Group Programs

Client Services offers a variety of group-based programs addressing the complex needs which can arise for individuals after brain injury.

We also create some customized groups for individuals who are experiencing similar journeys.  These groups consist of 4-6 people who meet to discuss the experience of having a brain injury, learn and share post-injury strategies, and re-envision life after injury. Customized groups are held off-site and are by invitation only, as we work carefully to bring together clients with similar situations such as stage of injury, family dynamics, career history, etc.

NOTE:  CLIENTS MUST PRE-REGISTER to attend most group programs.  Any group that runs on a drop-in basis will indicate this in the group description.  Please read all group descriptions carefully.

TO REGISTER FOR A GROUP PROGRAM or MAKE AN INQUIRY ABOUT A CUSTOMIZED GROUP, please call Amanda McFarlane, Group Programs and Education Manager, at 250-762-3233, ext. 115 or send her an email.

Sole Survivors Walking Group
Mondays, 9:00 to 10:00 am and Fridays, 9:00 to 10:00 am

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Walking is a form of exercise that can help improve brain function as well as improve overall health, balance, and coordination. This group meets on Monday and Friday mornings at the BrainTrust office, and ventures off on foot to explore beautiful downtown Kelowna.

The Sole Survivors Walking Group is of interest to those who:

  • want to improve their physical wellness
  • enjoy being outdoors
  • are looking for companionship and opportunities to socialize

Potential benefits of the walking group  include:

  • improved balance and coordination
  • improved cognitive function
  • stress relief; uplifted mood
  • learning more about the community; community integration

This is a drop-in group -- no pre-registration required.

Cooking Group
Mondays, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm

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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

Clients must pre-register to attend this group.

Guided Meditation and Gentle Yoga
Tuesdays, 11:00 am to 12:15 pm

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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 small.

Clients must pre-register to attend this group.

Return to Balance
Tuesdays, 1:00 to 2:30 pm

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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

Clients must pre-register to attend this group.

Leisure Club
One Tuesday/month, 7:00 to 9:00 pm

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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!

Clients must pre-register to attend this group.

i-Pad Drop-In
Wednesdays, 10:00 to 12:00 pm

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This is an opportunity for clients to drop in (no pre-registration required) and use one of BrainTrust's iPads to practise iPad skills, or use one of many suitable iPad apps that can help with brain function, creativity, and maintaining social connections. Clients can work on, but are not limited to:

  • cognitive enhancement apps
  • news and current events
  • Garage Band and music apps
  • housing and job searches
  • socialization via email and Facebook

This group is suitable for all clients who have some knowledge of internet and technology.  There is no BrainTrust facilitator for this drop-in; clients who will need help in using an iPad should see Marcie McLeod, Director of Client Services, for information on scheduling a time for one-on-one iPad training.

Resource Navigation & Support
Wednesdays, 12:00 to 2:00 pm

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BrainTrust Canada provides this drop-in opportunity (no pre-registration required) every Wednesday from 12:00 to 2:00 pm.  Without booking an appointment people are welcome to stop by to complete an intake process, get assistance in finding and accessing community resources, and get help with completing required paperwork.

If we can't help, we do our best to connect people with the resources that can.

Resource Navigation and Support is suitable for those who:

  • want to know more about accessing the individual or group services provided by BrainTrust Canada
  • want help in finding housing, applying for jobs, completing disability forms, etc.
  • want to learn where else in the community they can find support for their needs

Return to Balance - Sobriety Circle
Wednesdays, 1:30 to 3:00 pm

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This group provides a safe, non-judgmental, healing environment by utilizing a holistic approach that promotes a lifestyle free from addictions, and restores pride and hope after sustaining an Acquired Brain Injury. Each week we share resources and skills that serve as tools for clients seeking their own personal sobriety goals.

This group is suitable for those who are:

  • ready to set sobriety goals
  • wanting the support of others who are in a similar situation
  • looking for tools and strategies to help them reach and/or maintain their sobriety goals

 

Clients must pre-register to attend this group.

Caregiver Support Group
2nd Wednesday of the month, 5:00 to 6:30 pm

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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

Clients must pre-register to attend this group.

Healing Art
Thursdays, 10:00 to11:30 am

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The Healing Art Group meets weekly to explore opportunities for self-expression through art.  This group is taught by artist, Noelle Nadeau Khoo, who provides 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 Healing Art 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)

Clients must pre-register to attend this group.

NOTE:  This group is currently full.  To join the waiting list, please contact Amanda McFarlane.

Art Group Projects

Path to Employment Program
Thursdays, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
(Offered 3 times per year)

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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 Outline:

  • 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.

Clients must meet employment program guidelines to attend this group.

Peer Support Group
Thursdays, 1:30 to 3:00 pm

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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

Clients must pre-register to attend this group.

Cognitive Enhancement Group
Fridays, 10:30 to 11:30 am

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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.

Clients must pre-register to attend this group.

Brain Jam
Fridays, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm

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Brain Jam is a client-inspired, client-led group that runs on a drop-in basis (no pre-registration required).  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.

Amanda

For more information or to inquire about joining a group program

contact Amanda McFarlane,
Group Programs and Education Manager, BrainTrust Canada