Looking to invest in building some specific skills?  Could you use some support getting your proverbial ducks in a row?  One of our core services is individual coaching with a Therapeutic Coach.   The content of any coaching session is completely customized to each individual’s needs, goals and personality.  This is a highly flexible format, that allows Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) & Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) informed concepts to be learned and practised in real-life situations that are custom made for your specific situation.

Our team of enthusiastic, energetic Therapeutic Coaches are carefully matched to suit you or your child’s interests and needs. They collaborate regularly with their supervising Social Worker in order to design an individualized plan, and then meet with you or your child/teen for 60-90 minutes of active and engaging coaching to activate the plan, usually on a weekly or biweekly basis for at least six to eight sessions at a time.

Therapeutic Coaching can happen in different settings:

  • In your home (currently available for fully vaccinated households only)
    90-minute sessions, $200 (including travel within a 10km radius of our clinic)
  • In our Ancaster clinic
    60-minute sessions, $150
  • In the community
    Can be either 60 or 90 minutes depending on the activity/goal

Content is highly personalized, and depends on your specific goals, interests and needs.  Therapeutic Coaching is also available to people of all ages working through specific challenges in your home, school or workplace, helping adults with intellectual disabilities learn and practice life skills, working with adults on the Autism Spectrum facing social challenges, or for parents who want help setting up systems & plans to change the dynamic of their household for the better.  Generally, coaching content usually falls into one of three categories:  executive function skills, social skills, or self-regulation.

Executive Function Skills

Executive Function Skills are the set of mental organization skills that allow you to make plan and execute plans effectively.  Hence, if you struggle with executive function, it can affect just about everything you do! (Check out this 2021 article on EF skills)   An EF coaching session could tackle anything from rearranging your physical space to create smoother systems for your daily life, to learning how to use a calendar effectively and planning out your semester together.  Sessions could include:

  • Establishing time awareness and time management systems in the home/school/work environment (visual, audio, alarms, digital)
  • Working on personal and mental organization strategies (prioritizing, chunking & charting, harnessing focus)
  • ‘Bedroom Bootcamps’ – blitzing your study/living space in order to remove clutter and distractions, create some logical flow for everyday tasks, and set up a system that works for each person to thrive in their personal environment using the ‘life hacks’ that work for them
  • Planning and executing targeted challenges, such as taking public transit to a particular location or learning to walk the route to school independently
  • Digital organization (help organizing out-of-control files into folders and reshape your digital life into a logical, easy-to-navigate format)

Social Skills

Our success in life depends on our ability to interact appropriately with the people around us.  But what does ‘appropriate’ actually mean?  The unspoken rules of social behaviour are pretty tough to follow for many people!  Think about the difference between intimate space, personal space and social space, and the consequences that might follow if you break these invisible protocols in public – especially during times of heightened public health awareness.  How do you know when a conversation should be over, or how to start a new conversation with someone you haven’t met before without coming off  ‘creepy’?  How do you know the right time and place for a joke, if sometimes joking gets you in trouble – but other times it makes people laugh and like you?

If you have difficulty interpreting body language, tone of voice and facial expressions, you have to rely on the literal words someone is saying and your situational context to make sense of a conversation.  Children and adults on the Autism Spectrum, as well as those managing ADHD or other communication challenges can experience daily frustration and fatigue navigating these constantly moving targets.

However the good news is, even if these social skills don’t come to us naturally, we can learn how to be in healthy relationships with others through repeated practice and safe, controlled exposure to a variety of social situations, experiments, and rules of thumb.  Social skills coaching might involve some explicit ‘Social Thinking’ training, but would also include lots of chances to put your learning into action through things like:

  • ‘People Watching’ in a public space to practice identifying and naming emotions in others
  • Carrying out a transaction at a store to practice Covid-safety measures & expected behaviours in public
  • Visiting a library or public facility to learn how to access and utilize community spaces while interacting with others
  • Playing a board game (and losing) or using sport-based activities to practice social skills and build resilience and flexibility

Self-Regulation Skills

“Self-regulation can be defined in various ways. In the most basic sense, it involves controlling one’s behaviour, emotions, and thoughts in the pursuit of long-term goals. More specifically, emotional self-regulation refers to the ability to manage disruptive emotions and impulses.  In other words, to think before acting. It also reflects the ability to cheer yourself up after disappointments and to act in a way consistent with your deepest held values.” (excerpt from verywellmind.com)

Self-regulation is all about developing the ability to ride out the minor distresses we all cope with every day, to identify the size of your problem and modulate your response accordingly, and to do so in a way that keeps your relationship with yourself and others intact and healthy.  In a coaching session that focuses on self-regulation, you might be doing some explicit learning about body-brain connections and physical hacks that help reduce your ‘spikes’, or you might be taking your theories into the world by doing things such as:

  • Coping with a germ phobia by visiting a public bathroom
  • Gradually overcoming a needle phobia ahead of a vaccination
  • Drawing or writing with your coach as a way to name and express emotions
  • Going for a walk or a run on one of our local trails while learning DBT or CBT informed concepts with a coach
  • Creating strategic opportunities to improve distress tolerance by including activities that involve minor challenges like waiting in lines, coping with multiple transitions, or dealing with unexpected interruptions & last minute plan-changes
  • Mindfulness training and practice
  • Using music, songwriting or rhythm to soothe and express yourself
  • Sewing, baking, crafting or interacting with our therapy animals while learning skills with your coach

Get in touch if you’d like to book a series of coaching sessions and let us know the best way to contact you to get the ball rolling.  Note – we often curate ‘mini-groups’ of up to 3 individuals who are working on similar goals.  Talk to us if you have a sibling or friend group you’d like to work with!