There are many types of mental health professionals. You may hear the words psychologist, therapist, or counsellor all used to mean the same thing. At The Wellness Centre we employ a range of clinical staff, which provides a rich and diverse comprehensive treatment team approach. Different mental health professionals may have different levels of training or expertise, different theoretical orientations and different ways of seeing the same problem or challenge. Working as a clinical team allows us to ensure each client’s needs are met with the highest standard of professional care, and the most appropriate fit between client and clinician.
Finding the right clinician to assist you may require some research and time. It is important when choosing a mental health professional in The Cayman Islands that you contact the Health Practice Commission for the Council of Professions Allied with Medicine’s register of recognized practitioners, and licensed health facilities.
Our clinical team is made up of Clinical Psychologists, Mental Health Counsellors, Play Therapists, Marriage and Family Therapists and Behavioural Specialists. We work collaboratively using a model of evidence based reflective practice.
This type of model means that we are regularly taking into consideration four key aspects of client treatment;
The first step in seeking services at The Wellness Centre is to attend an intake appointment. The intake appointment is an opportunity to share the details of what has led you to seek support. It’s an opportunity to explore what goals you might have for counselling and what preferences you have in terms of the type of approach you would like to take. The intake appointment is your opportunity to ask questions to ensure you are making the best decision for you and/or your family. Research suggests that a good fit between the client and the clinician will impact therapy outcomes, so be honest about how you feel and what you need to be comfortable.
Individual therapy is a joint process between a therapist and the client, or person in therapy. People seek therapy for many different reasons, so the therapeutic models or techniques used will vary. What should be consistent is a trusting, open and confidential relationship that allows the client to explore experiences, gain insights or make changes in line with their goals. Individual therapy can be helpful in addressing a wide range of mental health problems, but also phases of life or significant changes or experiences.
Marriage & Family therapy involves the couple or the family unit as the primary client. The goals of the family or couple are determined by exploring past patterns, family roles and rules, inter-family relationships, coping strategies of the family and of course challenges and strengths. A family therapist is a mental health professional with additional training in understanding how family systems impact everyone. Family therapy will work with the whole family to improve the relationships, communication, trust and how conflicts are handled. Family therapy can be a powerful way to address relationship discord, parenting conflicts, childhood mental illness, grief or other conflicts.
Individual therapy can assist children and adolescents who are experiencing a range of family, school & emotional adjustments. The impact of divorce, blended families, grief, anxiety, depression, bullying, issues of adjustment, learning & behavioural difficulties, family violence, sexual abuse and substance use can be greatly mitigated by therapeutic interventions. We have multiple therapy spaces specifically designed to provide a safe and engaging therapeutic experience for children, adolescents and their families. Our clinical staff possess experience and expertise in a diverse range of psychological, mental health and behavioural interventions. The involvement of parents and guardians is critical, and parents will be regularly involved in discussions around setting goals, implementing strategies or gaining awareness of the child or teens needs.
Play therapy is a structured, theoretically based approach to therapy with young children that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children. The curative powers inherent in play are used in many ways. Therapists strategically utilize play therapy to help children express what is troubling them when they do not have the verbal language to express their thoughts and feelings. In play therapy, toys are like the child’s words and play is the child’s language. Through play, therapists may help children learn more adaptive behaviors when there are emotional or social skills deficits. The positive relationship that develops between therapist and child during play therapy sessions can provide a corrective emotional experience necessary for healing from trauma. Play therapy may also be used to promote cognitive development and provide insight about and resolution of inner conflicts or dysfunctional thinking in the child. Through play therapy, children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, regulate emotions, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn a variety of ways of relating to others. Play provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows expression of thoughts and feelings appropriate to their developmental age.
A psychological assessment can help identify your child’s unique learning style as well as increase understanding of their social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. The purpose of an assessment should be to develop a plan forward, with the goal to assist and support. Psychological assessments should be conducted in the context of a clinical team with many years of experience in the assessment of a wide range of learning, developmental, clinical and behavioural disorders. Assessment results will guide parenting plans, medical treatment decisions, and behavioural interventions, as well as the development of an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) to ensure access to special teaching strategies in school and important accommodations on standardized board exams, including I/GCSE, CXC, SAT, and PSAT.
Adult assessments can help properly identify and diagnose problems that may have puzzled you for some time. An assessment can be extremely helpful in determining treatment goals and providing individuals and families with a better understanding of one another. A psychological assessment can help gain access to appropriate accommodations for learning and success at university and in the workplace.
