Integrating State of the Art Psychiatric Treatment With Outstanding Academics in a Dynamic School Environment

To learn more, or to refer a student, contact Jennifer Hayes, our Director of Enrollment, at 908-543-0220 Ext 200 or

Therapeutic Services

Therapeutic Services
Parents, Students and Educators
What They Say

“Though I didn’t know it at the time, CDS meant everything to me. Ultimately, I was the one who made the choice to turn my life around and go down a new path.”
Student, Fort Lee, NJ

“I want to personally thank you for all of your help with this very difficult family. Their son is in great need of treatment and I know both parents are comforted by the high level of care that he will receive at Cornerstone. For them I know that they see the 24/7 hot line as a godsend: Mom said that it’s the first time that she can really sleep at night.”

Case Manager, Essex County, NJ

“Cornerstone meant a lot to me. It taught me how to cope. It has truly made me the person I am today, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Student, Union, NJ

New Jersey’s only therapeutic school that is licensed by the State Division of Mental Health to provide treatment

Cornerstone Day School provides all of the clinical services, including those by psychiatrists, necessary to ensure that students fully resolve their emotional and psychiatric challenges to be fully prepared to leave Cornerstone, whether to return to public school, enter college, or begin working.

Clinical Program

Our clinical regimen is always tailored to each student’s individual needs and forms a critical building block of The Cornerstone Experience. The core program typically begins with twice-daily group therapy, one that is insight-oriented and one that is a DBT-informed psycho-educational group. There is also weekly individual and family therapy, and in the service of self-regulation, students are often seen more frequently individually each week. Family sessions can be scheduled in the evening hours to accommodate parent schedules. Parents are also invited to attend a full-day “Parent Retreat” shortly after enrollment and regular monthly Parent Support Groups. The high school clinical program is designed to meet the needs of the adolescent student and is focused on supporting and helping them grow and mature socially and emotionally. As students develop, the focus of therapy shifts to prepare students for life after Cornerstone. The clinical program in the middle school meets the developmental needs of younger students and facilitates a highly interactive process to maintain engagement with them. Middle school students also participate in a therapeutic art component to encourage self-expression in a creative format since some of these younger students are more comfortable with creative expression than traditional talk therapy.

Our clinical staff are highly experienced licensed mental health professionals and always have an extensive background in treating children and adolescents. To provide the highest level of quality care possible, our clinicians generally carry a caseload of nine or fewer students.

Psychiatrist Services

Students attend regular sessions with Cornerstone’s board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrists, though students can elect to continue seeing their private psychiatrist. If so, Cornerstone’s clinical staff works closely with that psychiatrist to carefully coordinate care. The school always has at least one psychiatrist in the building throughout every school day to provide service and any needed urgent assistance. Our psychiatrists also observe students in the school setting and attend weekly clinical team meetings to ensure well-coordinated care.


Our clinical services are licensed by the NJ Division of Mental Health, which ensures that our services are independently evaluated and monitored by the State of New Jersey, providing parents and school districts an extra level of confidence concerning our mental health services. Cornerstone is the only therapeutic school in New Jersey that holds such a license.

24/7 Availability

Support and guidance for students and parents are core to Cornerstone’s clinical services. Our 24-hour, 7-day-per-week call line is always available to our students and parents when there are any critical questions or struggles outside of school hours. Parents find this availability particularly helpful in managing difficult moments with their child.

Specialized Services

School Avoidance

Approximately 20% of Cornerstone’s students have significant school avoidance. We have developed specialized clinical and educational protocols for these students that have proven to be highly successful. The students may begin in the mainstream structure or, more typically, at our specialized school within a school setting, Pathways at Cornerstone Day School. In both, the student is assigned to a member of our school avoidance team. After the initial clinical evaluation, including a specialized school avoidance assessment completed by both parent and student, treatment typically includes proactive outreach activities such as nightly phone calls and home visits, complemented by intensive family work. Depending upon the student’s academic needs, they may initially receive 1:1 or small group instruction. This individualized attention allows for rapid progress and the development of a healthy teacher-student relationship, which is key to helping students gain comfort in mainstream classes.

Our protocols help students overcome their anxiety daily, thrive at Cornerstone, and successfully transition back to district, college, or work.

Eating Disorders

EDSolutions at Cornerstone Day School is the only eating disorders treatment program in any therapeutic school in New Jersey. Eating disorders are highly complex medical and psychiatric illnesses that greatly impact a student on every level, especially as they frequently create severe social, emotional, and academic challenges for a young person.

EDSolutions provides the student with a full eating disorders treatment service, including specialized group and individual therapy, family therapy, psychoeducation, regular consultation with a certified nutritionist, supervised lunch, customized yoga, and art classes emphasizing body, mind, and wellness. Specialized parent support, education, and coaching group sessions are offered to parents as part of the comprehensive program.

Among the significant advantages of EDSolutions is that an adolescent struggling with an eating disorder receives a complete eating disorders treatment service but does not have to give up great academic, social, and fun school activities because all services are provided within the full Cornerstone Experience school day while the student, of course, still gets to live at home with family.

DBT Track

In addition to process group therapy, we offer a specialized DBT psycho-educational group for students with significant personality disorders. This group meets daily to assist the students in acquiring emotion regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness and learning the skills to help overcome problems with interpersonal relationships.

Therapy Dogs

Certified therapy dogs visit group therapy each week. These dogs assist reluctant students to interact more positively within the group. Moreover, the therapy dogs motivate school avoidant students to attend school and enable our anxious, depressed students to experience feelings of pleasure and connectedness.