Effective Outcomes For Mental Health Treatment At Yellowbrick
Yellowbrick, located on the North Shore of Chicago in Evanston, serves as a national mental health center of excellence specializing in the treatment of troubled adolescents, emerging adults and their families. Yellowbrick offers an integrated spectrum of specialized mental health and wellness services including expert consultation and assessment, supported living platforms, state of the art neuroscience, research-based psychotherapy strategies, and life-skill interventions; within a sober, supportive peer community making effective use of the multiple resources and opportunities within the Chicagoland area.
The mental health treatment model is guided by an understanding of the essential developmental challenges of emerging adulthood combined with neuroscience research regarding the functioning of the brain in health and mental illness. Yellowbrick recognizes that trauma is often at the core of the initiation and maintenance of psychiatric suffering and mental Illness. Trauma places the brain's threat response and danger detection systems on alert, often disrupting basic mental health and wellness physical patterns such as sleep and nutrition. Traumatic reactions undermine cognitive processing and interfere with new learning and consolidation of new memories. Yellowbrick's developmental neurobiological model of mental health treatment offers an integrated multi-modal approach to quieting the limbic threat response system such that emotional healing and skill development can proceed more effectively.
Yellowbrick’s trauma informed developmental neurobiological model allows for effective treatment of a broad range of psychiatric diagnosis including:
Please see Yellowbrick’s Outcome Report for details on the effectiveness of our model from 13 years of working with troubled young people from Chicagoland and across the country.
How to Use Mental Health Treatment at Yellowbrick
One of the main reasons that the Yellowbrick treatment program can be helpful is because it offers so many opportunities for human interaction. Part of the advantage of this is that there are chances for young people who are struggling to meet kindred spirits, to feel and be less alone, to make friendships, to find support, and to substitute human relationships for substances and symptoms.
What You Can Do to Help Make Treatment at Yellowbrick Work for You
Patients sometimes experience the community as “living in a bubble,” different from the real world in that peers and staff are more understanding and tolerant of people’s issues than they believe people in the “real world” are likely to be. Alternately, sometimes people experience the community as all too real, bringing up painful realities that they may have preferred to avoid facing or thinking about. The fact is that there is truth in both of these perceptions. YB is a place where people have a lot of empathy and understanding and tolerance for people’s struggles and at the same time, it is a program that asks people to learn to talk about their conflicts with others, their own inner world, their problematic behaviors.
In fact, our experience tells us that it is inevitable that whatever core difficulties a person brings to YB, these will emerge in the cauldron of community life. If a person has been lonely and has had difficulty feeling a part of things, these feelings of alienation are likely to emerge here at some point, in some fashion. If a person has had issues comparing themselves to others or with competitive feelings, these are bound to come up. If anger has been a problem, or if the way a person has expressed it has pushed people away, it is almost certain that this problem will be expressed in that person’s relationships here and so forth. We refer to this phenomenon as the person’s core enactment, which is a core repeating pattern which expresses important, and usually unacknowledged aspects of ourself that we haven’t been able to express in words.
Sometimes, when this phenomenon occurs, the patient (and his/her family) feels worried and discouraged. “This is a therapeutic community! Why am I still feeling this way? Why is this still happening?” The answer, though it may not feel consoling in the moment, is that all of us as humans have a remarkably tenacious tendency to repeat our own long practiced patterns of relating to others, to ourselves, to our own feelings, even if these patterns have led to disappointment, danger or destructiveness. We all bring ourselves and our core patterns with us wherever we go. In treatment this is actually an advantage. Having these patterns enacted in our midst gives us the opportunity to work with them in vivo, in real life, in real time.
Yellowbrick is a community and a treatment program that is designed to take advantage of the reemergence of these core troubles: as opportunities to witness them as they are occurring in our midst; to understand them more deeply; to see how they may have been a person’s adaptation to difficult circumstances; to help the person judge for themselves if these ways of being are getting them where they want to go; to help the person see and to learn alternative ways of coping or relating.
