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Begin Here

The best way to address your uncertainty is to lean into it and reach out for support in a relationship. We welcome hearing from you at 847 869-1500 ext 233. An Admission Coordinator will respond to your questions with no financial obligation or need to make a commitment. Families have found it useful to go slow, get to know each other, review the website and materials, perhaps proceed with a visit and tour as part of their decision-making.

Frequently Asked Questions


Yellowbrick is a private, physician-owned and operated psychiatric healthcare organization whose mission is to provide a full-spectrum, specialized approach to the emotional, psychological and developmental challenges of adolescents, emerging adults and their families. Yellowbrick offers specialty program services at residential, Partial Hospitalization and IOP levels of care.

The Residence is a four-flat apartment building with three three-bedroom apartments and a two-bedroom garden apartment where up to fifteen residents live during treatment. Additional community space is provided for group activities, leisure and administrative offices. Yellowbrick establishes a safe, strengthening and challenging environment in which the emerging adult can acquire the skills and competencies necessary to effectively manage their lives.

Yellowbrick sees a broad spectrum of psychiatric and developmental difficulties. What everyone shares in common is that they’re all in emerging adulthood and that they’ve all experienced a serious discontinuity in their development due to psychiatric problems. Restoring and facilitating development is the focus.. We address the specific symptomatic problems, from substance abuse to anorexia, but also the core structural aspects of the disruption in their development. We try to help them get back on track with themselves, their support system and their ambitions in education, work or community service.

Separation and loss are powerful stresses throughout the life cycle. Individuals also have neurobiological differences and experiences which create vulnerabilities towards emotional disruption. 75% of all psychiatric illnesses manifest within the decade of 15-25 years of age. Once you move out of the family home and your anchoring community, there’s an enormous drop off in the architecture of support, and people who are vulnerable begin to experience psychological distress. Depending on the choices they make, they can quickly begin to find themselves in trouble.

Yellowbrick Residence, located on Sheridan Road one block from Lake Michigan, and the Yellowbrick Consultation & Treatment Center are both in the city of Evanston on Chicago's North Shore. Evanston is a vibrant community with a population of 75,000 people and the home of Northwestern University. Along with its active, thriving and diverse neighborhoods, Evanston is safe and has excellent public services, resources and transportation.

No. Yellowbrick is not licensed as a hospital and is not an acute care setting. While residents may be struggling with distressing experiences and problematic behaviors, Yellowbrick is not suitable for patients whose psychiatric or medical condition requires skilled or nursing supervision for behavioral control or safety. Medications are stored in secure individual lockers and are opened with direct staff support and education. Yellowbrick Residence Core Competence Staff (CCS), in addition to the support of the strong peer community and culture, are always on-site as an adult resource.

Symptomatic behaviors are anticipated and are a focus in treatment. It is required that these behaviors do not place the resident or others at risk for personal or medical safety. Daily assessment and monitoring with 24-hour in-residence crisis evaluation on-call will determine if residents require temporary referral to North Shore University Evanston Hospital. CCS, in addition to the support of the strong peer community and culture, are on-site as an adult resource. CCS are supported by Yellowbrick’s MD on call system 24/7.

Professional staff and the Yellowbrick community provide intensive skilled-support, relationships and growth opportunities as an alternative to the behavioral control required in acute care settings.

The residents at Yellowbrick are provided with a naturalistic, real-time setting. They live with us and live out who they are, and it allows the underlying impairments to be exposed. They have all the challenges and responsibilities that people have in real life, everything from getting up in the morning to going to a job interview, and we’re able to see their successes and difficulties in response to those challenges. Staff don’t take responsibility for their safety; they do. All choices remain available and are not controlled by staff; rather staff provide skilled assistance with “real-time” presence to assist with tension filled moments of choice. Emerging adults will not engage authentically in relationships where others hold power over them, because it’s a time of life where they are working on becoming autonomous. We believe the way people change is through relationship, and to have genuine relationships you have to have a collaborative relationship. They can access help in times where they feel they need it, but whether they access it or not is their responsibility. Difficulties in accessing help, for example shame, become a focus in the treatment. If you never take risks, you never find out who you are or grow. This is supported by research on neurogenesis in the brain.

