FamilyLight and Virtual Consultant

NOTE entered November 26, 2019:  Tom Croke is retiring!!  This website will remain in place. Within the next few months, access to all pages will be open without payment.   Recommendations of other consultants will appear. Tom will be available to respond to specific questions by phone for a fee, whether the inquiry is from a family not working with  a consultant or a client of another consultant.  

We are no longer taking clients for a full service consultation. 

FamilyLight is a consulting service for families seeking guidance in meeting the needs of a loved one with emotional, behavioral, or therapeutic services. "Virtual Consultant" service puts that service on the web for very modest fees. This is the the reliable information you need to make good choices. 

For more information about what Virtual Consultant offers, click here. If you want to join/ subscribe, click here

For more information about our in-person consulting service, click here. We remain available for in-person consulting as we have since 1993. Our lead consultant, Tom Croke, has been helping families plan for and with loved ones with special needs and behavioral issues since 1971. No one has more experience with special needs consulting. No one gives traditional clients more intensive service.

Please rest assured that much of our historic information for the general public without fee remains in place.  For example our index of every school and program as well as other organizations and entities that operate within the range of interest of FamilyLight and its constituents, is and will remain accessible without charge to the general public. Some new material will be restricted to subscribers.  We intend that these websites will continue to be a valuable resource for the general public.  This includes all the old program reviews and many other features, including many that are continuously updated. New articles such as program reviews and discussions of "Topics of Interest" and "Issues of Concern" will likely go into the paid section, but when that happens, summaries and introductory material will be available to the general public.

those who want a private consultant. If you choose that, we will provide what we believe to be the most intensive support service of its kind available. We also provide the best services available to ensure that a family member accepts the help that is needed. Whether in person or online, we give you the best available in guidance when seeking private resources for a family member in need.

We have mostly completed our transition from our original website to our New Format.  What you see right now is our New Format. Some links in our New Format go to pages in the Old Format but most remaining content on the Old Format  is for archival purposes only. This is the Home Page in the New Format. You can tell when you are in the New Format by the clear presentation and the domain "" The Old Format has some distortion we have not been successful in removing; it shows the domain ""

Please read our full disclaimer. You are responsible for verifying our information before acting on it.

For more information on our online services, please see the following:

Virtual Consultant

For more information on our in-person consulting service, please see the following:

Consultant Services

For the latest on the most recent updates, additions, and improvements on this website, please see the following:

What's New?

For more information about using these websites, please see:

Navigating these Websites

History of this Website

Anyone  can write anything about anyone on the web. Usual legal remedies for defamation, slander, and libel do not work so well regarding postings on the web.  

If you see troubling information about a school or program or a professional, call  the organization or person being attacked to learn what they have so say.  The person you call will appreciate the call.  After you have heard all sides make your decision. If you just avoid services under attack without checking it out, you may miss a great opportunity.  Decisions are best made by considering multiple opinions.  That is true even where our opinions are at issue. You will note that when we know of credible people disagreeing with our opinion we often point that out on this website.

Last updated March 23, 2018

10 thoughts on “FamilyLight and Virtual Consultant

  1. My 25 year old son checked in to Benchmark Transitions this past Thursday 2/25. My first impression is extremely positive. I was introduced to everyone who will be involved in my son’s treatment. I was given a tour of the facility and his schedule of treatment was discussed. The next day I received a phone call from my son and one of his mentors. I also received an email with information pertaining to the Family Bridge, a portal where parents and family members can write to their loved one at Benchmark. I see photos of my son enjoying hiking and positive activities with his peer group. It is so important to me that I am “in the loop” and know what is happening with my son (even if he is an adult at 25). He had gone to another rehab last year and that experience was very different. Though we had an appointment, we were kept waiting for hours. I was never introduced to the staff, the program was never discussed. I was told that I could not see the rooms. They seemed disorganized and overwhelmed. Benchmark does feel warm, caring and like a family. The 18-25 age group is perfect for us. Aside from addiction recovery, my son is learning vocational, educational and life skills (such as money management, career counseling). I will post again after 6 months. So far, I feel optimistic and relieved.

  2. Hello I am so thrilled I found your webpage, I really found
    you by error, while I was looking on Aol for something else, Anyhow I am here now and
    would just like to say many thanks for a incredible
    post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the minute but I have book-marked it and also included
    your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please
    do keep up the superb b.

  3. My child is a resident at Innercept in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It’s been several months and I am getting concerned. Their communication is consistently vague, despite my requesting information over and over from a lot of people. They seem to dislike questions about their methods or their reasons for doing things. They don’t seem transparent. I think that many staff seem to care, but there seems to be an attitude that parents are peripheral to the process, that Innercept knows best. That we should trust them even though we’ve known our child his entire life. Communication between staff does not seem to be clear, and sometimes doesn’t happen. It is often difficult to get a reply to an email. We are told when we can and cannot see our child. I am trying to find out if they can simply deliver on what they promised, but it is very difficult to pin down any exact answers. Very little progress and I’m concerned. The program seems insular, not open at all to feedback. Looking for any similar experiences?

