Jesse Viner, MD

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What's Emerging About Emerging Adults?

Jesse Viner, MD
Founder and Executive Medical Director


Yellowbrick: Opportunity, Strategy and Model

Yellowbrick has developed its unique clinical model in concert with nationally prestigious affiliates Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, The Family Institute at Northwestern University, and The Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, as well as our nationally prominent Board of Advisors.

Core research based features of the Yellowbrick model associated with positive outcomes include:

  • Developmental specialization with the group of emerging adults and their families.
  • Treatment is intensive, extended, multifaceted and integrated into a coherent model.
  • Yellowbrick Residence offers a developmental platform for those emerging adults who cannot move forward living at home, on campus, or in an independent apartment. Treatment begins within a 24 hour supported setting and evolves into an individualized supported independent apartment context.
  • Treatment occurs in “real-time”. The primary purpose of staff presence is not to prevent symptomatic behaviors. Emerging adults retain their capacity to make choices in response to their emotional experience. Treatment relationships provide a container within which they can better hold their tensions and be supported towards self-affirming responses. This is consistent with the neuroscience regarding facilitation of new learning and targets the development of core competence in life skills.
  • Treatment occurs within the context of intimate, often intense relationships embedded in the Yellowbrick community process which reinforces norms and values consistent with effective, successful functioning. This too is consistent with neuroscience research.
  • Neuroscience research guides the pattern, rhythm and content of Yellowbrick programming. Attention is paid to developing normative nutritional, activity and sleep patterns. Early morning interventions consist of individual support for developing effective self-organizational skills and patterns. Initial groups are designed for introducing gradual arousal, mind-body integration and a structured goal oriented cognitive approach to the day. As the program proceeds, groups and interventions become more interpersonally and emotionally intense. Later there are opportunities to process and metabolize the emotions themselves and their personal meaning. Evenings and weekends provide skilled support for developing the capacity to structure individual time, sustain inner vitality, socialize and play.
  • Treatment is delivered directly and supervised daily by a team of senior, full time Yellowbrick clinicians.
  • Families are involved within the assessment process and throughout treatment with an emphasis on facilitating the here and now developmental process of emerging adulthood and learning new ways of relating and communicating rather than revisiting family traumas.
  • A culture and philosophy that emphasizes a strength based approach leading to competence; individuals are more than their illness, and that successful outcome means identifying, eliciting, and collaboratively actualizing authentic core strengths, talents, needs, interests, and motivation
  • Traditional and alternative interventions including psychiatric medicine, new findings from neurobiology, integrative medicine, multiple forms of individual as well as both small and large group psychotherapy, strength and competence based approaches, and family workshops.
  • Yellowbrick Foundation has developed an extensive, unique clinical research program designed to study emerging adult development and treatment as well as track outcome. The study is being submitted to the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine IRB at the end of this month.

In summary, Yellowbrick has developed a clinical model which integrates the research on emerging adult development, program treatment outcome and the frontiers of neuroscience with traditional treatment approaches.




Aquilino, W.S. (2006).  Family relationships and support systems in emerging adulthood. 
In J. J. Arnett & J. L. Tanner (Eds.), Emerging adults in America: Coming of age in the 21st Century (pp. 193-218).  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 

Arnett, J.J. (2006).  Emerging adulthood:  Understanding the new way of coming of age.
In J. J. Arnett & J. L. Tanner (Eds.), Emerging adults in America: Coming of age in the 21st Century (pp. 3-20).  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 

Humphrey, L.L. & Viner, J. (2007).  Treatment Goals Inventory.  Yelllowbrick Program. Unpublished manuscript.

Schore, A.N. (2003) Affect regulation and the repair of self.  New York: Norton.

Schulenberg, J.E. & Zarrett, N.R. (2006).  Mental Health during emerging adulthood: 
Continuity and discontinuity in courses, causes, and functions.  In J. J. Arnett & J. L. Tanner (Eds.), Emerging adults in America: Coming of age in the 21st Century (pp. 135-1721).  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 

Siegel, D.J. (1999).  The Developing Mind – Toward a Neurobiology of Interpersonal Experience”.  New York:  The Guilford Press.

Tanner, J.L. (2006).  Recentering during emerging adulthood:  A critical turning point in lifespan human development.  In J. J. Arnett & J. L. Tanner (Eds.), Emerging adults in America: Coming of age in the 21st Century (pp. 21-56).  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.