ATTRAIN Case Study | Art Therapist Nick

Nick has a diagnosis of Dyslexia and ADHD and was struggling with a range of work-related tasks including time management, organisation, prioritizing, proofreading documents, and goal setting.

Nick decided to have an assessment via the DWP’s ‘Access to Work’ program and was recommended 6 sessions of coping strategies which included using various assistive technologies.

During his initial assessment, Nick explained the difficulties he was facing in more detail and our psychologist devised a plan surrounding his desired improvements and specific needs by developing tailored strategies and techniques.

Session 1 – Devising a plan

In the session, we discussed the different characteristics of Dyslexia and ADHD and how they impact him in work. We then discussed what his job entails and the different things he struggles with on a daily basis. We used this to plan out the future sessions in order to help Nick put some strategies in place to help:

  • Time management and organisation techniques (session 2)
  • Organisation skills continued (session 3)
  • Memory techniques and note-taking (session 4)
  • Confidence and self-belief (session 5)
  • Consolidating on techniques and goal setting for the future (session 6)

As well as focusing on what Nick struggles with, we also discussed his strengths and how these play into his work ethic, such as empathy, love of learning and creativity.

Session 2 – Time Management

We started the session by discussing what struggles Nick faces in terms of time management. Nick stated that one of his biggest issues is writing his notes up between sessions and ensuring he has created and sent Zoom links off for his next sessions.

We discussed why he feels like he struggles with this, and he stated that for him this has become a bigger task in his head than it actually is and that he gets easily stressed about it. After discussing this in-depth, we moved on to discussing how setting SMART goals helps with efficient timekeeping. Together, we sat and wrote out a SMART goal for how Nick could achieve the goal of creating and sending zoom links off after his sessions instead of leaving them to pile up. Nick really liked this and stated that it gave him a much clearer way to look at it and made it seem more realistic.

After this, we moved on to discussing the prioritising chart. Nick was a little unsure of the chart at first but once we dissected it and looked at each segment separately, he was able to give good examples of tasks he completes on a day-to-day basis and how they would fit into the chart. Nick felt more confident and happier in himself after we had discussed these different strategies and felt a lot happier about putting these things in place to help himself.

Session 3 – Organisation

Since the last session, Nick explained that he had started implementing the strategies and was already feeling the benefit of them. We discussed that since implementing the strategies, he is taking less time to complete his notes and does not feel as rushed as he once did.

He also stated that using a highlighter to emphasise his most important and urgent tasks has helped him massively when prioritising his work. Nick stated that he struggles when his routine is interrupted. We discussed the use of timers and he set himself calendar alerts to ensure he does not forget events.

Nick brought up his struggles with keeping up to date with and completing his client extension form. We created an excel spreadsheet with conditional formatting that Nick could use to keep an up-to-date list of which clients need extra sessions, etc. Nick found this helpful as it is a more accessible way of keeping note and is colour coordinated for different responses.

Nick discussed how he is struggling with a new calendar. We spent the rest of the session creating a poster of the process Nick must go through when a new meeting is booked and if it clashes with his sessions.

Session 4 – Memory and Notes

Nick discussed that he has difficulties remembering information, especially when learning new information in training. We started the session by getting some feedback from Nick on the time-management strategies we looked at previously. He stated that he had been able to implement them with a high success rate and felt really positive about his progress.

We discussed the different ways of encoding information and how these impact upon retrieving information. We then moved on to discussing different physical memory aids Nick could use such as a notebook, calendars, and to-do lists.

We then moved on to discussing different memory aids such as the memory palace. After explaining how it worked, we sat together and created a memory palace to help Nick remember the different parts of the brain and how trauma impacts them. In the next session, we will be covering confidence and self-belief.

Session 5 – Confidence and Self-belief

We first discussed confidence; looking at when Nick feels confident and when he does not. We explored this a little bit and Nick gave some good examples of when and why he felt this way, being aware of his own strengths and weaknesses.

We then moved on to discussing Nick’s strengths and how these apply to his profession and how he uses them to create and maintain relationships. After this, we looked at assertiveness and completed a small quiz. From the quiz, we concluded that Nick is quite an assertive person but he stated that it varies very much on the situation and who else may be with him to help him deal with it.

