Independent Living

The purpose of this module is to engage young people in thinking about the decisions they have to make once they are living independently and do not have people to make decisions for them.

Its objective is to encourage young people to set goals and to take action to improve the quality of their lives in relation to their safety and stability.

Other Better Life modules also address independent living issues:

  • People in My Life offers the opportunity to talk about girlfriend or boyfriend relationships;
  • Managing Emotions supports young people’s emotional health and their ability to relax;
  • Drugs and Alcohol addresses the impact of substances on health and wellbeing.
  • Beating Boredom addresses healthy recreational activities.

The key skill that this module develops is decision making. Once it is understood it should be applied in practice to any areas of independent living that causes concern. If the Includem worker does not have sufficient expertise to address some areas, a referral to a specialist agency should be made.

Before attempting this module with young people with sexually harmful behaviours there should be discussions with the referring authority regarding risk and safety. If not already done so, a Community Safety Plan should be drawn up. You should pay attention to any particular risk factors e.g. location of activity or if a young person is engaging in activities with others who are more vulnerable. You need to be prepared to discuss this with the young person as you may need to pass on information to the risk management team. The young person should be made aware of this.
Protective Resources

These modules are designed to enable young people to develop resources in their lives which protect them from the risk factors associated with their behaviour and address criminogenic needs which are preventing them from having a safe and happy life.

The Protective Resources model

Relationships which support a pro-social lifestyle.

Expectations by significant adults of the young person’s positive future potential.

Skills to develop relationships, meet expectations and take advantage of opportunities.

Opportunities to meet individual needs and to make a contribution to community life.

Understanding of oneself, one’s behaviour and one’s environment.

Responsibility for choices, action and consequences.

Commitments which enable the young person to live consistently to values and rules.

Evaluation of action and its results so that the young person is continuously learning.

Success in achieving goals creating self confidence and self worth.

Session 1 - Making Decisions

Purpose: To enable the young person to develop their capability to make good decisions.

Process:

Ask the young person what they know about making decisions. Affirm what they are saying and make a few notes of the salient points for later reflection during the activity.

Explain that this activity is about decision making and how easy or difficult it can be to make decisions. Give some examples of decisions you have made recently. E.g. how many decisions did you have to make to meet the young person today? You could list them and then outline your thinking in each one. Key points: clear purpose or goal, enough relevant information, review options and their possible benefits and disadvantages, and finally make the decision.

Ensure that the young person understands what a decision is.

Ask the young person to write down on a sheet of A4 paper as many decisions they can remember making recently (try to get a minimum of 3) Discuss the following points about the decisions:

  • Which decisions were the most difficult? What makes them so?
  • Which decision were easy to make and why? What makes them so?
  • Is a decision more difficult when it involves other people?
  • Is a decision more difficult to make if you do not have all the facts?

Continue with the discussion and ask about how they made the decisions they had written down and what approaches they used to make those decisions.

Use the following examples as prompts:

  • Impulsive or random (toss of a coin or pot luck, without thinking about it)
  • Logical (checking out the pros and cons)
  • Informed ( asking advice, looking up information, researching options)
  • Passive (let others make the decision for you)
  • Simple (picking the easiest option)

Exercise

Ask the young person if they have a decision to make at present. If so, work through the decision tree below. If not make up a decision so you practice the decision tree.

When looking at the decision to be made, ensure there are 3 options. The young person will come up with the option that they prefer, you will offer another option, and you invite the young person to come up with a third option. It should always be in this ratio – young person to come up with 2, and worker only one. When you ask the young person to choose you remove the object of resistance – ‘authority’. It is important to remember that a young person may choose what you consider to be the wrong option. However you have to support them and allow them to experience the natural consequences of their actions and decisions. But making sure they understand that you will be there for them to reflect and review the options again

independant_living - decision_tree

Ask the client to consider what decisions they need to make to live independently. List them.

Which are the most important? What makes them important? Tell him or her that you will look at these and other important areas of independent living in the next session.

Session 2 - Deciding to be Independent

Purpose: To enable the young person to identify the key areas that he or she will have to manage well in order to live independently.

Process:

Complete the questionnaire below. Ensure that the young person understands each area. Discuss anything interesting that comes up.

independant_living - questionnaire

Make a plan to address the areas identified as scoring 1 or 2 in low confidence and 3 in importance or urgency using the format below.

It is important that you enable the young people to learn how to solve problems and make decisions for themselves rather than solve the problem for them.

Use this process:

  1. Understand the problem area: where will you get the information you need?
  2. Consider a range of responses: what options do you have to manage the problem?
  3. Make a commitment to act: what exactly will you do and when?
  4. Evaluate your results: did your action work and what have you learnt from your efforts?
independant_living - action_plan

Work through each area with the young person over the next few weeks.

End of module evaluation
Structured Coaching Conversation

Structured coaching conversations are designed:

  • To reinforce the commitments the young person has made;
  • To enable the young person to develop self respect;
  • To enable the young person to learn from experience;
  • To support the young person to achieve goals.

When the young person keeps commitments:

Use questions

  • What happened?
  • What result did you get?
  • How did it feel?
  • What did it take for you to get that result?
  • How do you feel about yourself now?

Give feedback as specific as possible relating to the commitments the young person has made to change attitudes and behaviours. Express your respect.

Ask what the young person has learnt from the experience.

Ask the young person in what other situations he/she could use this attitude or behaviour.

Encourage the young person to use the attitude or behaviour again soon. Try to identify a specific situation which is likely to happen or can be planned in the near future.

Record with the young person what he or she ‘got’ from the Experience in the appropriate ‘Doing it’ form.

Guide the young person in filling in the ‘Success!’ form

When commitments are not kept:

Use questions

  • What happened?
  • What result did you get?
  • How did you feel?
  • What caused the result?
  • How do you feel now?

If the young person reverts to attitudes and behaviours they committed to change, gently point this out. Connect these to the result.

Explore how this may be an example of what is going wrong in his/her life. Identify other situations where this attitude or behaviour has not worked.

Imagine how the situation would have turned out if he/she had employed the attitude or behaviours to which he or she had committed.

Ask what the young person has learnt from the experience.

Encourage the young person to use the positive attitude or behaviour again soon. Try to identify a specific situation which is likely to happen or can be planned in the near future.

Record with the young person what he or she ‘got’ from the experience in the appropriate ‘Doing it’ form.

Guide the young person in filling in the ‘Success!’ form

global - success_form
Resources
[table “6” not found /]