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We are committed to helping regardless of the ability to pay. 

To get started, contact our Client Care Team by calling 847-733-4300 or by using the chat function in the lower right corner of this webpage. 

At The Family Institute at Northwestern University, we believe that access to quality mental health services is a fundamental right for all individuals and families. We have an unwavering commitment to providing free therapy services to those who may otherwise be unable to afford them, and through the Bette D. Harris Family & Child Clinic, we offer a safe and supportive environment where individuals from all walks of life can receive the care they need. We strive to bridge the gap in mental health services, ensuring that no one is left behind in their journey towards healing and well-being.

Through the clinic, our Northwestern University graduate level therapists-in-training provide services to clients who qualify. Our staff therapists provide ongoing supervision and regular consultation. In the most complex cases, we provide team therapy with both a student and experienced therapist working side-by-side. We also offer therapy services in Spanish and Mandarin.

How You Work with Us

Research conducted at The Family Institute at Northwestern University has found that therapy provided by our graduate student therapists is significantly effective in reducing client distress and improving their relationships. Feedback from clients confirms high levels of satisfaction, and our largest source of referrals is from recommendations from former clients. 

  • Upon assessment at the Clinic, a therapist-in-training will work with you to create a tailored treatment plan and goals, which you will work on over the course of the therapist-in-training’s tenure at the Clinic (up to a year to a year and a half). 

  • Our therapists-in-training work closely with expertly trained, licensed therapists to create a collaborative, deeply impactful, affordable therapy experience.  

  • At the end of your therapist’s training, they will consider what further treatment options are recommended. 

  • Qualification for the Clinic is determined by your current financial situation and gross combined household income. Insurance is neither required nor accepted. 

Locations and Hours


Children Peer Support Group — Rainbows Program

Incorporating art, games and storytelling with a free, healing peer support group to guide children as they navigate grief and work through loss.

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My experience with The Family Institute has been beyond rewarding. They have been very accommodating from the beginning and my therapist-in-training has always been professional and compassionate. I’m so happy to be working with her and am incredibly grateful for her services.

- Client of the Bette D. Harris Family & Child Clinic


Diagnostic Assessments

Appropriate treatment planning and coordination of care can be facilitated with the completion of a thorough diagnostic assessment.

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Community Programs

Situated within the Bette D. Harris Family & Child Clinic, the Community Program partners with a variety of community organizations and schools to best serve the needs of the Evanston community. Community supervisors and therapists-in-training create relationships — as well as strengthen existing ties — by maintaining regular, in-person contact with participating agencies and schools. Therapeutic services in the Community Program are often provided in clients’ homes, classrooms or other non-traditional therapy settings.

Over the last two years, the Community Program also began working with the District 65 Community Schools Resource Coordinator to increase referrals and understand the needs of the schools. Last year, 28 students were under the supervision of four staff therapists and two consultant supervisors as they worked with 84 clients.

There is a West African proverb that states 'The healing of a nation begins in the homes of its people.' The MSMFT Community Program at the Family Institute, with its outreach focus, plays a big role towards the actualization of this proverb.

Chaazé Roberts, LMFT
Community Program Supervisor, Marriage & Family Therapy Program
Project Strengthen

Project Strengthen became a reality in 2017. The program delivers high-quality care to individuals and families who suffer from complex mental health issues alongside socio-economic hardships. Project Strengthen provides the highest level of care that The Family Institute can offer through a therapy team comprised of a senior staff therapist and a therapist-in-training who work together to provide comprehensive treatment and counseling services to the client and their family.

Most families served by Project Strengthen are below the poverty level and nearly 80% are at high risk for suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts and extreme violence. In FY 2022, we served 18 clients with 25 staff therapists and 36 therapists-in-training.

The behavioral health services available through the Bette D. Harris Family & Child Clinic  including Community Programs and Project Strengthen – are made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider a gift in support of this important work.