Behavioral Health

Psychosis Risk Program

COVID-19 Clinical Services Update: Due to the social distancing precautions required by the COVID-19 pandemic, the psychosis risk program is offering consultation and services by telehealth at this time. To make an appointment, please email shaynna.herrera@mssm.edu and rachel.jespersen@mssm.edu.

At Mount Sinai’s Psychosis Risk Program, we work with teenagers and young adults who are experiencing changes in their mood and behavior such as odd or unusual thoughts, changes in the way things look or sound, suspiciousness, social withdrawal, and confused thinking. At our clinic, you’ll receive state-of-the-art, expert evaluation and patient-centered, evidence-based treatment.

If you or someone you know is having any of the below experiences, we may be able to help.

  • Feeling suspicious of others
  • Confusion about what is real versus imaginary
  • Hearing sounds, such as whispering or ringing, that others do not hear
  • Seeing shadows or flashes in the corner of the eye
  • Smelling or tasting things that others don’t
  • Feeling a loss of control over your own thoughts
  • Feeling as if things are moving too slowly or too quickly
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts or speech
  • Going off track when talking
  • Difficulty functioning at school, work, or home
  • Increased desire to be alone
  • Requiring prodding to complete basic activities
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Loss of motivation and energy
  • Lack of pleasure in previously enjoyed activities
  • Odd appearance
  • Worsening personal hygiene and grooming

Our Services

Our aim is to help young people develop a better understanding of their psychotic-like experiences and sharpen their reasoning skills to prevent the formation of stressful, paranoid thoughts. We use group and family-based cognitive behavioral therapy (GF-CBT), an evidence-based treatment that aims to facilitate psychosocial recovery, decrease symptoms, and prevent psychosis in youth at risk. We offer GF-CBT to young people and their families to help with concerns, such as the following:

  • Feeling suspicious that people are watching you, talking about you, or intending to hurt you
  • Becoming more socially isolated
  • Feeling confused about what is real and imaginary
  • Holding beliefs that other people find odd or unusual

Patients in our clinic may receive individual, group, or family therapy, or some combination of modalities, based on their treatment goals and needs. If you are interested in learning more about our clinical services, please contact the CBT Program Coordinator, Rachel Jespersen, at 212-585-4641 or Rachel.jespersen@mssm.edu.

Research

If you are having psychotic-like experiences such as unusual thoughts, odd beliefs, suspiciousness, or hallucinations, you could be a good fit for the studies below.

Language and Emotion Study: We are currently recruiting participants between the ages of 15 and 35 who are coping with unique experiences. We study language and emotion recognition using pen-and-paper tasks, computer games, audio-recorded interview, EEG, and MRI. If you are interested in participating, you can learn more here. You can also contact us at 212-659-1789 or languagelab@mssm.edu.

BEGIN Psychoeducation Study: The BEGIN study is looking for people between the ages of 12 and 35 who have psychotic-like experiences. The purpose of this study is to evaluate a psychoeducation intervention for individuals at risk for psychosis and their family members called BEGIN: Brief Educational Guide for Individuals in Need. Psychoeducation involves educating you and your family on your symptoms and treatment options. Participants in this study may receive this therapeutic intervention at no cost. If you are interested in learning more about this research study, please contact Dr. Shaynna Herrera at 212-585-4644 or shaynna.herrera@mssm.edu.