Relationship skills affect all aspects of people’s lives
Friday September 16, 2011 — Deb Bartlett
Outreach counsellor Jake Keithley feels most proud of the class development and teaching he does at the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI).
Jake says the majority of people who come to BACI for support have relationship goals and want to increase social skills. From that, it was determined that there was a need to determine what skills people had, and work on developing them.
“It’s almost like a first stop for the individuals we support,” says Jake, adding relationship skills have a lasting impact on the individual.
The class centres on understanding boundaries in relationships, and the circles concept, he says. This identifies the people who are closest to you, and as you move further away, there are paid supports and strangers.
Jake says the people BACI supports learn what type of information is appropriate to share within each of the circles. “What that speaks to is safety for the individual,” he says.
Talking about circumstances helps people when they’re in the situation, says Jake. For example, when people are on public transit or are in the community, the hope is that they’re not sharing information that is only suitable for a parent or very close friend.
The class takes place in a group, and exercises get the group engaged, says Jake. “Individuals really steer the class,” he says, which allows facilitators to determine need. In that way, each session is tailored to the group.
Between six and eight people are in each class, and the relationship class is often one of the first groups that new referrals to BACI attend.
Jake says he and a co-worker recently taught a session in BACI’s employment program about workplace relationships. The session covered working with co-workers and bosses, and adapted some of the relationship class for the people who will soon be in a workplace.
If you have a comment on this story, or want to share a workplace highlight, contact Deb at 800-294-0051, or e-mail deb(at)axiomnews.ca.