Yellowbrick’s assessment and consultation process defines the core strengths and struggles integral to a realistic vision of an authentic life plan. We offer two levels of assessment:

  1. Comprehensive: A comprehensive assessment is a several day process involving in-depth interviews, neurocognitive and personality testing, psychiatric evaluation, educational and career analysis, family participation as well as behavioral, motivational, social, self-psychological and neuroimaging through quantitative EEG. Specialized assessments in the areas of eating disorders, substance abuse, learning disabilities, executive function or other issues are introduced as indicated.
  2. Focused: The one-day focused assessment is also very rigorous but is specifically focused on key issues previously identified in the young person’s life; for example: a recent-onset eating disorder without concurrent drug or alcohol abuse or other self-injurious behavior.

The assessment consulting team meets with the emerging adult and his or her family to discuss findings and recommendations for a course of action. We provide a useful written report of our findings, integrating previous evaluations and including specific recommendations for treatment. More broadly, discussion shapes a strategic life plan as to what will be needed to help launch the emergent adult onto a fulfilling and successful life path. A summary report is made available within a week of the assessment and a comprehensive assessment report about a month afterwards.

For your convenience you may download a pdf file of our Assessment Brochure.

Yellowbrick works with a diverse population of individuals. They are emerging adults whose emotional and behavioral difficulties impair daily functioning and/or derail developmental momentum. Yellowbrick is appropriate for a range of psychiatric disorders including, but not limited to:

  • anxiety disorders
  • bipolar Illness
  • depression
  • trauma; PTSD
  • eating disorders
  • co-occurring substance misuse and other compulsive behavior patterns
  • emotional challenges resulting from a learning or physical disability
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • personality problems related to loss, post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma or abuse
  • high level autism spectrum, NVLD

Yellowbrick is not suitable for everyone. Those suffering from developmental disorders with reduced intelligence or severe limitations in relationships would not benefit from Yellowbrick’s in-depth psychotherapeutic model. Individuals with histories of committing sexual abuse or violence and any crime involving trespass of physical safety to another person will be excluded.

Persons with a history of antisocial behavior and an incapacity for concern for others are not suitable for a setting that relies on community relationships as a cornerstone for treatment.

Prospective residents and their families must demonstrate the willingness and capacity for treatment along with a personal pay financial commitment. Admission is entirely voluntary and a prospective resident’s ability to make use of the treatment is assessed during the assessment process. Residents must agree to abide by the Yellowbrick Community Agreements as described in the Yellowbrick Handbook. These Agreements allow for a safe individual and Community process which supports adaptive rather than self-damaging choices.

Residents will be encouraged to perform a minimum of three hours per week of volunteer work in the community. Most residents, after a period of full participation, will also be working or attending school on a part-time basis. Intensive group programming is scheduled during the early morning into early afternoon to allow for daily community, educational or career building activities.

Residents are expected to attend all treatments and to learn how to accept help and invite assistance from others to diminish symptoms. However, the treatment community does not assume responsibility for residents’ choices. It is accepted that residents may have periods of symptomatic behavior. Through periodic treatment review, Quality Assurance, consultation, and the Community process, it will be determined if an individual’s persistent symptomatic behavior represents his or her inability to further benefit from Yellowbrick at that time.

Random breathalyzer and urine toxicology tests will also be required for all residents and staff. Anyone bringing alcohol or illegal substances into Yellowbrick will be reviewed for administrative discharge. This will also apply to any contraband that, if misused, presents a threat to the safety or integrity of the Yellowbrick or Evanston community. Yellowbrick is a non-smoking and non-vaping Residence. The only true rules at Yellowbrick are related to fire safety; no open flames in The Residence and required participation in fired drills.

Personal safety is considered an individual responsibility, with professionals and the community providing support for the residents’ struggle to maintain their self-management. All explicit or implicit threats to safety will result in assessment for increased support of various kinds within Yellowbrick or, as necessary, transfer to the North Shore University Evanston Hospital Emergency Room.

Residents will be challenged with all of the actual tasks of independent and communal living (with roommate),but will also be aided with intensive support resources beyond those available even in most inpatient hospital settings. Emerging adults in The Residence are involved in an individualized plan focusing on discussion and implementation of life-skill strategies and membership in the Yellowbrick community process. Specialized programming for substance abuse, eating disorders and trauma/ abuse are available.

