Celebrating ten years of Child and Adolescent Clinical Services

Psychotherapy helps children acquire psychological skills that contribute to self-esteem and confidence, including the ability to regulate and reflect on feelings. Unfortunately in Chicago, many of the children with greatest need of these skills are least able to access them due to finances and availability of services in their community. 

One answer to that challenge for the past 10 years has been the Center for Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, created thanks to the vision of Paul Holinger with support from lead donors Joan and Bill Dutton and other Institute friends and faculty. 

Renamed this year as the Child and Adolescent Clinical Services Treatment Center, its mission has been to provide high quality mental health services to children, adolescents and their families regardless of financial resources. The Center provides individual therapy at several sites and school-based group and individual psychotherapy.

When we opened the doors to our clinic, we were curious to discover who would use our service and what kind of community inquiries would come to our attention. In addition to families searching for psychotherapy, we soon found our work in demand from families and public and charter schools on the South Side, a part of the city with a great need for additional mental health services. 

Early in my role of clinic director, I had an interaction at a school that taught me a profound lesson about the everyday meaning of “psychoanalytic.” I was in a meeting in which I was introduced to a school principal who was considering whether her school would benefit from our services. The community representative making the introduction explained to the principal, “I like these people. They keep coming back.” 

On the surface, she meant that we would not disappear at the end of 12 weeks or a school year. But what she expressed more deeply was the recognition that continuity and an ongoing relationship built on trust and shared experience is a potent force for effective work. This is a central psychoanalytic value conveyed in everyday language.

Our experiences with Child and Adolescent Clinical Services also inform our continuing education programs that provide training to the broader community of mental health professionals. The Institute and all its supporters can be proud of the treatment and care that therapists, students, and faculty have provided since 2008. 

Thanks to the continued generosity and investment of the Institute’s faculty and supporters in terms of time, treasure, and knowledge, we look forward to another decade and more of successful treatment.    n

Programs, Child/Adolescent