Project Description

Program Overview

The School Refusal Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) is a psychiatric program in Chicago and Northbrook that provides short-term stabilization for adolescents who are having trouble attending school. Many of these teens struggle with mood and anxiety symptoms that manifest as school refusal behavior. Currently this track is only available for patients admitted to PHP.

School refusal behaviors may include complaints of being ill with a stomach ache, a sore throat, or a headache upon waking up. These complaints usually resolve once the child/adolescent is allowed to remain at home, but may resurface the next morning. Children/adolescents in Chicago and Northbrook may also avoid school by frequently requesting to visit the nurse’s office, showing up tardy to classes or not showing up at all, and by being absent on test days or for classes or events that may trigger performance anxiety, such as giving presentations or participating in sports or physical education classes. Other symptoms of school-avoidance include temper tantrums, crying spells, and panic attacks before, during, or related to school.

Our goal is to help patients return to the classroom by providing them with the strategies and the confidence needed to effectively deal with anxiety and depressive symptoms that present when faced with daily stressors.

Treatment Goals

Treatment plans are individualized and developed for each patient by Compass’ multidisciplinary team. Evidence-based therapies used to help adolescents develop more effective coping skills include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Group therapy is the primary modality of treatment so as to provide patients with opportunities to normalize their experience, gain feedback from same-age peers, and practice effective coping skills and social skills together. Parents are also encouraged to use online individual check-ins to address specific concerns.

Families are required to participate in family therapy as it greatly facilitates the adolescent’s improvement.


  • Psychiatric Assessment and Medication Management
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
  • Executive Functioning Support
  • Mindfulness
  • Individual Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Dance Movement Therapy
  • Yoga Therapy
  • Pet Therapy

Academic Support

Education services are provided on a daily basis in the adolescent PHP program during the school year to support patients and families in making progress toward their academic and related treatment goals. This includes time each day for supervised study, case management and coordination of care between the Compass treatment team, patients’ school teams, and the patients and their families.

We recognize that flexibility is key to ensuring a successful school transition, and your adolescent’s team is in regular communication with school to adjust the treatment plan if indicated to best support your adolescent.

Schedule Appointment


  • Northbrook, IL

  • Chicago, IL

  • Oak Brook, IL




Monday – Friday
8:30am – 6:00pm

Supervised Study

The School Refusal PHP also incorporates one and a half hours (for children) or two hours (for adolescents) of supervised study each day under the supervision and guidance of an education specialist and teacher’s assistants. Patients are expected to work quietly during this time to maintain a productive work environment.

Once a release of information for communication with the patient’s school has been established, the assigned Education Specialist will communicate with the school to develop a plan to receive and submit various homework and school assignments. This release will provide the school with your child’s educational and therapeutic progression.

Supervised Study Session Times (Children and Adolescents)

  • 1.5 Hours for Children
  • 2 Hours for Adolescents

Speak with an expert about our programs:

    *If this is an emergency or crisis situation, call 911 immediately or page your doctor.