Clinical Advisor & Blueprint Architect

Jason Marchitto, LPC, LCADC, ACS; Blueprint Clinical Advisor

Think it’s time for us to take a vacation. Any takers to watch Toby & Charlie?


John and Michele   

Mental Health in 500 Words or Less: Perfectionism and the Power of Thinking Small(er)

As someone who consults with lots of people looking to start therapy, perfectionism might be the most common affliction I’ve been hearing as of late – especially amongst school-aged kids.

I like author Sharon Martin’s conceptualization of perfectionism as “the quest to be without flaws.” Mental cobwebs lurking deep within the perfectionistic mind include as sky-high standards, a deep desire to be liked and – perhaps most insidiously – a faulty belief that conflates achievement with worth. Perfectionism thrives in comfort zones, and continues to gain steam when one sticks to only tasks and activities they are already good at.

Perfectionism is a type of cognitive distortion called call all-or-nothing thinking, a way of interpreting the world that tends to encourage the development of depressed and anxious moods. This might look like someone not even studying for an exam due to a fear of not getting an A+.

Even as a grad student studying mental health, my knowledge on the topic doesn’t exempt me. Within the past year, I’ve found myself needlessly ruminating on papers and projects. John and Michele turned the Blueprint blog over to me back in July, literally letting me do whatever I wanted with it – a writer’s heaven! Since then, I’ve published all of ONE article, with a growing graveyard of half-written ramblings on my laptop that I can barely make sense of when I read them back.

So what’s happening here? Admittedly, sky-high standards I didn’t even realize I had imposed on myself were playing a significant role. As someone who has always valued writing and creative expression, somewhere in the back of my mind was the idea that anything I wrote needed to flawlessly synthesize clinical expertise beyond my own years with the literary prowess of Hunter S. Thompson – the execution of which would somehow demonstrate my worth as a future clinician. Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

So what do we do when we find ourselves trapped in a perfectionistic death loop?

For one, start by thinking smaller. Lower the bar. Readjust the goal posts. Whichever metaphor works for you. Guarantee yourself a win and redefine the word “win” if you need. For me, that meant setting one very strategic boundary with myself so I’m able to move forward.

This is where the idea for “Mental health in 500 words or less” was born. No more battles with blank pages and blinking cursors. No more taping up my fingers to go to war with a keyboard. Just flow, simplicity, and sustainability. And I actually FINISHED an article!

Is it perfect? Hell no! Did I explore every nook and cranny of perfectionism the way I wanted to? Not even close. And that’s totally okay! For me, I’m just digging the satisfaction that comes along with having made something.

So, if you suspect perfectionism might be hold you back in life, don’t be afraid to make friends with fear, embrace averageness, and take pride in the progress we make with daily steps forward.

See you on the next consult!

References, Inspirations, and Recommended Reading:

Burns, D. D. (1999). Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. William Morrow.

Martin, S. (2019). CBT Workbook for Perfectionism: Practical Skills to Help You Let Go of Self-Criticism, Find Balance, and Reclaim Your Self-Worth (1st ed.). New Harbinger Publications.

Rutherford, R. M., PhD, & Marshall, J. (2019). Perfectly Hidden Depression: How to Break Free from the Perfectionism That Masks Your Depression. New Harbinger Publications.

John Mopper from Blueprint presents to Branchburg Middle School

This past Monday, John from Blueprint brought his presentation, “Thank You to the Bully” From Bullied to Empowered using DBT to approximately 1000 students at Branchburg Middle School. This presentation takes a new perspective to a somewhat tired topic. “Thank You to the Bully” works to teach adolescents ways to cope with conflict in their lives as opposed to having parents and teachers do all of the work. It also teaches them that it is through overcoming adversity that adolescents build resilience and character. You can find more information about our presentations by clicking  here.

