Mentorship Model

Build a future worth protecting

Time Management

Week 1: Initial Assessment

Defining Objectives

How effective is the client at managing his time? What challenges has he experienced in his life that relate back to his time management?

  • Client will be able to identify past challenges associated with time management. Client will be able to connect improved time management to better outcomes in other areas of life in which they are motivated to improve
  • Client will be able to speak to his own motivations for treatment and name specific ways in which managing his time more effectively could help improve the likelihood of accomplishing a goal he is motivated to achieve
  • Client will be able to recognize successes he has experienced related to time management and reflect on any strategies that have worked for him in the past
  • Client will learn about a range of time management techniques and select one behavioral strategy to implement prior to the next session. Client will be aware that this strategy will be used a metric to evaluate his progress and treat it as a therapeutic assignment

Taking Action

How can you push beyond simple binaries and promote a more nuanced understanding on the part of the client as it relates to their time management habits?

  • Provider will assess for ct’s motivation through stages of change model and provide psychoeducation in a way that meets the client where they are at in terms of their stage of change
  • Provider will use motivational interviewing skills like open ended questions, decisional balance and scaling questions to gauge client’s perception of their time management habits and openness to embracing new ideas
  • Provider will introduce one new (or previously successful intervention that the client has used periodically but not consistently) behavioral intervention for the client to try and implement over the next week to improve their time management
  • Provider will be prepared to use this intervention to measure progress and anticipate some realistic benchmarks for subsequent sessions
Questions to Consider Resistant Client Corner
  • What sorts of references, examples, or resources will be most helpful for this client?
  • What motivates this client?
  • What is attainable for this client? What would be a stretch goal?
  • How much control does the client have over their schedule? What are the major responsibilities on their plate?

Everyone is motivated by something! For a resistant client, time management might initially be a tool that gives them more time to pursue an activity they enjoy rather than an end in itself. Keep that motivator front and center early on to help the client build momentum

Pro Tip: Don’t feel as though you are expected to introduce a whole new scheduling system all at once. Instead, give the client space to share his feelings towards the domain in question. Building trust will give you more credibility as you invite the client to make small changes over time

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 time management as an issue, who feel as though they have “tried everything”, or who view themselves as an anomaly, noting that creating a schedule or calendar “just doesn’t work for me”
  • 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

Week 2: Trial & Error

Defining Objectives

How will the client reflect and build on his efforts to manage his time more effectively?

  • Client will be able to identify ways in which improving his time management can help him to accomplish a goal he cares about or reduce negative symptoms he is experiencing
  • Client will be able to reflect on his efforts to implement a new time management strategy and reference specific instances where his encountered or overcame a challenge
  • Client will be open to hearing feedback on his efforts along with additional time management strategies he might implement in the future
  • Client will be able to demonstrate measurable or observable proof that he made a genuine effort to implement the time management strategy chosen in the last session, either by talking in detail about his efforts or showing how the strategy was effective

Taking Action

What can you do to prompt honest reflection and encourage ongoing growth?

  • Provider will revisit the previously agreed upon time management intervention and look for indications of measurable or observable progress. 
  • Provider will assess the client’s ability to implement the strategy while maintaining an encouraging and forward-facing mentality
  • Provider will be prepared to use MI strategies to adjust interventions and tracking strategies to better align with the client’s strengths and chosen motivators
  • Provider will use MI to create room for ambivalence and promote open discussion towards continuing or adding new time management strategies as treatment progresses
  • Provider will (a) continue to revisit the client’s consistency in his use of the chosen strategy or b) introduce one new time management technique that the client agrees to add to his routine in order to manage a negative symptom or make progress towards a chosen goal that the client is motivated to achieve
Questions to Consider Resistant Client Corner
  • How would this client be most comfortable tracking his progress moving forward? Is the client able to maintain a daily journal, or would photographs of completed to-do lists be more attainable?
  • How does the client respond to feedback? Is he able to accept guidance or is it typically interpreted as criticism? If so, why might that be the case?
  • Is the client ready to add on to their time management tool belt or do they need more time with the strategy identified previously?

