As of fall 2023, Blossom Tree Counselling friendship groups are currently on hiatus until we find the right group facilitator. As soon as we have the right person to facilitate, we look forward to offering them again in the future.
About our Groups
Groups are typically run upstairs at our Blossom Tree Counselling office. We keep the groups small to no more than 6 participants and focus on in the moment processing and coaching during a natural play based activity. Natural play combined with a supportive adult who can observe, intervene, process and problem solve helps kids learn in the moment and increase their self awareness during social interactions.
Oftentimes, our kids have not had a chance to really get a handle on how to manage themselves in social situations. This pandemic has really impacted social opportunities for many kids, and the schools often do not have resources on hand during recess breaks to sufficiently support kids in working through social challenges. And while kids may go to sports or activities with other kids, these activities are structured and don't allow for free range social interactions. The goal of our friendship skills groups is to help support kids who struggle with the following:
Initiating friendships - how do I make a friend
Sustaining friendships - how do I be a good friend
Working through conflict with friends - how do I keep a friend
I started these groups after being very frustrated by a lack of services for kids without a diagnosis. I also found that I was frequently getting requests for individual services to children and youth who needed to be connected to an outside service provider to maintain their H designation at school, which enables them to have EA support in order to be successful in the classroom. Many of these kids did not need individual services, they are lovely little people that shine when individual attention is focused on them during their play therapy time and generally the challenges they struggle with are ones that are a result of their ADHD diagnosis or just where they are at in their innate wiring and development. Play therapy is not going to change their classroom noise, smell or executive dysfunction challenges. In the moment supports in their classroom is what they need. However, these are the mandates of our government systems that we have to work within. I believed there had to be another way to provide services that would help these kid keep their designation as well as provide some helpful skills. Enter - friendship skills groups.
ADHD and differently wired kids often struggle with social interactions. Their impulsivity can be misinterpreted as rude, their hyper fixation can be interpreted as not caring about others and their distractability and forgetfulness means they might let down their peers or come across as not caring. These friendship skills groups help kids slow down their social interactions, stop and think about scenarios and practice social skills during facilitated group activities. A facilitator is able to stop and point out to kids what is happening in the moment, and coach them on how to handle things differently.
Our friendship skills groups have also been a much needed resource for kids who are slow to warm up and struggle to use their voice in peer interactions. Kids who experience social anxiety need opportunities to practice going into social situations and challenge their social anxiety. Kids who only have one friend and worry about what to do if that one friend isn't at school or worry if they lose their one friend can benefit from participating in a friendship group to help develop the skills needed to make new friends.
All groups require a prescreening interview first to determine suitability and fit. This will be a 30 minute intake via our online counselling platform and the cost is $60. All group sessions are $30 per session.
Due to our limited spaces available, we are prioritizing space to children and youth who do not have access to any other social skills program.
We will not be accepting participants who are physically and verbally aggressive, violent, and run away from caregivers. These are concerns that should be addressed in indivual therapy.
Our friendship groups focus on
- Initiating, developing and maintaining friendships
- Learning conversation skills
- Social nuance skills like personal space, tone of voice, using humour appropriately
- Understanding feelings and how to handle frustrations with peers