John Mopper with Branchburg Middle School Students

About Blueprint Mental Health

Blueprint Mental Health is a boutique mental health practice with locations in both Bridgewater and Somerville, New Jersey. Our Team of clinicians pride themselves in creating a therapeutic environment that is warm and compassionate, while challenging the symptoms that are present when struggling with the obstacles of depression, anxiety and personality disorders.

Through Mindfulness and such modalities as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), we will support you and your family on the journey to find acceptance within yourself and help to overcome any barriers that may be in the way of living the life you wish to lead. Together, we will be The Designers of a Better Tomorrow!


The Basics of Bipolar Disorder

Anxiety and depression are among the most common and well-known mental health issues affecting Americans today. We know, however, that these are not the only two mental illnesses that one can experience.

5.7 million American adults experience bipolar disorder. Sometimes referred to manic depressive disorder, bipolar disorder is defined by NIMH as “a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.”

While many people have heard of bipolar disorder, few people know how to recognize it. What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder. And, as a depressive disorder, what distinguishes bipolar disorder from depression?

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is categorized by both manic periods and depressive periods, each of which looks very different.

Manic Symptoms

  • Increased activity
  • Elevated mood or ego
  • High energy
  • Racing thoughts or feelings of being “wired”
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of focus
  • Irritibality
  • High-risk behaviors

Depressive Symptoms

      • Loss of interest in friends or activities
      • Feelings of guilt
      • Low energy
      • Forgetfulness
      • Oversleeping or insomnia
      • Loss of appetite
      • Suicide ideation



Bipolar Disorder v. Depression

While the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder are pretty identical to those who experience depression, the manic symptoms differentiate these disorders. Depression is categorized by the long-term experience of depressive symptoms, while those who experience bipolar disorder will go through waves of both mania and depression.

These waves and moods vary depending upon the individual. There are different types of bipolar disorder for these variations, which often depend on the type of mania experienced and the length of these waves or episodes.

Blueprint Mental Health and Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Blueprint Mental Health is a boutique mental health provider that specializes in the use of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). DBT is effective in treating mood disorders, especially those like bipolar disorder that may cause high-risk behaviors.

We treat teens and young adults experiencing anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, or other mental health issues. We provide an individualized approach to outpatient therapy, and work with families and the community to promote different therapy skills.

Contact us today! Call (908) 256-6965 or e-mail


A Closer Look at Stress (and How to Minimize It)

Stress. It’s a part of our everyday vocabulary. If you’re not feeling stressed, your friend or coworker is. Life is just so stressful.

But, the more you say a word, the less it actually means. So, what is stress? What does it look like? And, more importantly, how do we make it go away?

Defining Stress

When we think about what “stress” is, we often think in terms of the experiences that cause us stress: working with a difficult customer, having a long to-do list, nearing a deadline, finances, relationship problems, new experiences. This list goes on and on.

Next, we might think about the way that stress makes us feel. In this way, the definition of “stress” for you might be sweaty palms, racing heartbeat, or incessantly breaking out.

Looking at “stress” in these ways is actually kind of stressful. But, if we reframe stress in the scope of its true definition, things are a bit more simple. Courtesy of WebMD,

“Stress is any change in the environment that requires your body to  react and adjust in response.”

That’s right–“stress” is just something to react to.

Visualizing Stress

Although strange, stress can be easily associated with alertness. When we look at stress as merely a change in our environment, any reaction to change demonstrates an alertness and awareness of that change. Sounds good right?

