Learning how to participate in the community and partake in normal, every day activities can be a challenge. Socializing with friends and coworkers, going to the movies or riding a bike are simple pleasures and ways to release stress that most of us enjoy as a natural part of life. For individuals struggling with homelessness, mental health issues, or a brain injury, these activities don’t always come naturally. In reaction to the crisis in their lives – whether medical, psychiatric, or financial – many of our clients become withdrawn. It is our goal to restore our clients’ independence, and part of this process is building social skills so they can confidently return to the community. For this
reason many of our programs provide socialization activities to boost self-esteem, teach new skills, and to offer therapeutic value along the way. They vary from walking and stretching groups, to reading and drama clubs, to the newly formed “hearing voices” group. The “Hearing Voices” group was started by a passionate ShelterCare staff member who saw the need to help our clients break down stigmas around hearing voices, and to provide a safe place to talk about this sensitive issue. This group encourages clients to talk in a positive, non-judgmental way about the voices that they hear. They discuss who the voices might be, how to cope with voices, and encourage positive dialogue with the voices. They have even started a “restraining order program,” in which clients issue a restraining order to their unwanted voices, thereby gaining control.
This group and many others offer consumers the opportunity to rewrite their personal stories, discover new interests and talents, and develop new skills. These groups and activities are an important piece of helping our clients recover to live the fullest life possible.
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