Mentorship Model

Build a future worth protecting

Organizational Skills

Organizational Skills

Week 1: Initial Assessment

Defining Objectives

What is the client’s current relationship to organization? What motivation will they identify for improving their organizational skills?

  • Client will be able to reflect on his experiences with organization to identify what has worked and what hasn’t worked for him in the past
  • Client will be able to recognize how his organizational skills, or lack thereof, have contributed to his current symptoms or pain points
  • Client will be able to demonstrate how he currently approaches organization by sharing the techniques used to organize time, money, appointments, school work, training, or social life
  • Client will walk away feeling optimistic that improving his organizational skills will lead to positive changes in his symptoms more broadly. Client will identify at least one organizational skill to target in future sessions with his provider

Taking Action

How will you prompt reflection and promote increased self-awareness with regard to organization?

  • Provider will guide a discussion using MI to assess the client’s previous strengths and challenges in this area. Provider will maintain a strengths-based perspectives to foster open dialogue and create a supportive environment for subsequent sessions
  • Provider will explore the ways in which the client’s organization practices may be contributing to his struggles in other areas
  • Provider will promote a collaborative discussion to identify a particular area of the client’s current organization systems to prioritize. Provider will prompt the client to select at least one organizational process to improve or develop in future sessions
Questions to Consider Resistant Client Corner
  • How has a lack of organization contributed to the client’s struggles or challenges?
  • Why might the client be reluctant to get more organized? Are they worried about appearing to try too hard or have previous efforts failed to yield the results they were hoping for?

Open-ended questions like “how do you want to get organized?” can leave some clients feeling overwhelmed. Offering freedom within limits can provide structure while still offering agency.

For instance, offer the client a choice between two methods of organization, such as a physical planner vs. a digital calendar tool, rather than asking him to generate ideas completely on his own.

When to Check In

As in other modules, your role as a provider at this stage is primarily to gather information. The more insight you have into the client’s personal treatment goals as well as his particular life circumstances, the more effective subsequent sessions will be. Consider ways to manage resistance based on the client’s personality and motivations before looping in your supervisor.

  • Be ready for clients who do not see organization as an issue, who feel as though they have “tried everything”, or who view themselves as an anomaly, capable of staying on top of their responsibilities without an established system
  • Don’t pivot too quickly away to another goal when faced with resistance. Instead, reflect on when and where resistance manifests in order to better anticipate it in future sessions
  • Consult with a supervisor if the resistance is more than you know how to handle, but in session, remain curious, affirm, reflect and summarize what the client is saying to encourage self-awareness

Week 2: Trial & Error

Defining Objectives

What will the client accomplish in this session? How will they walk away feeling about their organizational abilities?

  • Client will express greater openness to assessing areas of his life that would benefit from being more organized and connect his efforts in this domain to broader treatment objectives or personal motivations
  • Client will be able to share his current schedule and obligations honestly and accurately, verifying claims with supporting evidence like school calendars, assignment planners, or screenshots, or other documentation
  • Client will be able to make a change to or maintain consistency in his organizational processes in session

Taking Action

What areas of the client’s life will you target in this session? What skills or frameworks seem to be making the biggest impact?

  • Provider will continue to use MI and therapeutic confrontation to help the client recognize how becoming more organized may benefit him based on the symptoms the client is currently managing or the broader motivation for treatment that the client has identified
  • Provider will come to session prepared to guide client through organizational changes related to the priorities identified in session one
  • Provider will deploy behavioral interventions that actively seek to challenge the client to improve his organizational strategies in session
Questions to Consider
  • How does this client best retain information? Are they primarily visual, verbal, or physical with regard to their comprehension and working memory?
  • How does the client respond to a challenge? Are they motivated or discouraged by higher expectations?