It’s only when consistent alertness consumes our consciousness that stress becomes not so good. Stress then causes a variety of mental, emotional, and physical responses, including the following:

Mental/Emotional Responses to Stress

  • Anxiety: Stress triggers a “fight or flight” reaction that makes us feel like we must do something right now or else. That means tons of worrying about what might happen.
  • Adrenaline Rush: Similar to anxiety, stress mobilizes us to respond immediately. Like a cup of coffee in the morning, it wakes us up and maybe gives us the jitters. Subsequently, stress can cause…
  • Insomnia: Now that your brain is quickly pushing blood and sugar throughout your body and you’re high on adrenaline, thinking about everything at once, how are you supposed to sleep?
  • Tunnel Vision: A positive response! “During times of stress, a part of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex acts like a telephoto lens, allowing you to zoom in on a problem and ignore everything else that’s happening” (Huffington Post).
  • Low Energy, Motivation, and Depression: On the flipside to all of these high energy, anxiety-ridden responses, some people react to stress by letting it consume them. This shouldn’t be viewed as laziness or even apathy. Rather, a burdening awareness of stress freezes these individuals completely, preventing them from even beginning to attack the problem at hand.

Physical Responses to Stress

  • Flushness: Does stress make you look like a ghost or like you just ran a marathon? That’s your bloodflow talking.
  • Upset stomach, etc.: This isn’t just a coincidence. Those knots in your stomach are actually your digestive organs not doing their job properly. Instead, they’re focused on the emergency warning that your brain set off once you realized the due date of your project was tomorrow. (Bodies are weird sometimes.)
  • Headaches: Refer to “Mental/Emotional Responses to Stress” and you’ll see just how much is going on in your brain. That kind of hyperactivity doesn’t come without some tension.
  • Increased Heartrate and Breathing: It takes a lot of fuel (blood and oxygen) to process stress. That means your heart and lungs are doing double-time.

Beating Stress

In considering the methods of minimizing stress in your life, there are two different approaches: eliminating causes of stress and coping with the effects of stress. Which should you choose?

Well, it depends.

Generally speaking, stressful experiences are an unavoidable part of life. Our body is naturally equipped to handle stress. And, the more that we experience it, the better our coping skills can become.

However, there are some causes of stress that we can avoid, or rather eliminate at the root. Toxic relationships, for example, should not be considered normal, nor should rushing to complete work at the last minute.

It’s important to look at each stress trigger independently. We should absolutely seek to eliminate damaging relationships and procrastination from our lives. However, we shouldn’t avoid taking challenging classes or experiencing new things just to prevent potential stress.

Instead, we should utilize coping mechanisms. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are full of them. Meditation and mindfulness are two of the most popular ways to cope with stress, but there are an array of different methods that one can try.

Blueprint Mental Health and Coping with Stress

Blueprint Mental Health offers a warm and compassionate environment for teens and adults to receive outpatient mental health therapy. We specialize in the use of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) for adolescents, and are able to assist with various issues, including depression, anxiety, and personality disorders. We work with individuals, parents, and families to help them cope with stress and achieve their goals.

For more information, contact us at (908) 256-6965 or e-mail


Quick Tips for Back-To-School Blues & Anxiety

We’re halfway through August, and–dare I say it–the dreaded *September* is almost upon us.

For most adolescents, the thought of going back to school can muster some discomfort. It’s always sad when summer ends (though, maybe not for parents). And, as the reality of classes, tests, and homework sets in, so too does the anxiety.

Returning to school might also mean facing a bully, ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, or a difficult teacher again.

Unfortunately, the safe haven of summer doesn’t last forever. The start of school is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be so bad. With these quick tips, you can tackle the school year head-on, hopefully, with a little less apprehension.

Forget the Past and Reframe Your Fears

No two school years are the same. If you failed eighth grade math or sat alone in the cafeteria last year, that doesn’t mean that this year is doomed. Look at the upcoming year as a fresh opportunity to be the best you.

Last year’s disappointments should only enter the present moment in terms of lessons learned. If you struggled with note-taking, try a new approach (like these).

This goes for parents too. Avoid reminders of what your child did wrong last year. Instead, encourage them to build responsible habits, in general.

Set Specific Goals

Think about your ideal school year. (Skipping school every day is not an option.) What are you hoping to achieve? Do you want to make new friends, mend broken friendships, or improve your time management skills?

Set achievable goals for each month, marking period, or for the year. Come back to these goals and reflect. If you did achieve your goal, reward yourself. Then, think about the next step.