  • Furnished luxury apartment with roommates; single and double occupancy
  • In-unit laundry facilities
  • In-unit Wi-Fi and Internet Access
  • Core Competence Staff on premises 24/7; CCS Rounds every 2 hours (routine) or more often as negotiated
  • Residence 12-Step Meeting 1x/week (Tuesday)
  • Support for attending 12-step in Evanston/Chicago
  • Random and for cause UA toxicology; MD review
  • Community Area CCS support services
  • Self-Healing Room and self-soothing technologies
  • Eligible for Yellowbrick Community activities including: Movie night, Game night, Tuesday Community dinners, weekend activities, Makom Art Studio, Holiday BBQ & parties, camping trips
  • Side-by side CCS support for executive functioning & life skills
  • Medication observation & support
  • Pharmacy support
  • Support for grocery shopping
  • Supported meals
  • Medical triage
  • Apartment meetings weekly
  • Resident Bicycle Usage Program
  • Friday night Community Dinner (paid by Yellowbrick)
  • Sunday night Community Dinner (paid by Yellowbrick)
  • Sunday brunches Parents as Partners Weekend (paid by Yellowbrick)
  • Communication to Professional Staff every shift
  • Integration into Yellowbrick Professional Staff Daily Clinical Conference
  • Yellowbrick Professional Staff Crisis Management and MD on Call services 24/7

Yellowbrick’s treatment services are delivered and directed by a full-time, senior and expert professional staff with decades of experience working with troubled individuals, directing treatment programs and serving as teachers, supervisors, and consultants.

The Minding the Brain/Life Strategies Program is organized around within the concept of developmental and interpersonal neurobiology. Each group addresses one or more of the universal challenges of the transition to adulthood. Specialty IOP’s are organized around specific challenges of individuals struggling with Trauma recovery, Addictions and other Compulsive Behavior Disorders, and disorders with a troubled relationship between the body and self-experience (Soma-Self).Individuals may participate in full or partial programming.

There is no minimum or maximum length of stay at Yellowbrick. Most of the individuals coming for treatment at Yellowbrick have not received sufficient benefit from prior short-term, supportive, skills-based programs. It is a simple fact of nature that the brain does not change its default patterns without intensity, disruption and repetitive challenges. Yellowbrick’s outcome research, consistent across the field, is that progress in treatment accelerates when there is maximum immersion in order to to reach a pivot point where choices become mindfully explicit and not simply automatic. The best outcomes at Yellowbrick are associated with total lengths of stay of 4-6 months at varying levels of care.

A comprehensive career services program is also available including:

  • motivational assessment
  • job readiness
  • interviewing preparation
  • resume preparation
  • volunteer work or internships
  • job placement with coaching

Yellowbrick offers emerging adults the ability to be active simultaneously in their treatment and their lives in the Evanston community. The Yellowbrick culture encourages residents to volunteer three hours a week, which we help to coordinate. Through our Educational and Career Services, Planning, Training and Placement Services, we will also help facilitate employment with area business and admission to classes at the local colleges and universities. Evanston offers many opportunities for exploring the arts and recreation, as well.

Yes. The intent is for Yellowbrick to function as a normative community setting where residents aged 18 or older are fully responsible and active in their treatment while continuing to live their lives. Yellowbrick provides a specialized, personal approach to each individual based on that person’s requirements. Residents begin working in the community or going to school in a prescribed manner timed to their course in the treatment.

The emerging adult begins to work with the Career Specialist upon admission to Yellowbrick Residence. Individualized plans evolve around the young adult’s goals. We provide assistance to achieve these goals at whatever level is needed. The options upon leaving The Residence can include movement to an Independent Supported Apartment while attending school or working. At this phase of treatment, an individualized treatment plan is put into effect that includes prescriptive continuation in IOP services at Yellowbrick, and full support from membership in the Yellowbrick community. Should home visits be necessary, these will be arranged.

They have a lot of energy! A lot of the people we see have a lot of energy and ability, and they’re very bright, but their emotional problems got in the way. With help their talents and abilities come out. And they have families that care about them and are deeply invested in them. Another strength is that emerging adults are hungry for attachments, especially with peers but also with adults outside the family. We’re trying to engage that in a way that will have a positive impact on their development.


Family FAQ for Those Entering Treatment

Family involvement begins within the Assessment process. A Family Liaison is available for timely discussions with families about inter-current events and questions which may arise. Monthly Family Rounds are strategic planning meetings for the treatment, identify any family relationship issues requiring further discussion and offer opportunity for parents to raise concerns. Monthly Parents as Partners weekends are held on the second full weekend of every month and involve a variety of educational and discussion forums. Family therapy focused on enhancing communication and identifying pathways for mutual needs in family relationships is prescribed where indicated. We don’t speak for the emerging adults. They speak for themselves, and we encourage that; in fact, we require it. So much of what has gone awry is that the emerging adults have lost their sense of agency, their belief that they can do things effectively, and we think it really has to come from them and be about them for it to work. Only they can really speak for who they are and what’s going on inside them.

