To learn more about the New Canaan Urgent Assessment Program, visit its webpage.

The River House Program

The River House Program at Silver Hill Hospital is a residential program designed to give patients with personality and mood disorders the skills necessary to regulate emotions, control self-destructive behavior, and improve interpersonal relationships.

Program Overview

River House is a variable-length treatment program composed of several evidence-based therapeutic modalities as well as comprehensive medication management. River House therapies include: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) the core of the program; as well as Mentalization Based Therapy (MBT), Art Therapy and Pet Therapy, Psychodrama and Drama Therapy, Good Psychiatric Management (GPM), and family programming.  These therapies, in combination with the right medications, help individuals develop skills, techniques, and self-understanding, and provide valuable psychoeducation to both the patient and family members.

About Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), the core therapy at River House, is an evidence-based psychotherapy with an educational component. DBT is designed to build skills and strategies for managing intense emotions, navigating interpersonal relationships, and making positive behavioral changes to lead emotionally healthy lives.

The four core modules of DBT are:

  • Mindfulness — the practice of living in the present moment and being fully aware of the situation at hand. Mindfulness is the foundation of DBT. This skill teaches one to observe thoughts and feelings while realizing there is a choice in how to respond.
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness — teaches one how to maintain relationships, while meeting personal needs and preserving self-respect. Interpersonal Effectiveness helps one approach a situation objectively rather than emotionally.
  • Emotion Regulation — the skill of learning how to control emotions and become less reactive to people and situations more effectively. Emotion Regulation focuses on how to recognize and label feelings, and then how to let them go so the emotion doesn’t take control and interfere with rational thought processes.
  • Distress Tolerance — an “acceptance strategy” to help find healthy ways to tolerate intense emotions without trying to change them or engage in problematic behaviors.

In the Silver Hill Hospital River House Program, each week focuses on a particular DBT module with intensive skills training, group sessions, and ‘homework,’ to reinforce and practice the learnings. When modules are repeated, different aspects of the skill are introduced and highlighted to strengthen an individual’s understanding and application of the skill.

Who We Serve

The River House program is designed for patients living with personality or mood disorders, such as major depression, bipolar depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder with symptoms of self-harm, suicidal ideation, and emotional dysregulation.

Many patients enter the River House Program following an inpatient stay at Silver Hill and are ready to learn skills that can be utilized for the rest of their lives.

Silver Hill’s separate DBT-S program is for patients with a substance use disorder or substance use disorder with co-occurring mental illness. More information may be found here

What to Expect

River House is a variable-length program with customized treatment plans for each patient. Following the initial phase of treatment, medication management, and evaluation (approximately 7 – 10 days), diagnostic and medication recommendations for treatment are determined. There is a 28-day minimum stay; many patients opt for a longer treatment period.

The program resides at River House, a classic tutor-style home with a contemporary feel, and an ideal location for recovery. River House features recently renovated bedrooms and other living areas, a fireplace for gathering or relaxing, and an expansive deck overlooking a tranquil pond. Some programming takes place within the residence, while meals and other programming are conducted in other locations on campus. All patients also have access to Silver Hill Hospital wellness facilities and offerings, including a gym, pool, massage therapy, meditation, and more.

Program Highlights

Treatment includes:

  • Psychiatrist sessions (weekly)
  • Individual Therapy sessions (2x per week)
  • Extensive DBT Skills Training, Group Work, and Homework
  • Mentalization Based Group Therapy (3x per week)
  • Psychodrama Group Therapy (2x per week)
  • Good Psychiatric Management (GPM)
  • Pet and Art Therapies
  • Ongoing Family Collaboration and Monthly Family Seminars


My experience was absolutely amazing. Between the staff and the other patients, everyone was very helpful in my recovery.
River House Program Patient

Contact Us

To learn more about this program, refer a patient for admission, or find out if it is right for you or a loved one, please contact Destiny Sammut, Senior Admissions Counselor, at (203) 801-3126 or Silver Hill Hospital general admissions at 1 (866) 542-4455 or fill out a contact form here.

Let’s get started.

Allow us to help you get better. Contact us today to find out which program might be right for you, or to begin the process of arranging for treatment.

Call us at
1 (866) 542 4455

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