If you didn’t achieve your goal, that’s okay too. Think about what you could have done differently. Break down your goal into smaller, more manageable steps, or identify a parent, teacher, or counselor that you can ask for advice.

Identify Your Support System

For many, contacting a counselor or therapist is reactionary. Instead, be proactive. At the start of the school year, identify a trusted teacher or counselor that you can go to if you need help. Set up a meeting to discuss your fears and your goals for the year, and work with them to create a plan.

Talk to your parents about meeting regularly with a therapist outside of school. A therapist can provide more individualized support and help you to build coping skills without disrupting your school day. If you’re worried about talking to your parents about therapy, ask your school counselor for advice.

School Support at Blueprint Mental Health

Blueprint Mental Health offers individualized mental health counseling for adolescents and young adults. If your child is experiencing school anxiety, school refusal, or other mental health issues we’re here to help.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (908) 256-6965 or e-mail

NJ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): The Basics

If you’re looking for NJ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for yourself or your teen, call (908) 256-6965 or e-mail info@blueprintmentalhealth today.

At Blueprint Mental Health, we talk A LOT about Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). However, most people are more familiar with a very similar type of therapy: CBT.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or CBT, is the foundation for more progressive therapies like DBT. In fact, DBT is often considered a type or modified version of CBT.

So what is CBT?

CBT is a form of talk-therapy. According to Wikipedia, CBT is “the most widely used evidence-based practice for improving mental health.”

In more free-form talk therapy, clients often lack the structure needed to fully process the ideas and feelings that they are expressing to their therapist.

CBT provides this structure, asking clients to be very specific and detailed in how they identify and discuss experiences or emotions. CBT also focuses on resolution, encouraging clients to establish reasonable goals for overcoming problems or coping with emotions.

The first step to CBT is identifying your emotions, both positive and negative. In order to change and improve one’s mental health, it is important to be aware of and recognize the thoughts, feelings, and patterns that contribute to anxiety or depression.

CBT also asks us to identify adverse conditions that we experience externally. These might be uncomfortable situations, stressful relationships or jobs, etc.

Through identifying these emotions and experiences, you can better connect them.

Upon gaining a greater understanding of your experiences, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, you can begin to challenge and reshape negative thought patterns.

Are my worries and fears based in objective truth or fact? Are they reasonable and rational? Is my thinking consistent with reality or merely my perception of reality?

While confronting and connecting your emotions can be very challenging, a good CBT therapist should help you work through these processes.

NJ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Blueprint Mental Health

Blueprint Mental Health offers boutique mental health services to teens and young adults in New Jersey. We specialize in the treatment of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder, as well as DBT for adolescents. We use evidence and skills-based therapies to help improve the lives of individuals and their families.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (908) 256-6965 or e-mail

Psych 101: Free Will and Fatalism

How much of our life can we really control?

It’s no surprise that bad things just happen to us sometimes. Drivers rear end us. Natural disasters occur. Family members pass away.  Or, maybe, we are subjected to traumatic life experiences. And, we can’t change that.

Despite this, we also shouldn’t avoid adversity. There’s a reason why modern-day therapies don’t advocate for becoming a hermit and living in a padded room. The most popular therapies–namely Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)– instead teach coping skills.

Behind these coping mechanisms is the idea that while we cannot control everything, we can control some things–like how we feel or react to the world around us.

Free Will or Fatalism: Which is right?

Though more commonly associated with philosophy, free will and fatalism are two concepts that lend themselves to skills-based therapies. For the sake of this article, we will define them as such:

Free Will: The belief that our independent actions control the outcome of our lives.

Fatalism: The belief that the outcome of our lives is predetermined and we cannot control it.

While there are great thinkers on both sides of the debate, most people recognize that life is a little bit of both.

When it comes to our mental health, striking a balance between these ideas is especially important.

Why shouldn’t you pick one?

