I had the pleasure recently to talk with one of Latham’s excellent clinicians in the Children’s Program, Melissa Hyer. I wanted to understand better what the “average” day was like for this group of staff who work so closely with students to help them deal with the sometimes overwhelming challenges they face.
Our clinicians are typically assigned to 7 or 8 students. Melissa currently has 7 on her caseload and she meets with each of them at least twice a week for 45 minutes to an hour. In addition, each clinician meets weekly for one hour with a group of students to work on social skills. These meetings often start with a mindfulness exercise and a validation, where students identify something positive about themselves and also about another student. An activity like role-playing might be used to work on communication skills, how to be respectful and kind and how to positively stand up for yourself.
Clinicians use several types of therapy with individual students including art therapy, play therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. When Melissa meets with one of the children on her caseload, she reviews significant events that have occurred and reinforces coping skills. Sometimes family therapy occurs as well with parents.
Melissa and the other clinicians work closely with residential and school staff and multi-disciplinary team meetings are conducted weekly. Each student has a behavioral support plan that is reviewed by the team quarterly and sometimes more frequently, as needed. It’s at these meetings that the team gets together to discuss what interventions are having a positive impact on behaviors and what the current challenges are.
Latham Centers has an extremely dedicated clinical team who play a vital role in preparing our students to lead meaningful, abundant lives.