A Clinically- Informed Life Coaching Model
The New Perspectives Model is centered around the relationship between student and members of the NP team. Upon arrival, each student partners with a “New Perspectives Certified Life Coach” and together they work to identify needs, goals and desired outcomes.
The Personalized Growth and Balance Plan is not a one-time event but an on-going process involving the following phases:
Its hard to know where to begin if we don’t know where we want to go. While some NP students arrive with specific goals in mind, others are still searching for a direction to take their lives. By asking students to think deeply about the answers to the simple questions of what do I want? and why?, they gain clarity to personal goals and identify motivators.
Increasing self-awareness can be foundational to growth and change. It is common for individuals to magnify their flaws while minimizing strengths, however, true self-awareness requires a balanced and honest look at both; when paired with self-compassion, we can accept ourselves as we are, flaws and all. With this increased wisdom, we see more clearly, gain more confidence, and make better decisions. At New Perspectives, our process of initial and on-going assessment is designed not only to increase self-awareness but also to incorporate practical applications of new insights into everyday life.
Using knowledge and wisdom gained from the previous phases, students reverse engineer their goals and begin to develop a personalized plan designed to take them from where they currently are to where they desire to be. As they brainstorm and strategize with their coaches, they identify priorities and areas of focus. Moving from broader ideas to a more specific plan, provides clarity that allows us to match students with the right supports and Success Team members, and creates the foundation of the semester’s structure.
Sometimes the difference between desire for change and actual growth is making realistic commitments. All of us have a zone of optimal challenge that lies between feeling bored and feeling overwhelmed. For many neurodiverse individual this zone is very narrow, as they may shift from feeling under-stimulated to overstimulated frequently and rapidly. The NP team helps students select and commit to strategies and structure aimed at keeping them in a zone of optimal growth while ensuring balance and room for personal interests, downtime, relaxation, and fun.
Even the most well thought out plans can fail without fine-tuning. Our review process allows students to make room for unforeseen challenges and learn from what’s working and not working. Through weekly review meetings with the lead coach and monthly success team meetings, we help the student to track progress, review priorities, troubleshoot problem areas, identify next steps, and make any needed adjustments to their plan.
Matching students’ needs to the optimal amount of support and structure are crucial to creating an environment where young adults thrive.
Too little structure can leave young adults floundering, isolating, and feeling overwhelmed often resulting in feelings of shame as they lose confidence in their ability to make progress.
On the other hand, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. The last thing a young adult wants is unnecessary structure. Too much externally imposed structure can leave young adults feeling controlled and even punished for experiencing challenges as they try to find their footing in the adult world. Unnecessary and unwelcomed support can lead to students being more resistive, dismissing advice and feedback, going underground or avoiding contact with support members.
Instead of predetermined levels or program stages, we utilize an ongoing process of evaluation aimed at keeping us in the student’s “sweet spot” for optimal growth.
Each student’s “Success Team” is comprised of members from the New Perspectives staff as well as community members and other key individuals identified by the student and their Lead Coach. New Perspectives team members are assigned based on needs identified in the student’s Growth and Balance Plan and includes staff from the following Teams:
Life Coaching Team
Not only do athletes seek the experience, enthusiastic support, objective perspective and insight of a coach so do entrepreneurs, executives, business professionals, etc. Life coaches partner with students in examining where they are at now and where they want to be. They help identify challenges and develop a plan of action to create the life the student really wants.
Coaching is a key component often missing from therapeutic support. When progress is not made in therapy a traditional response is thinking the solution lies in prescribing additional therapy; instead what is likely missing is support between session to assist with implementing and applying the identified strategies. Whether helping to implement a new skill or joining them as they are struggling, our coaches help students in choosing a path forward, working alongside them while gradually reducing support as change is internalized.
Peer Mentor Team
Mentors are an immediate and constant resource for friendship as students are building relationships outside of the program. While they provide examples of healthy young adult living, they are not supervisors or authority figures telling the student what they can and can't do.
Social and Recreational Mentoring
Mentors are a resource to students to helping them to find ways to relax, unwind, have fun and stay balanced. They provide options and ideas for filling free-time whether it is simply playing a game, seeing a movie, going to a concert, or participating in Friday Night Majic at the local game store. When a student has an activity or personal interest they want to pursue, mentors can help identify opportunities, provide transportation and if desired participate alongside them.
