Parent Educational Group Intervention (PEGI)
PEGI recognizes that Parents/Caregivers may experience cumulative stressors in their lives that impact on their self-care. PEGI follows the Psychoeducational Family Therapy Model which is an empirically based form of therapy that seeks to impart information through education to families experiencing an accumulation of stressors in their caregiving roles. Participants are typically family members / caregivers of individuals living with various neurodevelopmental differences, mental illness, and/or chronic illnesses.
The program sessions are 2 hours, weekly, for 8 weeks and are facilitated by a master’s level therapist. The group can include up to 12 participants. Each session consists of 3 components which are interwoven throughout each session. The 3 components are:
1. Psychoeducation – core components and optional components are available and may include but not limited to: Ways to Manage Stress through DBT practices ; Practicing Mindfulness and Self-Compassion; Use of Positive Behavioural Strategies; Caregiver Brain Health; Mental Health in Individuals with Neurodevelopmental Differences
2. Psychotherapeutic Support: discussing and processing cumulative challenges and stressors with parents who are experiencing similar challenges.
3. Integration of learning resulting in improved self-care and decreased distress in their caregiving roles through the use of a Personalized Action Plan
The program aims to provide interventions to caregivers that maintain a balance between education and psychotherapeutic support. The program goals are to:
1. Empower caregivers to take back control over their self-care through education, support, and acting on their needs.
2. Understand “caregiver distress” and learn about stress management ways to better manage cumulative and daily stressors.
3. Increase coping skills, and provide a safe environment to share feelings and experiences in order to get psychotherapeutic support and validation.
The group has also been offered to larger groups in a one-day format, and although there was less opportunity for the therapeutic portion to be implemented, the educational content was rich with information and very well received.
If you are an agency or organization that is interested in providing PEGI in either an 8-week group format or one-day presentation, please contact us for more detailed information. Let us work with you to individualize this empowering group to the Families and Caregivers your agency supports.
About the program: The P.E.G.I. program, originally named E.F.I. (Elgin Family Intervention, working title), was developed and researched as part of the author’s master’s thesis, with the support of the Developmental Disabilities Mental Health Services and the University of Calgary. The program had been trialed for research purposes and this research suggested that family caregivers were “highly satisfied” with the program. Pre- and post- data suggested participants found all three components “highly beneficial”. The knowledge was useful and relevant; they felt “less isolated” and “more validated” and normalized; and they learned to problem-solve, set goals, and act on their personalized action plans. The program was also presented at the Health and Wellbeing Conference for People with Developmental Disabilities in September 2008 and was well received.