NJ Human Services Launches Initiative to Train & Mentor Behavioral Health Practitioners in Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy

CR-T training will be available to agencies licensed to provide mental health, co-occurring & peer recovery support services


October 24, 2022


(TRENTON) – In an effort to strengthen mental health care and improve patient outcomes, Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman today announced that training and ongoing mentoring in recovery-oriented cognitive therapy (CT-R) will be available to behavioral health practitioners who serve people with serious mental illness and co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders.

The Department has awarded $500,000 to the Foundation for Cognitive Therapy and Research of Bala Cynwyd, PA to provide training and ongoing consultation and mentoring on the CT-R approach to New Jersey’s behavioral health workforce.

CT-R is an evidence-based treatment approach that engages, builds trust, motivates and empowers individuals. The CT-R method is especially useful when working with individuals who have been non-responsive to traditional mental health and/or co-occurring treatment services.

“This initiative will help bolster the clinical skills of those professionals who work with individuals with serious mental illness who have complex behavioral health needs, who are not receiving treatment or who need additional supports to move towards their recovery. We encourage providers throughout the state to take advantage of this training which will benefit their staff as well as the populations they serve,” said Commissioner Adelman.

All licensed mental health treatment providers, including co-occurring treatment providers, and peer support service providers are eligible to receive CT-R training and technical assistance. The training will be designed to address the specific needs of agencies and the populations they serve.

“This initiative will provide much needed support to those workers on the front lines so they can better help individuals with serious mental health needs, who may think they are out of treatment options. CT-R can help foster hope and strengthen the relationship between a client and their practitioner, thus empowering individuals to pursue their personal goals,” said Deputy Commissioner of Health Services Lisa Asare.

“Everyone deserves help, and CR-T has proven effective in helping people engaged in mental health treatment. Practitioners and providers who participate in this program will be able to implement a creative and engaging set of practices and strategies to encourage and motivate their clients towards the life they want,” said Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke. 

This CT-R initiative builds on DMHAS’ prior initiatives to provide CT-R training and consultation on CT-R to behavioral health homes and to peer providers supporting the recovery of persons experiencing the effects of COVID-19. These initiatives demonstrated that an expansion of training and ongoing consultation in CT-R could have significant positive impact on mental health services in provider agencies and on the lives of those they serve.

The initiative is supported by federal funding provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Mental Health Block Grant supplemental funds.

The initiative includes the use of “incentives” or external rewards as reinforcement for individuals to either engage in positive behaviors or to stop harmful/hindering actions, routines and habits/addictions. The Foundation for Cognitive Therapy and Research will be able to utilize up to $150,000 of the funding for the individual incentives. Incentives will not be in the form of cash but will have personal meaning and value to the individual, while motivating individuals to lead healthier lifestyles (e.g. to quit smoking, eat more healthily, be more physically active, etc.).