    • I encourage you to continue this discussion on the pages about Innercept.

      What you describe here is consistent with what prompted our concerns about Innercept, some years ago. We could not persuade the management of Innercept that they had an obligation to provide a treatment plan for our client that included objectively measurable and/ or decidable goals and objectives and reporting to us and to the family and then report to the family and to FamilyLight the progress that the client at issue was making in terms of those goals and objectives.

      While we profoundly disagree with Innercept’s management on this matter we also want to affirm that we believe that the procedures Innercept was following was what they conscientiously believed was in the best interests of their clients. We understood that they believed that to provide the kind of treatment plan we believed was a basic standard in mental health services risked tying the hands of the treatment team, denying them the opportunity to adjust to future developments that could not be anticipated.

      A bit more than a year ago, a consultant whom we strongly respect and admire asked us to eliminate our negative commentary on this website regarding Innercept. Her position appeared to be that if the shortcomings we listed on our website ever existed, corrections had been made and our criticisms were, at best, not current. We responded that we were glad to hear that. However since Innercept management had cut off communication when we raised these issues in our position as consultant to a family with a young woman in their care. We went on to say, that even if the procedures in the program had been adjusted to the better, we simply could not lend our reputation to this facility until it became clear that Innercept management would keep communication open in response to professionally appropriate criticism. Our bottom line was that if our report is to be removed or revised to be more positive, at the very least, we needed to hear from Innercept management.

      We never heard from Innercept management. After waiting a reasonable amount of time we went back to the consultant at issue and invited her to write a response to our review expressing strong disagreement. She never provided that.

      In general we believe Innercept is operated with integrity but we cannot put our reputation behind referrals to them until we can have open communication even in times of disagreement with reporting on clients in a concrete manner. Sue’s comments do remind us of our own observations of this program so many years ago.

      Sue, you are in a very difficult position. People with mental health issues need to be connected to friends and family who do not function according to the “Drama Triangle.” Our experience is that the managers at Innercept retreat to the Drama triangle when faced with any kind of criticism. You will need to be very careful and deliberate as you proceed, in order to challenge appropriately, without joining Innercept on the Drama Triangle.

      Readers: Please add your own thoughts on this, preferably on the “Innercept” page or the “Innercept — Introduction” page.

  4. Hello. I am considering Innercept for my immature 14 year old son. Primary diagnoses are High Functioning Autism, Depression, Anxiety and OCD. His dominant issue is using suicidal ideation when he feels rejected in social encounters with peers. His dominant need is social cognition education. He has deep attachment issues and tends to fall apart when separated from family. I’m interested in a program that really promotes communication /integration with the family and worry based on comments.

    Would appreciate any insight from this community . . .

    • I suggest you also leave a note on the Innercept full review and Innercept Introduction pages.

      I’m having some difficulty getting a clear picture here. “Depression, Anxiety” allow a very wide range of severity. OCD is usually not diagnosed as a separate concern when Autism is present (even very high functioning autism), as autism often expresses itself through OCD-like symptoms. Depression and anxiety often accompany Autism but are likely to be diagnosed separately. “Attachment” means different things to different clinicians.

      When we at FamilyLight regularly referred to Innercept, the primary relevant factor at Innercept that prompted that choice was that Dr. Ullrich had (and we believe still has) privileges at the nearby psychiatric hospital. To the best of my recollection we never referred anyone there apart from presenting information that suggested a significant risk that psychiatric hospitalization would be needed and continuity of care would be maintained. At that time, we would not have suggested that Innercept should not be considered apart from that situation but I don’t recall it being our first recommendation apart from that factor.

      I am especially concerned about Innercept for you, given this: “I’m interested in a program that really promotes communication /integration with the family.” Unless you can speak with other parents who can confirm that this is no longer an issue with Innercept, I suggest caution. Ask Innercept Admission for parent references, then contact the parents they suggest. When you speak to the parents they suggest, ask them for contact information of additional references, not suggested by Innercept. If they tell you this is no longer an issue, listen to them.

      I can say firmly that at no time would we have considered Innercept for a person with an RAD or DSED diagnosis.

      As you describe your son, I would consider the following programs. Please note that it is not possible that all of these programs are appropriate. We are giving a range of programs based on both what you have said and what we do not know. Hopefully, at least one would be worthy of consideration along with Innercept:

      I hope this is helpful.


  5. Hi,

    I was wondering, are you able to indicated updated reviews or new school reviews in an easier to find manner? Also, how do new schools get on your radar? There are a few I’ve heard of that you haven’t reviewed (or reviewed recently) and I was curious. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Captcha: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.