Social & emotional skills are critically important to children’s development. Social & emotional skills are needed to successfully develop peer relationships, manage emotions, problem solve, and to appropriately regulate social behaviour. Our Social & Emotional Skills Groups are fun, interactive opportunities for modeling and skill development in the context of playing, friendship and fun. Our groups are available for children or adolescents and offer real community-based opportunities to develop these important skills.
At The Wellness Centre we are very proud to offer a comprehensive array of services specifically for children, teens and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. We believe that every child deserves an opportunity to reach their fullest potential and to pursue a life of independence and purpose.
Early identification and access to evidence based intervention is critical if your child is showing signs of developmental delay. The Wellness Centre was the first on-island centre for autism assessment and diagnosis. Our team of psychologists is fully qualified to administer the assessment measures considered the gold standard in autism assessment and diagnosis. An assessment for autism begins with a conversation with one of our psychologists to discuss your concerns. The assessment process involves gathering information from parents, caregivers, teachers, other experts in the area of child development, as well as time spent interacting and observing your child in a natural social and play environment. A final assessment report will provide you with a clear picture of your child’s strengths and needs, along with a road map leading forward to ensure he/she reaches their fullest potential.
Having a child or family member with autism can feel overwhelming. Parents often fail to prioritize their own needs, as an important part of their child’s intervention plan. At The Wellness Centre we offer a range of family support services, including family therapy, parent education, consultation and training. As children grow it is critical that services take into account their wishes, goals and social needs. Families of persons 16+ are encouraged to participate in Person Centred Planning (PCP), an approach to transition planning that places the individual at the centre of decision making and goal setting.
ABA therapy uses the scientific principles of learning and motivation to teach children with autism. ABA uses positive reinforcement to increase positive behaviours and social interactions, while decreasing inappropriate or harmful behaviours which interfere with a child’s ability to learn and engage. ABA is highly individualized and each child’s programme is designed and implemented to ensure their unique needs are being targeted. Our ABA programmes are developed by a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst and implemented by a team of qualified therapists. All of our therapists have a minimum designation as a Registered Behaviour Technician™. Your child will often work with several members of our team to ensure their learning is generalized across individuals and environments. ABA therapy can help individuals of all ages, but is most effective when started early and intensely. Research suggests the most effective outcomes occur with 30-40hrs per week.
The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is an evidence based intervention for children with developmental delay, between 12 to 48 months. ESDM follows a developmental curriculum that defines social, play, communication, cognitive, self-help and motor skills. It can be delivered in a clinic, home, playground or preschool setting. ESDM integrates a relationship focused developmental model with the well validated teaching practices of ABA. In 2012, we became the first clinic in the Cayman Islands and the Caribbean to offer ESDM services.
There are many reasons parents of children with autism choose to home-school. A home-school programme should be tailored to meet your child’s unique needs and should ensure that learning is clearly measured and targets effectively developed. This can be an overwhelming task for families, but the good news is that we are an approved home-school provider, can assist in the development of a suitable curriculum, and arrange teacher support to satisfy the Department of Education requirements and ensure the most desirable learning outcomes.
Supportive Outreach Services (SOS) provide ABA based support in the community for parents and teachers. This practical hands on approach uses the science of ABA to help parents and teachers improve behaviour so that a child’s learning and independence can emerge. SOS services are individualized and often contain: a functional behaviour assessment, observations, formation of a positive behaviour support plan, parent/staff training and support, in home/school support during the implementation of strategies outlined in the support plan, and will also include maintenance and follow up to ensure success.
Life Skills, or adaptive and independent living skills are vitally important for children, adolescents and adults with autism. These are the skills that allow an individual to live as independently as possible within their community. Life skills include a wide range of skills; and may include social & emotional skills, money & time management, cooking & shopping, public transportation, employment training, independent self-care, personal hygiene, sexual health and employment. Adaptive living skills are assessed, taught and evaluated using the Assessment of Functional Living Skills ® curriculum. Target skills are selected in consultation with parents and the individual. 1:1 and group services are available.
Our staff are committed to helping your family navigate what often seems like an overwhelming process. We work in partnership with parents, pediatricians, teachers and specialists to determine which services are most appropriate and which goals are the highest priority. For more information about any of our services contact Sloane Pharr, ABA Programme Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free 30 minute consultation to learn more.
The Wellness Centre has a long history of providing exceptional Employee Assistance Services / Corporate Wellness Training / HR Consultation to local companies, authorities and government departments committed to their employees’ wellbeing. Our corporate packages are designed uniquely for each organization after consultation with management. Packages typically include clinical services, corporate training, wellness lunch & learns, critical incident debriefing, HR consultation, and policy development and support.