A note about feelings: While the therapeutic work at Yellowbrick frequently focuses on helping patients to recognize and to articulate their feelings, our goal is to assist the individual in bringing emotions back into their rightful place as a part of the understanding of the self, alongside the person’s values, their needs and wishes, their thoughts. We recognize the importance of emotions, but we don’t value them any more or less than we do the person’s ideas or their value system. Ultimately outcome is defined by a transformed experience towards relief of distress, but also the choices and actions that are derived from thoughts, feelings and values.
How You Can Take Best Advantage of This Treatment Opportunity
Working to Earn Secure Attachment
Many people who come to Yellowbrick have significant difficulties in their relationships with others. Sometimes these problems cause patients to isolate and avoid connecting, or to engage in destructive relationships, or to believe that their self worth depends on a connection with a romantic partner. Frequently patients report that they have a hard time trusting others; that is difficult to depend on others or to allow others to depend on them; that they worry about not being accepted; that they worry about being or ending up alone.
A growing body of research points strongly to the fact that these kinds of difficulties have profound effects upon life satisfaction, self esteem, the ability to feel comfortable with intimacy and with independence: all core concerns for emerging adults. The literature also clearly indicates something that is extremely hopeful: it is quite possible to develop secure attachment as an adult and a therapeutic environment like Yellowbrick is well suited to facilitate this process.
Here are some examples of ways that you can help yourself to work on this dimension of your life:
How to Make the Most of Groups at Yellowbrick
In general, group treatments are most useful when you allow yourself to be actively engaged in them. This might involve bringing your own personal issues forward, it might involve asking questions if you don’t understand something that is happening or being said, it might involve offering some support or other feedback to a peer.
Sometimes people say that they hesitate to offer feedback because they don’t have a ready solution to a problem that a peer is discussing. They feel, “If I don’t know the answer, then I have nothing useful to say.” It seems usually to be true that what is most helpful to a peer is knowing that he/she isn’t alone with his/her struggle and feedback that conveys “I’m here, I’m listening, I get it,” may be the most useful and supportive thing a person can offer.
Constructive confrontation: We may believe that the only way to be supportive of another person is to agree with them or to say something sympathetic. We may have been raised or have come to live by the credo “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.” Our experience, both in treatment and in our own lives, tells us that often the most useful feedback is constructive confrontation, e.g., “When you do that it really worries me,” or “When you treat me this way, it really hurts me and makes me mad.” A friend tells a friend the truth about the effect of his behavior.
Complaining when things aren’t going well: When we have grown up in circumstances where our words, our feelings, our requests were ignored or seemed to make things worse, we may have learned to give up our voice, to think that asking for or complaining about something is useless or worse. Groups provide an opportunity to challenge that assumption and to practice using your voice to say what you need or want or to complain about what doesn’t seem fair or right.
Is it still worth talking if nothing changes?: In short, yes it is. Because speaking out helps us to know ourselves and our own values and opinions, even if the other person doesn’t “get it,” or change as a result. Because speaking out helps keep us from harboring hidden resentments or fears and keeps these from corroding us from the inside. Because even if others don’t change, when we find and use our own voice we change ourselves.
What is valuable about groups?
How You Will Know if You Are Progressing in Treatment
We all hope that treatment will help every patient both to behave and to feel better. We know, though, that even in the most successful, best conducted treatment, progress is not linear but may happen in fits and starts, or involve periods of progress and regression, or may cause some people to feel worse before they feel better. These phenomena may make it difficult for a person, and for their family, to judge whether genuine progress is occurring. Here are some indications that a person is making progress:
It may be apparent from the above signs of progress, why it is that sometimes a person engaged in deep treatment may feel worse before things improve: approaching those things that have been avoided, while an essential part of recovery, almost inevitably is uncomfortable or frightening or painful in some way. If a person has tended to avoid conflicts, then beginning to address these is likely to raise anxiety and discomfort; if a person has used drugs or alcohol to manage their own emotions, then being sober may leave a person with intense feelings that they may not yet know how to handle well; if a person has had a history or trauma and denied or minimized its impact, beginning to face what happened and the toll it has taken will, of course, be a painful process.
How Parents Can Help the Process
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.