When to Check In

Making improvements in this area requires close collaboration between client and provider. Consider following up with your supervisor if:

  • The client is consistently lying or misrepresenting the facts in terms of his personal obligations, academic responsibilities, or use of the skill or technique identified in the previous session
  • The client has yet to connect organization to his broader treatment goals

Week 3: Data Analysis

Defining Objectives

How will the client build on his previous efforts? 

  • Client will be able to identify tangible examples of progress in his organizational systems
  • Client will continue to feel like his provider and he are working collaboratively together to resolve issues that are personally meaningful to him
  • Client will walk away feeling more empowered and confident that the changes he is making to his organizational process are yielding results in ways that matter to him

Taking Action

What will you do to foster more self-confidence and optimism on the part of the client and his perception of his organizational skills?

  • Provider will affirm and seek to explicitly provide positive feedback in areas of strength or improvement to foster continued confidence by spotlighting particular instances of progress or growth the provider has observed
  • Provider will approach the client’s efforts in session compassionately, collaboratively and without judgment to encourage incremental gains over time and foster positive associations towards organization as a discipline
  • Provider will abstain from disempowering the client to be a part of his own behavioral change process (ie: doing for the client vs. working with and supporting the client’s own efforts)
Questions to Consider
  • How does the client view the change process? Are they able to accept mixed results or do they approach goals with an “all or nothing” mentality?
  • How does the client speak about himself and his efforts in this area? Does he tend to focus on the negative when describing his results?

Documentation of successful efforts, like pictures of organized school materials or copies of completed to-do lists, can provide a useful proof of concept for a client who is resistant to the notion that he is capable of change or growth in this area

Consider the client’s personal heroes or inspiration and use MI to challenge the client to think critically about how that inspirational figure accomplished their goals. In all likelihood, reaching those heights required a high degree of organization!

When to Check In

Some clients may have grown accustomed to the idea that other people in their life will step in to remind them of responsibilities and keep up the appearance of proficiency in this area. Pay attention to how the client responds when put in the driver’s seat and consider checking in after the session if:

  • The client shuts down or refuses to share details about their efforts
  • The client’s performance in school or work has dropped since engaging in organizational skills development. Progress isn’t always linear, but moving backwards may be a sign that an adjustment is needed
  • If you feel like you’re working harder than your client

Week 4: Lesson Learned

Defining Objectives

What will the client take away from his work in this domain? What emotions does he associate with organization after engaging in targeted work during sessions?

  • Client will be able to identify the changes he has made to his organizational process with an eye towards maintaining or building on those changes in the future. Client will be able to point to specific ways in which continued effort around organizational skills will make an ongoing impact in the areas he as identified as his broader treatment goals
  • Client will will feel a sense of accomplishment in the work he has completed along with a greater feeling of faith in his own abilities. Client will be able to assess and talk openly about what areas may still need to be addressed
  • Ct will be able to recognize that progress is not always linear and that future work may be needed to continue making gains in this area. Client will be able to identify a strategy or mindset to employ if and when he experiences a setback

Taking Action

How can you position the client for success moving forward?

  • Provider will promote a discussion of reflection around what has worked in this area to crystalize learning 
  • Provider will promote a discussion around how these current behaviors can positively impact the client’s future should they be continued
  • Provider will reflect on the successes of client’s organizational changes and affirm for the client the growth that the provider has witnessed over the course of the module
  • Provider will assess and collaborate with the client to identify further areas in this domain that may require ongoing attention
Questions to Consider
  • Would this client benefit from a brief organization check-in at the start or conclusion of future sessions?
  • How can the client apply lessons from this module to other aspects of his life?

When to Check In

Wrapping up work in modules is a skill unto itself.  If you’re feeling uneasy about planning for the end of the work, or aren’t sure about how to culminate one’s learning in this domain, you may want to consider checking in.  Consider these situations:

  • If you feel like progress has been slow and there isn’t much to reflect on
  • Your client has been dodging you on booking meetings, and you sense resistance
  • Your client continues to struggle with this domain, so despite progress, you’re concerned about his ability to continue to make it and don’t know how to wrap up that kind of discussion