Client Services offers a variety of group-based programs addressing the complex needs which can arise for individuals after brain injury.
We also create customized groups for our clients based on need.
Mondays, 10:00 am to 12:30 pm
The Cooking Group is an opportunity for clients with brain injury to learn or re-learn how to prepare simple, healthy meals that follow the Canada Food Guide. Facilitated by Laura Plummer, a member of our Community Support Team, clients are taught at their own pace how to be independent in the kitchen.
Cooking classes cover such things as:
- healthy and inexpensive menu planning
- making nutritious choices
- shopping tips and budgeting
- safe food preparation
Each class ends with the group participants sharing a meal together. Participants also receive copies of all of the recipes, so they can cook these meals again at home.
The Cooking Group would be of interest to those who:
- want guidance in learning to cook for themselves
- want to expand their skill in the kitchen
- would enjoy preparing and sharing meals with others
Art Therapy Group
Mondays, 1:00 to 2:30 pm
The Art Therapy Group meets weekly to explore opportunities for self-expression through art. This group is taught by full-time artists, Lisa Hewitt and Carney Oudendag, who provide participants an opportunity to become familiar with a variety of art materials and forms of artistic expression through a discovery-oriented approach. It is based on the understanding that anyone can be creative in some form or another - no previous art experience is necessary. Participants keep a collection of their work in a personalized mixed media art journal.
Members of the art therapy group have done such things as:
- painted abstract images on canvas
- learned to use alcohol inks
- experimented with creating Picasso-style cubist portraits
- collaborated as a group to create one abstract painting
The Art Therapy Group is of interest to those who:
- are interested in 'playing' with art materials
- would like to discover their creative side
- want to share time with others in a friendly, supportive environment
- want a unique way to relieve stress
- had previous experience with any form of art (thought this is definitely not required)
Guided Meditation and Gentle Yoga
Tuesdays, 11:00 am to 12:15 pm
The Yoga for Relaxation group is an opportunity for individuals at all levels of skill or experience to participate in a gentle, restorative yoga practice. In this class, the focus is on holding fewer poses for longer periods of time. Props are used to assist you with the poses, allowing you to completely relax and let go.
Benefits of participating in yoga for relaxation include:
- enhanced flexibility
- deep physical relaxation
- stills the mind
- soothing to the nervous system
- develops qualities of compassion and understanding toward others and self
- enhances mood state
This class is led by volunteer yoga instructor, Bonita Summers, who provides a safe, nurturing environment tailored to the individual needs of those with brain injury.
This class will be of interest to those who:
- experience anxiety
- have difficulty quieting the mind
- struggle with balance, coordination, or flexibility
- have difficulty sleeping
This class takes place in a large, quiet space at the BrainTrust Canada offices. Yoga mats are provided. Class size is kept very small.
Return to Balance
Tuesdays, 1:00 to 2:30 pm
This group is based on balancing five pillars of wellness - the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of ourselves. Concepts covered in the group include:
- redefining self after brain injury
- adjusting to the 'new you'
- identifying what gives you meaning in your life
- tools and coaching for optimal living
- relationship strategies
The Return to Balance Group provides many opportunities to participate and share both successes and challenges. In hearing each other's stories group members find that they are not alone in navigating life with a brain injury. Strong friendships are often formed as both self-esteem and self-awareness increase.
This group is suitable for those who are:
- struggling to let go of their former life
- having difficulty understanding or accepting their brain injury
- seeking greater empowerment in their life
- wanting to be more social
- wanting support in learning how to regulate their emotions
One Tuesday/month, 7:00 to 9:00 pm
The Leisure Club meets once a month on a Tuesday evening to enjoy a social outing in the community. One or more Community Support Facilitators from BrainTrust accompanies the group on each outing. Activities that the group attends are coordinated by a Community Support Facilitator and are based on requests from group members as well as availability of events in the community. Outings could include such things as the following:
- going to the movies
- going bowling
- attending a poetry reading
- attending a community-based cultural event ( i.e. Okanagan College Youth Powwow)
The Leisure Club could be a good fit for you if you:
- like meeting new people
- are ready to make some new friends
- want to get out and socialize
- want more fun in your life!
Caregiver Support Group
2nd Wednesday of the month, 5:00 to 6:30 pm
We recognize that the use of 'natural supports' such as family, friends, and peers is one of the most valuable ways for our clients to be assisted in living as independently as possible. The Caregiver Support Group is geared toward preventing burnout of these essential support people.
