Life skills are the abilities that humans acquire to become adaptive and effectively cope with natural changes and challenges throughout the lifespan. These abilities are also known as “psychosocial competencies” and are necessary for developing self-reliance, motivation and maintaining a sense of self-esteem. Lifeskills South Florida helps individuals find their responsibility and encourages independent functioning. Behavioral issues and maladaptive patterns typically stunt natural capabilities and require a supportive and nurturing milieu for moving toward productivity and satisfaction.
Lifeskills has multiple facets of the program that support authentic change and wellbeing, including self-care, cooking, budgeting/money management, resume building, nutrition, interpersonal relationships and vocational support.
Townhome Style Living
Lifeskills South Florida is proud to offer premier quality townhome accommodations that provide a deliberate “forced socialization” model. Upon admission, clients are shown to their room which boasts brand new linens and a welcome basket, assembled both personally and carefully by the residential support staff.
With a typical capacity of four residents per apartment, clients quickly acclimate to Lifeskills living, as encouraged by their “peer buddy” and “Behavioral Health Technician buddy.” During the early admission process, clients choose a favorite meal which is delivered to the facility. This meal is a prime opportunity for the new client to meet and break bread with their clinically assigned peer buddy. Following an introduction of the Behavioral Health Technician buddy, it is our mission during this interaction to answer questions before they are asked, to both welcome and settle new guests.
Seamlessly, our staff addresses all components of the remaining admission process to allow for a gentle introduction to our program.
Clients’ initial grocery order is compiled on a tablet and delivered, to offset any need for interrupting the adjustment to residential treatment. Lifeskills team members will work in a 1:1 manner with clients, to assist in helping to budget and choose healthy meal options for a full calendar week. In keeping with our offered services, appropriate adjustments are made to plan and prepare for our catered dinner on Saturday evenings, and Sunday Community BBQ, during this process.
Townhome inspections are undertaken across the facility at the beginning of the first clinical group of the day at 10:30 am, and following a weekly Deep Cleaning – where more varied approaches to cleaning can be practiced. Behavioral Health Technicians and Supervisors assess the need for individual interventions, apartment “freezes,” supportive clinical interventions, and conversely recognition and validation. These sentiments are communicated both in real-time as well as at large, weekly, during Community Group.
Behavioral Health Technicians conduct digital rounds every 30, 15, or 10 minutes, based on clinical judgment and recommendation. We utilize a cloud-based system to oversee the rounds tablet, which extends our oversight of the community. This functionality provides staff the ability to track client progress and performance. Radios provide cross-facility communication and broader notation for each client, thrice daily, in the 24-hour Behavior Log.
New clients will attend a “New Admission Group” together – the contents of which are inspired by a “between the lines” format, modeling the client handbook. Lifeskills Support Staff will orient the group to the facility layout, touching on regions such as the Tech Office and the common room we affectionately call the “Fish Bowl.” Support Rooms are introduced as options for clients who feel the need to be near staff. These precious assets to the program assist us in breaking the cycle of emotional dysregulation and hospitalization, and solidify the foundation for further Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) coaching and heighten the probability in the utilization of and competence in coping skills. Chores are assigned as we assess differing skill sets and need for more intensive facilitation, tutorials, and additional oversight.
Our preference for clients that may encounter interpersonal challenges with others is to confront disagreements and differences head-on and work towards conflict resolution. This can be achieved through both operations as well as clinical pathways, as our staff strives to meet clients where they are.
These dynamics are examined in detail every morning in Treatment Team, daily Morning Reflections, weekly Community Group, and weekly House Meetings. Male and female clients meet separately at the beginning of the day, to attend Morning Reflections Group, where both individual, apartment, and community concerns are discussed and addressed.
Nutrition at Lifeskills
Each client partakes in developing meal plans and uses an allotted amount of funds for grocery shopping. Meal planning and budgeting are supported, as well as using interpersonal skills for sharing and “helping ech other at meal times.”
During shopping trips, clients are transported to the grocery store while staff remains in possession of the finances. In addition to ensuring safety, team members will work with clients to budget the funds that Lifeskills provides for the following week. By establishing professional relationships with clients, our clinicians can see where there may be a need for support in the decision-making process of outlining balanced options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Staff engages clients in a dialogue concerning techniques and approaches to planning, preparing and cooking, which is also further discussed during either group or individual consultation with our nutritionist. Nutrition groups teach healthy ways of thinking about food and living the healthiest lifestyle possible and increasing feelings of self-pride. Clients are impressed with the ways that nutrition can aid in the recovery process and prevent relapse. Our nursing department offers the opportunity to focus on improving physical health in their regularly scheduled “Body and Health Group.”
Learning Life Skills
While clients work to build life skills, our staff employs a careful combination of listening and teaching. We have found that clients encounter their evidence-based practice by trial and error through chore rotation, budgeting, shopping, cooking and living in harmony with peers. We look forward to achieving this ideal in every client that approaches us for help.
As clients begin to awaken their sense of potential, they are made aware of the computer lab and assisted with vocational issues as needed. Goals to create a resume, address good working habits, increase organizational skills and secure volunteer work or part-time employment are a valuable part of the treatment plan.
Daily trips to the gym, water aerobics, and yoga classes enable the clients to work on their body and mind simultaneously. Crucial yoga disciplines are taught and practiced daily. These morning sessions are a complement to our weekly evening yoga course, which specifically assists clients that struggle with sleep – among a myriad of other benefits such as stress-reduction and relaxation techniques
Our goal is to empower our clients with self-esteem, direction, and balance to live an independent life outside of treatment. We continue to strive to be a center of excellence where clients can adapt to newly learned skills and live life to the fullest.