Yellowbrick’s goal in working with emerging adult families is to promote connected autonomy. This means establishing the relationship between parent and emerging adult where mutually they are able to bring who they are and what they need forward, and the other person is able to say here’s who I am in relationship to that. We try to make the parent-child relationship more mutual and collaborative. If emerging adults have been having mental health problems for awhile, parents often have necessarily felt the need to take more power. We promote power-sharing through family negotiation through increased understanding. This is different than traditional family therapy approaches.

We view parents as integral partners in treatment, and we have a variety of ways, formal and informal, to support that partnership.

  • Family Liaison
    • Your Family Liaison is your communication link to Yellowbrick, your sole contact person (outside of the Business Office) for the duration of treatment. He or she is available to you anytime, day or night, should you have a question or concern or information to share. The Family Liaison can also be available to support, educate and update parents about their emerging adult’s treatment.
    • When and how often you communicate with your Family Liaison is largely up to you. The Family Liaison will establish a weekly check-in with you upon request, or respond to ad hoc requests usually within 24 hours. (In emergency or risk situations involving medical or police intervention, parents are contacted immediately.) We are looking to you, parents and family members, to identify your needs for communication and support with the Family Liaison, rather than Yellowbrick determining the frequency of contact with you.
  • Parents As Partners Weekend
    • Parents as Partners Weekend occurs every month, on the second full weekend of each month. (p. 43)
    • On odd-numbered months (January, March, etc.) it begins Saturday morning with breakfast, followed by an educational presentation by staff, then a shared lunch followed by the Multiple Parent Group. Sunday features the Yellowbrick Family Brunch.
    • On even-numbered months (February, April, etc.), the Parents as Partners weekend includes the Family Brunch on Sunday, followed by the Multiple Family Group for both Emerging Adults and families together.
    • Parent/Family weekends also provide the opportunity to convene Family Rounds Conferences for those families travelling to Yellowbrick from out-of-state.
    • Parents as Partners weekends include both formal and informal opportunities to partner with other parents and families, not only with Yellowbrick staff and Emerging Adults.
  • Friday Family Forum
    • The Friday Family Forum is an every-other-week telephone call-in conference, facilitated by the Director of Family Services & Systems, for families to ask questions, share and benefit from the experiences of other families. It occurs on Friday mornings (usually 10AM-10:30AM) every two weeks and is announced via email several days prior.
  • Family Rounds – see above Family Therapy
  • Family Therapy – see above

Your Emerging Adult will have daily spending needs in the following areas: food, transportation, and personal spending.

  • Family therapy is an integral part of nearly everyone’s treatment at Yellowbrick. It is also individualized as to frequency and focus, tailored to the treatment needs and interests of each Emerging Adult and family. Family therapy will always include the Emerging Adult and their Advocate, along with the Family Liaison. In addition to parents, family therapy may sometimes include adult siblings or other significant family stakeholders in the Emerging Adult’s life and treatment.
  • Family therapy usually doesn’t begin immediately but after the first few weeks of treatment, after the initial Family Rounds, to allow time for the Emerging Adult to settle in to their treatment and gain familiarity and trust with treatment staff. We use the initial Family Rounds Conference as an opportunity to discuss and plan how your family therapy might best proceed.
  • Family Rounds is usually the first formal opportunity to discuss treatment progress and planning together. It also serves as a strategic planning conference with you, your Emerging Adult and YELLOWBRICK staff (usually the Advocate, the Family Liaison, and the Medical Director). This conference is usually scheduled about every 2 weeks following admission until a clear direction for the treatment has emerged. Once that occurs, Family Rounds is usually scheduled monthly following Individual rounds.

There are several ways in which parents receive information about treatment progress and recommendations from Yellowbrick. At Yellowbrick, we believe Emerging Adults should develop a strong and present voice in matters relating to their treatment, and we try not to undermine or circumvent that process by speaking for them. When we share our impressions and recommendations to parents, it is usually in the context of Family Rounds or family therapy, when the Emerging Adult is present and can participate in the discussion. Your Family Liaison can be another source of information about treatment participation and progress. In addition, a written Treatment Plan Update is prepared approximately every four weeks, with a copy sent to parents that also contains a narrative summary of the preceding treatment period along with an updated checklist of the individualized Treatment Goal Tracker.