We moved on to discussing self-esteem and different ways to improve it. Nick was very engaged through the session and was very open and aware of his difficulties surrounding confidence.

Session 6 – Bringing it all together

We discussed how Nick has been getting on with implementing the previously discussed strategies and how effective they have been. He stated that he had still been struggling with finding a weekly planner that he could make daily to-do lists in, so we created our own version together. Nick really liked this and was happy with what we came up with.

Nick stated that the most useful strategies for him were the time planning strategies. Nick reported that he has found it useful to create routines at work and that this has made him more efficient. Nick stated that he has been able to implement all the strategies in a useful way. We then discussed how Nick felt in terms of improvement in his job role and in himself. He stated that he feels a lot more efficient in his timing and organisation and that he feels a lot more confident in himself and his abilities.

Nick stated that he feels a lot more confident to take on new roles and challenge himself and be open to change; something which he believed he would not to be able to do before the sessions. We created goals for Nick to focus on moving forward such as creating resources he can use for processes, using the coping strategies in new situations, and challenging himself.

Progress

Nick has made excellent progress in our sessions. Nick started the sessions feeling quite anxious but also optimistic about the outcome of the sessions. It is clear to see an improvement in his ability, confidence, and his behaviour in such a small amount of time.

Nick has been able to demonstrate his newfound confidence in himself and his abilities by discussing his experiences and his successes in things such as getting his notes completed in an appropriate amount of time or being more organised in his time planning and to-do lists. Nick has used the strategies we have discussed in the sessions and worked on them and implemented them into his role, showing a considerable improvement in his time management, planning, and confidence.

Nick seems a lot more confident in himself and more accepting of his difficulties, whilst also being able to move forward to achieve his goals regardless. If the strategies discussed are continued and implemented consistently, Nick will continue to improve.

In Nick’s Words…

“I wish to provide some highly positive feedback, regarding the Work Coaching sessions I received from my tutor Rachel.

As an individual struggling with difficulties, relating to Dyslexia and ADHD, I initially experienced some feelings of uncertainty, regarding how the work coaching sessions might be helpful and how much impact they may be able to have for me, both personally and professionally.

However, from the outset, I felt instantly comfortable with Rachel and confident in her abilities to support me in developing coping strategies around my work as a therapist. At the start of the work, Rachel spent time helping me to identify my strengths and skills, which boosted my morale and instilled a feeling of hopefulness. Rachel continued to do this throughout the work. She celebrated by successes, achievements, and capabilities with me and helped me to build upon these as the work progressed.

She helped me to identify areas of difficulty, but did this in a way that felt non-stigmatizing and empowering. Rachel also helped me to “normalize” some of the difficulties which I experience, which has helped to boost my self-esteem and confidence.

Throughout the work, Rachel provided space for us to work in the way that felt most helpful for me. My brain does not work in a “vertical” way and I often find that I go off on “tangents”. Rachel embraced these “tangents” and helped me to make connections between the places my mind had gone and the information presented. This was extremely helpful in enabling me to absorb the information, relate it to my own experiences, and identify ways in which it may be utilized as a means to support me within my role. This is what accessibility looks like; working with clients’ individual needs and centering these within the delivery of services.

Upon finishing the work coaching sessions, I now feel that I have a broader and more effective range of coping strategies and feel much more confident within my role. Rachel has helped me to develop skills within; time management, organization, planning, memory, and confidence, amongst others. As I write this, I notice that I am on track for completing my weekly tasks, even amongst a busy week, and have been able to allocate time to write this feedback; something I would have really struggled to do before the sessions with Rachel.

Aside from Rachel’s professionalism, knowledge, and broad skill set, something which particularly stood out to me is her demeanor. She is likable, relatable, and easy to talk to. This provided me with a sense of trust and enabled me to be open, honest, and vulnerable in sessions, which I feel deepened the work, which we were able to do.

I cannot speak highly enough of Rachel and thank her deeply for the service, support, and encouragement that she has provided.

*As a side note, I might recommend your organizations management consults with Rachel to seek advice around how they can improve in this area.”

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