What is wrap-around support?
Clinical Associates (C.A.s) at Alaska Behavioral Health (AKBH) support children and their families by providing skill development. We are often asked, what does that mean? Child & Family C.A., Laurel Brady, BSW, kept a photo diary of some of the ways C.A.s support clients in a typical week.
My day typically begins with a morning session lasting anywhere from 1-3 hours. Skill development sessions can be individual, family, or group. This morning was an individual session with a younger client. We met up with the client’s peers at a local park. This child’s treatment plan includes learning and practicing social skills to make healthy relational connections. My work compliments work with other professionals at AKBH by providing coaching and support to clients when navigating situations in the environments they live (or play) in. I’m there to provide therapeutic and supportive feedback “on the spot” to build self-esteem and encourage them to recognize their successes. Play is a great way to develop confidence and skill for essential social learning.
Working with My Team
My Mid-day can include meetings, note writing, or case management work. Here are some things I did during this week:
- attended a weekly team meeting with other C.A.s and my supervisor to discuss administrative issues and collaborate with colleagues on work with clients.
- participated in a Zoom advising session for start of an online Masters of Social Work program. AKBH supports ongoing education and training for employees to excel at their jobs.
- Participated in Chemical Dependency Counselor (CDC) supervision to culminate in CDC certification to strengthen my knowledge of substance use as related to the behavioral health of children and their families
Other activities include case management such as helping families find resources or navigate systems. Sometimes I will use this time to communicate with a client’s clinician or request a check-in when they are available.
Getting out into the Community
My afternoons consist of 1-2 sessions with clients or a group session. I run a weekly Zoom group for clients to stay connected and continue work towards objectives primarily focused on improving social skills and healthy boundaries. Examples of some afternoon sessions during this week include taking a client on a previously arranged bike ride to elevate her mood and allow her to experience the world outside her home. For this client, the session started with sharing about recent events and uncomfortable feelings in a safe and supported environment. The bike ride allowed her to engage in her community with support and encouragement while being prompted to notice enjoyable feelings in the present moment.
Using Art to Connect with Clients
Another afternoon session included meeting a creative and artistic client. This day we molded and carved clay
sculptures. For some it’s easier to talk about difficult feelings when actively engaged in something, like molding clay. It’s tactile, often satisfying. The process of making something also allows clients to explore and express their identity.
During this session the client discussed a “challenge” she discovered online that bothered her. I was able to provide reflection and feedback resulting in our collaborative search for a healthier positive challenge to engage in. We found it! Day one of our new challenge was to write “I am beautiful” on ourselves as a visual reminder.
Wrapping up the Day
A typical day can end with writing notes about my day’s sessions. It provides the opportunity for reflection about a client’s progress towards their goals and objectives and plan for future sessions. As a CA, my day is as diverse as the clients I work with and it can change quickly. The ability to adapt to the situation and what a client needs in that time and place is important. What doesn’t change is how much I love my job and the work I do!