It’s not hard to imagine the stress and pressure that one might feel if they believed that everything that happened to them was entirely their doing. While in some cases, “free will” can be empowering, it can also lead to irrational self-blame and depression.

On the flip-side, if we believe that we have no control, it’s very easy to feel helpless, like a victim of your own circumstances. Accountability is important in helping us to understand the impact of our actions and to correct behaviors with negative consequences.

Owning Your Outcome with DBT

“One of the main ideas underlying DBT is that while you may not be responsible for all of the events that have occurred to create the current problem you are facing (however severe), you are nonetheless responsible for effectively solving the problem.” –

If you’ve ever been to one of Blueprint Mental Health’s DBT presentations, you’ve heard the story of Viktor Frankl…

During Frankl’s lifetime, many of his experiences were determined for him, completely out of his control. As a Jewish man during the Holocaust, Frankl spent three years at the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he suffered the loss of his mother, brother, and wife.

Despite his misfortune, he made the choice to maintain a positive outlook, which helped to shape the rest of his life and career as a psychologist. “[A] man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss,” he wrote.

It is unwise to reject the idea that negative experiences, to a degree, are predetermined. The world certainly isn’t always “fair.” But we do have some choices.

Consider the impact of your actions, your words, and your patterns of thinking. (Is the effect positive? Does the effect achieve a greater goal?) Then, take ownership of what you’re doing, saying, or thinking. Recognize that which is within your control, and seize the opportunity to decide the outcome.

At the same time, recognize that which is beyond your control. Then, take steps to move on. You cannot wish yourself out of a bad experience, but you can certainly make active choices toward improving the quality of your life.

Blueprint Mental Health

Blueprint Mental Health is a boutique mental health practice with locations in Somerset County, New Jersey. We provide a warm and comfortable environment where adolescents and young adults can receive the support they need for a variety of mental health issues.

At Blueprint Mental Health, we specialize in the use of DBT for teens and provide DBT presentations and training sessions within the community.

Call (908) 256-6965 or e-mail for more information.

Psych 101: Pavlov for Parents & Counselors

If you’ve ever taken an ‘Intro to Psych’ course, you’re probably familiar with Pavlov and conditioning. Remember the dog experiments? (If so, you can skip ahead.)

Ivan Pavlov is most recognized for his work in classical conditioning. He studied how dogs came to associate certain factors or stimuli with being fed if these factors were consistent over many repetitions.

For example, each time the dogs were fed, one of Pavlov’s lab assistants was present. Over time, the dogs came to associate the lab assistant with the reward of food, even if the food itself was not present. Later, Pavlov would ring a bell each time the dogs were fed, and they associated a bell with food.

Similar experiments have explored negative conditioning, using punishment to deter animals from different behaviors.

So, what does this have to do with parenting or counseling?

It turns out that classical conditioning works on people, too. And, you’re probably already using it. Have you ever given your child an allowance for doing chores? Or, grounded your child when they miss curfew?

Rewards and consequences help to encourage and discourage certain behaviors. When these rewards and consequences are consistent, we help to establish stability in our children’s lives.

Inconsistent Conditioning 

When rewards and consequences are inconsistent, children do not know what to expect and are hindered in their ability to recognize “good” and “bad” behaviors.

Let’s say that a child consistently acts out in class. This behavior is a constant. The response from their teachers, however, is not consistent.

Teacher A knows that the student is experiencing some difficulty at home and responds to the child’s behavior with patience, occasionally allowing the student to go to the guidance office. Teacher B is not privy to this information, nor does s/he tolerate such behavior in his/her classroom. S/he sends the student to the principal’s office.

Or, maybe, you and your partner aren’t on the same page when it comes to rules or discipline. You maintain that your child must finish all of their homework before going out. Your partner doesn’t enforce this though. As long as your child gets the homework done at some point, s/he doesn’t care.

The result of inconsistent conditioning is, simply, inconsistent response. Children experience stress and frustration when consequences and rewards seem “unfair” and may become oppositional.

