group treatments for children, Teens and adults

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❧ Treatment For Preschoolers, Children and Teens with ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD or ADD) affects from 7-9% of children and is the most genetic of all disorders. ADHD can take quite a toll on both children and the adults who care for them. Their lives are frequently disrupted by disorganization, forgetfulness, distractibility, fidgetiness, outbursts or misbehaviour. Further, approximately 33% of children with ADHD have academic problems, 12% get held back a grade and nearly 10% of teens with ADHD drop out of school if left untreated. Teenagers with ADHD will often score a full letter grade lower than other teens, even when controlling for academic skills.


We aim to provide families with the tools needed to better understand and handle problem behaviours when they arise. The scientific literature has shown behaviour therapy to be the only type of psychosocial treatment that is effective for ADHD, and the West Island Neuropsychology and Counseling Centre offers cognitive behavioural therapy in group as well as individual format. We also include mindfulness meditation in all our group programs, as it has been shown to have multiple benefits for health and functioning.

Note that while medication is extremely effective and is the treatment of choice for children and adults, behavioural interventions can be an excellent companion. In fact, a recent study from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found that a combination of drug therapy and CBT was more effective at controlling ADHD symptoms than was drug therapy alone. Furthermore, the CDC strongly recommends that whenever possible, children under the age of six be treated behaviourally before medication is considered.

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Group Format:

  • 10 sessions of 90 minutes each; maximum 8 children or teens and their parents per group
  • The children and parents each work with their own therapists, covering the same material from a different perspective. The groups come together to share an activity for the last 20 minutes of the session
  • We start by introducing ADHD and the essential components of treatment. Each session then covers a general theme (e.g., task completion, good listening, impulse control, time management, organization, interpersonal skills), presented via videos, games, modeling and role playing
  • Parents and children have an opportunity to practice skills in session
  • Each session also includes a homework exercise/practice that is reviewed at the beginning of subsequent sessions
  • Handouts are given to summarize the session and the home exercise

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❧ Treatment For Adults with ADHD

ADHD can be just as difficult for adults as it is for children. We may no longer have to deal with the stresses of school life (sitting all day in oft-boring classes, studying and taking exams, getting assignments done and handed in on time, making sure we look right), but the demands of work and family – especially for parents - present their own challenges. In fact, research clearly shows a substantial impact of adult ADHD on almost all aspects of life: work, home, relationships, finances and mental and physical health.

Format:*

  • 10 sessions of 75 minutes each, maximum 12 persons per group
  • Introduction to essential components of treatment (first session only), followed by emphasis on skills such as organization, time management, impulse control, self-regulation and interpersonal skills
  • New material is presented via videos, modeling and role playing, with opportunities for in-session practice
  • Home exercises/practices are assigned each week and reviewed the following week
  • Handouts are given to summarize the session and home exercise

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❧ Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) Groups for Teens and Adults

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DBT theory suggests that for some people, their arousal levels in emotional situations - especially those related to relationships - can increase far more quickly than the average person’s. They attain a higher level of emotional stimulation and it takes far longer for them to return to baseline arousal levels. DBT can be particularly beneficial for those with borderline personality disorder (BPD), who experience extreme swings in their emotions, see the world in black-and-white, struggle with their self-image and seem to go through one crisis after another. Our DBT groups teach well-established methods for coping with these sudden, intense surges of emotion in a non-judgmental, accepting environment.

Typically, group members also attend individual therapy sessions to reinforce concepts learned in group and to encourage adaptive behaviours. This is also a place to deal with problems that occurred during the week as well as self-injurious behaviours. Individual therapy can be provided at our clinic or can occur elsewhere.

In the weekly, 90-minute group therapy sessions, people learn skills from one of four different modules: interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance/reality acceptance skills, emotion regulation, and mindfulness skills.

For more information or to register for a DBT group, contact us at admin@wincc.ca or at 514-505-9462.