Time tracking can be a useful exercise for a client who is resistant to making actual changes at this stage. Helping the client gain a clearer perspective on how he is actually spending his time can provide valuable perspective.

For instance, a client hoping to make their varsity baseball team might be able to see from a time tracking exercise that their time spent watching TV far exceeds time spent in the batting cage and be more motivated to implement changes as a result.

Small interventions can make a big impact. Sometimes simply showing a client how to use their calendar app on their phone can make a big difference.

When to Check In

For younger clients who may not be fully in control of how he spends his time, his progress will likely depend on his family’s weekly schedule. It may be worth consulting with your supervisor to schedule a family meeting if:

  • The client reports feeling overwhelmed by the volume of activities in which they are participating
  • The client has never been signed up for organized activities at all despite a desire to participate

Week 3: Data Analysis

Defining Objectives

  • Client will be able to provide measurable or observable proof that he made use of his chosen time management strategy. Client will be able to discuss how the strategy was effective and point to hard evidence of its impact
  • Client will be able to make explicit connections between his time management techniques and his guiding motivations for treatment and speak to this connection with his provider (ie: tying time management skills to school related pursuits)
  • Client will display increased openness to using his chosen strategy and identify evidence-based reasons why it has worked for him so far. Client will also demonstrate openness to involving his provider by speaking honestly and openly about his efforts

Taking Action

What does growth look like for this client? How will you help them recognize their growth over time?

  • Provider will assess for the use and impact of the agreed-upon time management intervention
  • Provider will offer examples of what types of evidence or data might be used in assessing the client’s ability to integrate their chosen strategy (ie: does the client achieve what they had planned to achieve)
  • Provider will use MI to encourage reflection about past efforts to grow or develop a new skill in order to encourage self-awareness and help the client recognize their own capacity to change
  • Provider will maintain a encouraging and supportive attitude, helping the client to recognize small wins even if the client was not as successful as anticipated
Questions to Consider
  • How readily is the client able to recall and reflect upon his efforts over the previous week?
  • How closely do the client’s expectations for themselves line up with reality?
  • How does the client conceptualize their own ability to grow and change? Do they view their abilities as fixed or dynamic?

When to Check In

At this point, the client has hopefully experienced at least some success in implementing a time management strategy. Success might look like simply keeping track of how his time was spent as long as you and the client share a definition for success in the first place.

  • If no progress has been made, discuss the client’s particular pain points with your supervisor to identify where in the process the client is getting stuck
  • Embarrassment or shame at a perceived failure can often be channeled into anger or indignation in adolescent males. Debrief with your supervisor if efforts to encourage the client to back up his claims lead to a breach or step back in therapeutic relationship

Week 4: Lesson Learned

Defining Objectives

What will the client be able to do at the conclusion of this module?

  • Client will be able to speak to his previous challenges associated with time management and recognize his recent growth and self-learning. Client will be able to draw clear connections between time management and his overarching goals for treatment
  • Client will feel affirmed and recognized for any changes made as well as the level of effort he put in
  • Client will be able recognize continued areas for improvement without harsh judgment and make reasonable plans for how he will address these areas of need going forward

Taking Action

How can you position the client for success moving forward?

  • Provider will engage in a reflective process with the client to model termination and promote closure. Provider will guide the client towards a broader perspective on his efforts and progress over the course of the module as a whole
  • Provider will hand off leadership on time management work to the client while ensuring that the client has the space and support to check in about this domain as needed
  • Provider will prompt the client to think and talk about areas for continued improvement in the area of time management. Provider will focus in particular on the relationship between improved time management and the guiding goals or motivations that the client has identified
Questions to Consider
  • How much time and energy will need to be devoted to time management in future sessions to help the client stay on track?
  • What systems or practices can you integrate into future sessions to ensure that the client has space to build his time management skills over time?
  • What systems or frameworks can you help the client to construct (i.e. a monthly schedule with pre-programmed reminders for important events) to better support the client in developing this area on his own?

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