Whether trying to make a fresh start or experiencing nervousness about the first time living on their own, many of our students have appreciated the option of having a mentor as a supportive apartment-mate.
The New Perspectives Clinical Team is made up of therapists who specialize in supporting neurodiverse young adults. Based on student needs, they pull from a variety of philosophical frameworks and techniques including CBT, ACT, Motivational Interviewing, Experiential Therapy, Exposure Therapy, EMDR, Mindfulness, Mind Body Bridging, DBT, Art therapy, and others.
As a team, they share a core belief that while breakthroughs can happen in an office, in-office therapy should be just one of the many tools a therapist uses to facilitate growth. While some students process information better and prefer the serenity of the office setting, new research is suggesting that simply walking while talking can help increase deeper thinking. By spending time with students out of the office, therapists are able to gain perspective and better insight to the dynamics that might be impacting progress. They are on call and available to students for in the moment support. Joining with students in their times of distress, therapists are able to give more precise and impactful support.
The therapists also work in tandem with other success team members. They provide support and coaching to parents. They work closely with the coaching team and share their knowledge and experience as they mentor, train, and supervise our clinically informed life coaches.
Many of our students who have struggled academically are not lacking in intelligence but rather have not found consistent ways to translate their abilities into a matching academic performance. Our trained and experienced academic team provides to support to students seeking to further their academic progress. Whether just starting college or needing to reboot the college experience, finishing high school or seeking a GED, enrolling in a Technology college or other vocational training; our academic team is ready to help, offering support in the following areas:
Academic Assessment: identifying academic strengths and needs to set students up for success by matching them to appropriate academic classes and course loads as well as supports and accommodations
Career Counseling: utilizing innovative tools such as the Greenwood 120 to assess aptitude and interests to explore educational and career paths
Executive Functioning: identifying tools and building skills to improve organization, procrastination, perfectionism or rigidity
Tutoring: beyond reviewing or teaching concepts, helping to get ideas out of the head and onto the computer screen in an organized way, and supporting students when they are struggling to stay focused
Accessing School Resources: helping students identify and access resources, navigate school support systems such Accessibility Services, and increase self-advocacy; as research has shown these skills to be a key indicator of success for those with learning differences
Employment and Career Team
In a US culture where identity and success are often defined by a job title, neurodiverse young adults face additional challenges finding satisfying employment and meaningful careers. At New Perspectives an overarching goal is becoming as self-reliant as possible; creating consistent income is a major component of achieving true independence. Our employment team supports a variety of students employment needs including:
Job coaching: including resume building, job hunting, interviewing, relationships with co-workers and managers, maintaining employment
Career exploration: building off the career assessment of the Academic Team, the employment team focuses on finding application and providing exposure to different career options including internships and apprenticeships
Entrepreneurial and skill building projects: a learning option for creative personalities, hands-on-learners or individuals who dream of being their own boss; entrepreneurial project based learning approach to translating interests into generating income while learning the basics of business
At New Perspectives, we believe in the value of recreation purely for the joy of engaging in fun and novel experiences, but we also recognize it can be much more. Recreation can be a healthy way to blow off steam and let go of daily pressures. It can also be utilized as a powerful tool for growth. For example, learning how to overcome anxiety on a ski hill can transfer over to reducing anxiety in other areas of life. Recreation can also be a crucial tool in connecting with others through common interests.
We recognize that our students have a wide variety of recreational interests and needs. Our Rec Team strives to provide both opportunities for new experiences as well as ensuring students feel supported in pursuing personal interests and passions. Students can choose to participate in the following recreational elements of our program:
Evening and weekend activities: everything from game night, movies, dinner out, Friday night Majic, Dungeon and Dragons, skiing, boating and other outdoor sports, as well as community events such as concerts, professional sports and Comic Com
Monthly weekend getaways: trips are planned with the input of students to explore Utah and the surrounding areas
Exercise and fitness: we encourage students to participate in some form of regular exercise and strive to help students find a fitness activity they enjoy; such as walking and talking with staff, rock climbing, biking, yoga, working with a personal trainer, etc.
Ski and snowboard program: we are minutes away from some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world and our Rec Team includes experienced instructors for those who are just getting started or wanting to improve their technique
Fall and spring break trips: each year we offer an optional week long trip during Utah Valley University’s breaks
Summer travel abroad: International travel with service and adventure experiences provide unique growth opportunities to increase confidence, improve communication and problem solving, and provide exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking. We currently offer summer options based out of Portugal and Puerto Rico