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❧ Mindfulness Meditation Program for Children and Teens

Mindfulness Training can help students learn to manage and even reduce their stress levels, shifting gears in the brain and the nervous system. Our unique programs, M4K: Mindfulness 4 Kids and M4T: Mindfulness 4 Teens, combine established training methods with empirically validated cognitive behavioural techniques. We offer concrete, accessible tools to reduce reactivity, stabilize emotions and bring the cortical regions of the brain back "online". The results? Calmer, happier students, improved academics and a more pleasant, more manageable classroom.

Research on Mindfulness Training for children and teens reveals several core benefits, both in and out of the classroom. These benefits include:

  • Better focus and concentration.
  • Increased sense of calm.
  • Decreased stress and anxiety.
  • Improved impulse control.
  • Increased self-awareness.
  • More skillful responses to difficult emotions.
  • Increased empathy and reduced aggression/bullying.
  • Development of conflict resolution skills.

Click here for a brief video on the benefits of Mindfulness for youth.

M4K: Mindfulness 4 Kids and M4T: Mindfulness 4 Teens are taught on a weekly basis. Young children do shorter, more physical practices interspersed with games and hands-on activities. Older students have a greater capacity for understanding, so the Mindfulness 4 Teens program offers more explanation and group discussion, along with longer, more advanced mindfulness practices. Teens also have access to a dedicated Facebook page where they can discuss or ask questions about their experiences.

Private courses comprise nine one-hour weekly sessions, including an introductory session for parents. Class sizes run from a minimum of 5 children to a maximum of 15, and are grouped according to developmental stage. Note that concurrent Mindful Parenting classes are available on demand.

❧ Mindfulness Meditation Program for Adults

For adults, Mindfulness Meditation has many well-established benefits to both physical and emotional well-being. In addition to a positive impact on health (e.g., improvements in anxiety, depression, cardiovascular symptoms, immune response, cancer recovery, pain response and more), Mindfulness also teaches us to shift gears in the brain and nervous system, allowing us to respond more calmly and function more effectively in life. According to recent research, in as little as six weeks of daily practice, Mindfulness Training has been shown to produce changes in the brain, building up areas associated with calm and resilience, while diminishing the parts related to anxiety and reactivity.

In effect, these brain changes translate into more adaptive, responsive functioning. At work, Mindfulness practitioners have been found to be more collaborative, productive and efficient, with lower rates of interpersonal conflict, job stress and burnout. At home, Mindfulness practice can lead to more patient parenting, reduced stress and anxiety, and enhanced interpersonal relationships. In any environment, the outcome is greater well-being and an improved quality of life.

Our adult programs, Mindfulness for Adults, Mindful Parenting, Mindfulness at Work and Mindful Aging can be taught individually or in group format, on site at your office or school, or at our private West Island clinic. The recommended - and most popular - training comprises 10 weekly, one-hour classes, but training can be tailored to your specific needs in terms of duration and scheduling.

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Ψ Social Emotional Skills Groups

Children who have difficulty with social skills and/or behaviour often need guidance and encouragement to help them visualize and and then implement new ways of functioning. Telling them - even if it's over and over - is not usually enough! At the West Island Neuropsychology and Counseling Centre, our group facilitators teach essential skills through video demonstrations, modelling, role playing and practice opportunities during fun activities. With regular rehearsal and coaching, children can improve their self-control, coping abilities and social skills (e.g., communication, participation, cooperation, good sportsmanship, conflict resolution). Our groups also focus on emotion regulation and distress tolerance, key components of resilience and well-being. Learning how to express their needs and feelings, behave appropriately in stressful situations and make and keep friends can increase a child’s overall self-confidence. Children are taught how to apply what they've learned into their outside environment, and once the group is finished, we offer optional follow-up services at home, in the daycare or at school.

Every child has a unique set of strengths and abilities. We believe that building on those strengths helps to instil positive self-esteem and provides children the confidence required to take charge of their own lives and to have a positive impact on the world around them.

Our 10-week Social Emotional Skills Groups are offered for children ages 3-6 (60 minutes), 7-10 and 12-14 (90 minutes). Classes are also available for older children with special needs. Weekly sessions can be scheduled after school or on weekends. Contact us for more information!

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