A therapy clinic might seem like the best place to get therapy services. Lots of staff and impressive therapy equipment can be alluring. However, therapy in an environment that is natural to you, like your home or office, can be even better. Enablr Therapy offers high quality therapy services in the location of your choice. We feel this approach will best meet the needs of our busy families. Without the restrictions from insurance guidelines, our therapist can address you or your family’s functional needs without the barriers of a clinical setting.
Why is Therapy In the Natural Environment Effective?
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs tells us that individuals learn best when they have their basic physical needs met, feel a sense of safety and security, and have a sense of connection and belonging. For most, one’s home is the place where they feel most comfortable, safe, and accepted.
The clinical setting and unfamiliar people can be overwhelming. This is especially true for people who have anxiety or sensory sensitivities. When the stress of adapting to a new place is removed, clients feel more comfortable and ready to learn new skills and techniques.
The Influence on Learning
In addition to meeting basic needs, learning at home, or in the applicable environment, better supports the phases of learning.
The Phases of Learning:
- Acquisition: Learning to do the skill
- Fluency/Proficiency: Doing the skill more accurately and quickly
- Maintenance: Doing the skill without instruction or cues
- Generalization: Applying the skill in new situations
Generalizing Your Skills
Let’s imagine being at a therapy clinic. You are learning skills related to daily activities like dressing, bathing, cooking, or going up the steps to your home. In the clinic, the therapy provider would do their best to mimic your home setup, but it isn’t the same.
You don’t have your clothes, bathtub, cookware, cabinets, or the exact configuration of your steps and doorway. So, instead of learning the actual skills that you need, working on fluency, or refining the skill, you are immediately tasked to generalize the skill in your home. This creates challenges to using new skills.
For some, especially young children or adults with mental health concerns, cognitive, or learning issues, this is a big jump. Being able to work on daily life activities where they actually occur is best.
- Cooking in one’s own kitchen
- Playing with the child’s own toys and siblings or friends
- Dressing and bathing in the privacy and comfort of one’s own bedroom
Having therapy in the space where the daily skills are used, removes learning barriers and better allows skill acquisition.
The Support of Family and Friends Matters
When an individual is trying to make changes in their lives, support and accountability can help. Having trusted people to share the journey, through the lows and highs, can help to keep an individual on track. Having therapy in your own environment helps to tap into this support. Clients are able to include any family or friends in their therapy sessions. This involvement allows family members and/or friends to provide valuable encouragement during the session. Their in-session experience can also help with reinforcement to try new techniques and integrate them into daily routines.
This approach is so effective, that standard practice is for children from birth to 3-years of age to receive state early-intervention services at home. The therapy providers work with the child, but also provide parent coaching to facilitate interventions and social support.