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TCI offers a comprehensive, holistic approach to treatment utilizing an array of evidenced-based therapeutic modalities combined with innovative therapeutic experiences focusing on the "whole child".  TCI understands that there is not a "one fits all" solution or approach and that each youth is very much an individual having unique needs. While each youth's needs vary, the goal is the same for all youth at TCI which is to be equipped with tools and strategies that contribute to a lifetime of mental, physical and spiritual well-being.  

DECIDE is an acronym that describes a pathway of skills each youth masters at TCI indicating success. 

Solutions-Based Approaches 













When youth have mastered the skill of being Dependable, this skill is evident when youth accept responsibility for their actions, complete tasks, follow through with commitments and by keeping their word with others. 

Youth must ENGAGE in treatment. This skill is evident as seen when youth not only attend but are contributing to the discussions, being open and offering feedback or self-disclosing.

Connecting with others and with treatment is key.  This skill is evident when youth can identify emotions, feelings, needs, wants, and showing empathy. 

Independence is a skill that when mastered, youth are creating short- and long-term goals for themselves which including plans for the future. 

Youth mastering the skill of good Decision Making is evidenced in the youth's ability to be a positive leader by following rules and directions, setting a good example and by identifying and using coping skills

To provide appropriate transitioning skills to Empower students to find their future through the use of real tools to build real skills

Family Therapy

TCI strongly believes that involving family is key to an adolescent's overall success.  Therefore, treatment revolves around youth in the context of the entire family. Family members participate in weekly therapy, recovery work, and monitored group activities on weekends.

Therapeutic Modalities and the Milieu

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a major practice theory that integrates the theoretical perspectives and therapeutic techniques of Cognitive Theory and Behavioral Theory. As such, CBT focuses on changing cognitions, changing behaviors and supporting clients to develop coping skills.  At TCI, CBT approaches are utilized to address cognitive distortions, cognitive restructuring, problem solving, modifying deviant arousal patterns, relapse prevention, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional and behavioral self-regulation.

The majority of youth admitted to TCI have predominant problems with behaviors such as defiance, aggression, law-breaking, mood dysregulation, and self-harming. Many have experienced complex trauma which is manifested in their attachments, affect regulation, behavioral control, cognitions, self-concept, dissociation, and biology.  

Most youth are unable or very unwilling to address any issues of trauma until they feel safe.  Therefore, during the initial phase of treatment, TCI Counselors address behavioral defiance and aggression issues immediately so that the current therapeutic milieu is maintained with existing and new residents entering the program.  An established therapeutic rapport between youth and staff is paramount.  This relationship combined with a structured therapeutic milieu including hour by hour therapeutic programming on a posted schedule of events each day, set universal behavioral expectations for all residents and a consistent environment allows for youth to learn to live and be part of a successful daily therapeutic milieu. 

Aggression Replacement Therapy

TCI has adopted the Aggression Replacement Therapy (ART) program to utilize agency-wide. Aggression Replacement Training is an intervention designed for aggressive adolescents and children. Its component procedures are: Skill Streaming – which teaches a curriculum of Pro-Social, interpersonal skills (i.e. what to do instead of aggression). Anger Control Training – to teach youth what not to do if provoked. Moral Reasoning Training – to promote values that respect the rights of others, and help youth want to use the interpersonal and anger management skills taught. 

TCI's therapeutic milieu is key for this treatment program. It utilizes attachment, developmental, systems, and learning/cognitive theory in its programming. Therefore, maintaining our therapeutic milieu is imperative so that a safe, consistent, and predictable living environment for the traumatized, highly impulsive, and context-dependent youth that have previously been unsuccessful in other living situations are successful at TCI. 

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy 


TCI began implementing Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) as part of therapeutic programming for youth admitted to TCI beginning in 2018.  All TCI Therapists are required to have TF-CBT certificates.

Rationale: Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents impacted by trauma and their parents or caregivers. Research shows that TF-CBT successfully resolves a broad array of emotional and behavioral difficulties associated with single, multiple and complex trauma experiences ( 2019).

TCI delivers Trauma informed care primarily through the daily therapeutic milieu which focuses on safety, relationships, education, predictability, self-awareness, strength based, and self-regulation. The milieu is the most prevalent and pervasive intervention that occurs on an ongoing, continuous basis at TCI. There are many groups and individual therapeutic interventions that occur daily as part of a treatment schedule. 

Teamwork, communication, and compassion are modeled every day to enhance feelings of security, build relationships, and many other therapeutic outcomes. Therapists, Case Managers, and Unit Coordinators are members of each youth's clinical team and are actively involved.  

Sexually Problematic Behavioral Therapy

Youth identified as having sexual behavior problems (sbp) receive specialized therapeutic services related to these problem issues. Youth work on developing a more positive and prosocial sense of responsibility for themselves, their behaviors their decisions and their consequences as well making efforts toward potential family reunification through Empathy and Apology work.

Youth are taught to identify high risk situations, evaluate problematic responses to these situations, identify possible behavior choices and accurately assess the results of each behavioral choice to maintain personal safety.  The goal of Sexually Problematic Behavioral Therapy is to provide an internal barrier within each youth to further sexual behavior problems while at the same time providing each client with alternate ways of meeting their needs in a positive and prosocial manner.

Since 1997, our SBP Clinical Director, Mr. Weidenbenner has worked with adolescents having a variety of mental health issues and behavioral problems, including sexual behavior problems and he is among the State of Illinois' first Licensed Sexual Offender Treatment Providers and Licensed Sexual Offender Evaluators. Mr. Weidenbenner is one of the few in his field to develop and pioneer a successful treatment curriculum utilizing a variety of techniques and treatment interventions for adolescents having sexual behavioral problems.  TCI is proud to have the best of the best providing treatment to our youth. 

Pet Therapy

Furry Friends Recovery (FFR) provides educational and therapeutic support by connecting pet therapy teams for comfort, healing and wellness to people who experience developmental, emotional and traumatic challenges.

The concept comes from the founders of this program’s personal experience within the mental health community. Their desire is to impact individuals early enough in the recovery process to make a significant difference in ongoing reliance on the healthcare system.

Pet Therapy has been an outstanding addition to the therapeutic programming our youth receive at Transitional Center Inc. Our youth receive pet therapy every week.

Substance Abuse


Chestnut Health Systems performs assessments on-site at TCI to determine whether or not youth will receive treatment and also to determine the amount of time needed for treatment. Once treatment times is determined, Chestnut coordinates with TCI Case Managers to schedule treatment times.

Youth residents identified as needing specialized counseling are referred to community resources. In cases where specialized counseling is needed, arrangements will be made with outside resources for the particular expertise needed to provide the youth with the appropriate counseling services.