Negative Conditioning

Sometimes, without realizing it, we actually use conditioning to encourage bad behaviors in children.

You’re out shopping when your child begins to throw a tantrum. S/he wants you to buy him/her a toy. You try to console them while also standing your ground, but the behavior escalates to kicking and screaming. S/he is causing quite the scene, and the only way you can get him/her to stop is by giving in and buying the toy. The child then associates bad behavior with receiving a reward.

At school, it may seem like we’re helping our students when we send them to the guidance office each time they’re struggling in class. After all, that’s what school counselors are for. Unfortunately, over time this discourages students from developing the coping skills necessary to get through their classes, and encourages them to run from potentially triggering environments. 

Positive Conditioning

When we are consistent in the way that we condition our children, they develop an understanding of boundaries and expectations.

Establish a universal household system for determining when and how your children are both rewarded and disciplined for behavior. If you’re a counselor, encourage other counselors and teachers in your office to do the same. Then, do your best to stick to it.

It’s not going to be perfect. After all, we’re human, too, but the closer we get to establishing consistency in our parenting or counseling, the better off our children will be.

Blueprint Mental Health

At Blueprint Mental Health, we recognize the importance of parents, counselors, and other caregivers in treating mental health. We work with families, teens, and young adults to help them cope with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and other mental health issues.

We specialize in the use of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) for teens, and offer presentations and trainings on this subject to the community.

For more information, call us today at (908) 256-6965 or e-mail

Buckling Up & Being Happy with Emotion Regulation

Wanting to avoid negative emotions is very normal.

We may stop dating to avoid the sadness of a breakup or breech in trust.We may avoid trying new things for fear of failing or disliking them. Maybe a teacher tells you that a subject just isn’t for you and you never take a class in that subject again.

Life conditions us to associate events with positive and negative feelings. We are all Pavlov’s dogs, trying to get some food and not get shocked.

But the more that we avoid the negative emotions and experiences, the less equipped we are to handle them when they inevitably happen to us. And they will.

There is no guaranteed way to avoid pain, disappointment, anger, sadness, guilt, frustration, shame, etc., etc. etc.

Like a hurricane in Florida, instead of hoping negative emotions don’t happen, buckle up and be prepared.

Your Survival Guide: Emotion Regulation

Emotion Regulation focuses on a few different things.

First, it helps you to recognize your emotions–both negative and positive–and view neither as a bad thing. Often, individuals who experience depression will have a secondary emotion of guilt or shame as a result of how they feel. Know that it is okay to feel a certain way (or know coping mechanisms to use in place of self-blame.)

Once you’ve recognized them, describe them. Feeling “bad” can mean a number of different things. Are you disappointed? Lonely? Remorseful? There is no single universal method for not feeling “bad.” Specifically identifying the emotion allows for more effective resolutions to emerge.

Emotion regulation also seeks to increase positive emotions, while both decreasing and teaching one to cope with those that are negative.

DBT stresses the importance of taking care of one’s physical and mental health, as well as one’s self-esteem. This helps to not only increase positive emotions, but also makes one more secure and resilient to negative emotions.

One that that DBT does not do is make all of your negative emotions disappear. Rather, it recognizes that negative experiences and emotions cannot and should not be avoided. Bad things are going to happen to us. We’re going to feel sad and angry sometimes. But we can also do something about that.

DBT equips us with TONS of coping skills. Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Distress Tolerance, and The Middle Path can all be used to help us cope with and regulate our emotions.

Emotion Regulation at Blueprint Mental Health

Emotion regulation is the third module of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). DBT is a progressive, skills-based therapy that has been proven effective in treating anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and other mental health issues.

Blueprint Mental Health specializes in DBT for adolescents, and offers individual and group therapy as well as DBT training sessions to those within the community. Our 2017 DBT Summer Series, which includes training for parents and training for teens begins this week!

For more information, call (908) 256-6965 or e-mail us at