The goals of the Caregiver Support Group are to:
- create a peer support network for caregivers/family members/friends of individuals with brain injury
- provide an opportunity to share experiences/challenges on the recovery journey
- provide self-care tools and strategies for caregivers
- share useful resources related to brain injury
- strengthen understanding of how relationships can change after injury and provide new relationship strategies
This group will be of interest:
- to anyone in the role of caregiver or support person of someone with brain injury
- at any point in the recovery journey - whether it's Day 1 or several years post-injury
Path to Employment Program
Thursdays, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
(Offered 3 times per year)
This 12-week employment readiness program is offered 3 times per year. It provides a strengths-based, person-centred approach to preparing those with acquired brain injury for employment, and consists of both weekly group sessions and personalized individual sessions with the program coordinator. Each cycle of the program can accommodate up to 5 clients who qualify.
Those who qualify can participate in this 12-week program during one of the following cycles:
- Cycle 1: Oct - Dec
- Cycle 2: Jan - Mar
- Cycle 3: Apr - June
- Program Introduction - Goals, Expectations and Discovery
- Computer Skills - Resume Building - Cover Letters
- Exploring Job Options - Strategies for Success
- Job Placements and Coaching
- Successful, Sustainable Employment
Outcomes depend on individual client goals which are carefully selected to reflect 'best fit' for each client. We recognize that not all clients will choose to seek traditional employment. While some program participants may find a job, others may be placed as a volunteer or be supported in creating a plan to return to school.
This program is funded by the Dr. Gur Singh Grant provided through the British Columbia Brain Injury Alliance.
Peer Support Group
Thursdays, 1:30 to 3:00 pm
The Peer Support Group is an opportunity to meet with other individuals with brain injury to discuss and share experiences that are related to both brain injury and the community at large. The content and activities of the group evolve with its members.
Participants in the peer support group may:
- receive resources and information for coping with life after brain injury
- examine and share new research in neurology
- host a guest speaker or attend a lecture in the community together
- co-facilitate a session for the other members of the group on a topic of shared interest
The Peer Support Group would be of interest to those who:
- had a professional career prior to their injury
- have an interest in current brain research
- are interested in 'paying it forward' by contributing in some way to the field of brain injury
Cognitive Enhancement Group
Fridays, 10:30 to 11:30 am
The Cognitive Enhancement Group provides an opportunity for individuals with brain injury to receive assistance with cognitive rehabilitation in a group setting. Participating in the activities provided can enhance the person's ability to process and interpret information and perform mental functions.
This group is designed to 'enhance' (not replace) the work of others who are a part of the individual's recovery process i.e.) speech-language pathologists, social workers, occupational therapists, physician, etc.
Activities are tailored as much as possible to the needs of the group members, and address cognitive deficits that occur after brain injury such as:
- impaired attention
- decreased concentration
- easy distractibility
- impaired memory
- poor judgment
- poor executive function (goal setting, problem solving, time management, managing day-to-day tasks)
The Cognitive Enhancement Group fits those at any stage of recovery following brain injury whether the individual is newly diagnosed or sustained a brain injury years ago.
Fridays, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Brain Jam is a client-inspired, client-led group that runs on a drop-in basis. Anyone with an interest in music is welcome to attend - no musical experience necessary.
This group will appeal to those who:
- enjoy music
- might be interested in playing an instrument, drumming, singing along, songwriting
- want to share their enjoyment in music with others
Potential benefits of attending Brain Jam include:
- fun socialization with others through music
- stress relief
- uplifted mood
- sensory and intellectual stimulation
Brain Jam is always looking for new members. Drop in and join in the fun - no pre-registration required.
Fridays, 2:00 to 3:00 pm
We also call this group, Walking with Jasco. Every Friday afternoon, Amanda Blair and her dog, Jasco, meet up with clients from BrainTrust and go for a walk. Clients enjoy Jasco's calm, gentle nature and all the attention they get when out walking with him in the community.
Walking with Jasco will appeal to those who:
- enjoy being outdoors
- are looking for companionship and opportunities to socialize
- are animal lovers (though not required to join the group walk)
Potential benefits of walking with Jasco include:
- making new friends while walking
- learning more about the community; community integration
- stress relief; uplifted mood
This is a drop-in group - no pre-registration required. Come join us for a walk with Jasco.
Substance Use and Brain Injury (SUBI) Group
- 20% of people who do not have a substance use problem before brain injury become vulnerable to substance use after injury
- using substances greatly increases the chances of a second injury
( Substance Use/Brain Injury Bridging Project.)
The SUBI program was developed as a treatment alternative for clients whose cognitive impairments precluded their treatment in mainstream substance use programs. Acknowledging that clients with brain injury may be struggling with fatigue, cognitive challenges, and/or behavioural difficulties, it is delivered at a slower pace with repetition as needed. Expectations are adjusted to meet the individual needs of group members.
The purpose of this 8-week program is to provide participants with education and treatment information on substance use following a brain injury. It includes setting goals for recovery, tools for self-care, understanding the risks of using substances after brain injury, and signs and strategies for managing a 'slip'.