Community Program at TFI

The Community Program of The Family Institute (TFI) at Northwestern University provides no-cost, strength-based therapy to those who need it. Strength-based therapy focuses on internal strengths and resourcefulness that each client possesses, and less on weaknesses and failures. We believe that we all have strengths that may not be activated when we are constrained.

The Community Program partners with a variety of community organizations and schools in order to best serve the particular 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. 

Our mission in the Community Program mirrors the mission of TFI:  To strengthen and heal families through outreach, clinical service, education, research, and empowerment.  

Core Values
  - Quality mental health care should be available to all who need it, regardless of ability to pay
  - The family is the single most significant factor influencing human identity
  - Family-based therapy is a powerful model for change, one that helps people cope with major life challenges and transforms how we live our lives,
    resulting in healthier communities and societies
  - “Family” takes many shapes and forms, it is not limited to or by biology and/or marital status

  - Hope and connection
  - Health and adaptive management of strong emotions
  - Socially successful behaviors, healthier child development, healthier families 

Services include:

  • Therapy (individual, couple, family, and group)
  • School/classroom observations
  • Parent/guardian training
  • Staff consultation
  • Collaborative meetings
  • and other services

We support our clients in identifying the challenges that they may want to confront in therapy. We also strive to make access to therapy as attainable as possible by lifting constraints that might keep someone from accessing therapy and do our best to meet clients where they are. 

There are three options for meeting locations: 

  • In the Home  For many of our clients, services in their homes remove barriers including lack of transportation, childcare needs, physical health, time flexibility, and other struggles due to limited resources.

  • The Family Institute Offices  Given the resources, some clients will choose to access support in the TFI offices. This option offers a different kind of confidentiality and privacy.

  • School or On-site at Community Partner Organization   Especially when the referral comes from a school, seeing a child in that context can allow for a much better understanding of the constraints influencing their academic success. School-based services also reinforce the maintenance of relationships with school staff, which can support the overall goals.

To learn more about the community program, please contact
Carl Hampton
Director, Community Program at TFI
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
847-733-4300 ext. 306.


Placement in the Community Program offers the therapist-in-training a unique set of learning opportunities. Community organizations have identified that the skills developed and honed in community work provide a solid foundation. 

Graduates who have participated in the Community Program as a therapist-in-training typically obtain employment at agencies and group practices at a quicker rate than those that did not. A recent evaluation revealed that over 90% of the therapists-in-training participating in the Community Program would recommend the experience to future students.

If you are a student and would like to participate as a therapist-in-training,  


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