  • Food: Yellowbrick recommends a food budget of $100/wk. It is recommended that parents establish a True Link debit card for this purpose. If these funds are provided through a True Link debit card, Yellowbrick OT staff can provide the Emerging Adult with direct guidance and budgeting support by tracking purchases made with the card. Please contact the Business Office for more information on True Link or view our True Link Information Sheet.
  • Transportation: Yellowbrick recommends reliance on walking or public transportation (local elevated train) paid with [Chicago Card Plus]. Many peers use Uber or Lyft as well, funded through their own or their family’s account.
  • Personal spending: Yellowbrick recommends $75/wk provided through a debit card from local bank or American Express. Yellowbrick OT staff can support creating and maintaining a workable budget. Please note this recommended spending allowance does not include cost of tobacco or vaping products.

It’s probably best to expect that your Emerging Adult will need a period of separation from you, especially in the initial weeks of treatment, in order to work on adjusting to Yellowbrick, building autonomy and connections with peers, and developing more capable self-expression and self-awareness. We recommend that you take your cues from your Emerging Adult as to how often and in what ways you keep in touch. Please feel free to contact your Family Liaison with any pressing concerns or questions in the meantime. (And please see “Six Degrees of Separation” in the Yellowbrick Handbook for some helpful ideas about navigating this transition – p. 45-46.)

These calls can be very upsetting and often activate parents’ prior experiences of inadequate or inattentive care within other facilities. Your daughter/son can be very convincing about Yellowbrick’s failings and instill in you the feeling that you must take control, responsibility and action. Your son/daughter may also be threatening to resolve their tensions with some form of impulsive action. The circumstance is often compounded by the frustration that if a parent calls The Residence to speak to CCS, they will be informed that federal law requires staff to not acknowledge any awareness of your daughter/son. The best option here is to let your son/daughter know you hear their distress, encourage them to address it with CCS and then for you to call CCS. Even though CCS cannot acknowledge private health information, they can receive information from you. Review with CCS what happened with your daughter/son and ask they inform the Family Liaison of the situation. The Family Liaison will proceed to call you.

Of course you may also contact your Family Liaison directly at any time.

Yellowbrick recognizes the importance and value of collaborative contact with outside service providers involved in the lives of those receiving services at Yellowbrick. With the written permission of the Emerging Adult, we will reach out during the Assessment period to relevant professionals to receive information and share findings and recommendations, as indicated. This collaboration can continue throughout treatment at Yellowbrick, in accordance with the needs and wishes of the Emerging Adult and the recommendations of the treatment team. This may include regular telephone check-ins, sharing of written reports such as the Treatment Plan Updates, invitation to attend the monthly Individual Rounds, and correspondence regarding discharge and transition planning.

No. Maybe 5% do that. A majority either go to an apartment of their own, and we continue to offer services to them as they live there, or they go to a college campus. They’re often capable of that by the time they leave. We think it’s appropriate to have some separation from parents by then, while staying connected. Connected autonomy, again, is the goal.


Still have questions? Please contact:

Jung Mi Yi, PsyD
Director of Admissions
or call847-869-1500, Ext 233.


FAQ for Financial, Insurance and Business Office Services

Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding Yellowbrick’s financial policies, payment for services and insurance reimbursement for services.

Yellowbrick accepts personal checks, money orders, cashiers’ checks, bank wires, ACH wires, and all major credits cards. An additional convenience fee is added to all credit card transactions.

Yellowbrick is a private pay facility. Yellowbrick is not contracted with any insurance companies. This does not mean that you will not receive benefits but rather that benefits will be rated for out of network providers.

Yellowbrick does not bill insurance companies. You will receive from Yellowbrick an invoice that can be submitted to insurance. If you need assistance with this process you can contract with SJ Health Insurance Advocates, an agency that handles all facets of the insurance billing and claims process.

Yellowbrick is open to reviewing your financial situation and being flexible regarding payment arrangements.

Yellowbrick has no endowment for this purpose. Yellowbrick has standardized rates for treatment. Cases are reviewed on a case-by-case basis when participants are collaborative, honest and motivated for treatment.

Contact the Director of Business Services, Sonia McKrell at or (847) 869-1500 x 222.

1% of the outstanding balance due is added for accounts that are 30 days past due.

Yellowbrick assesses a 7 day penalty for circumstances where an individual leaves AMA, is administratively discharged or otherwise leaves treatment non-collaboratively.

You are required to cancel your individual Professional Staff appointments at least 48 hours before your appointment. If you cancel or miss your appointment less than 48 hours before, you will be charged.

Still have questions? Please contact:
Cynthia Navas, Director of Business Services or call 847-869-1500 Ext. 222.

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness, please use our confidential contact form to send us a message. Our Assessment Center will respond to you as promptly as possible.

At Yellowbrick, emerging adults find their way home.

For more information, please contact Yellowbrick at 847-869-1500.

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