Cariboo residents have the opportunity to change their lives for the better through courses offered by life skills coach George Emery. A recent celebration of achievement featured two participants who successfully completed a five-week life skills for Managing Anger course.
The event welcomed friends and families of the participants, as well as Mayor Walt Cobb, and included a walk-through of one of the course activities by life skills trainee John Fleming.
“The most important thing for me was learning to deal more effectively with my everyday life, and learning to be a better parent,” said Christine Folland.
Emery said the course is about much more than learning to control your temper, adding it teaches core lessons you can use in your everyday life: your job, social life and your family.
“These courses help people become more self-aware and develop positive communication skills. They help us gain control over our emotions and over our lives,” he explained. “We learn what influences our decisions and we deal with them before they become a problem. We deal with bedrock feelings like frustration, regret, guilt and embarrassment; we recognize ‘triggers’ and learn strategies. We can deal with anger before something nasty happens. We learn to say, ‘OK, I’m getting frustrated’, and deal with it before it becomes anger.”
Emery was certified as a Life Skills coach in Williams Lake under the New Start program, and several of his workshops were sponsored by Canadian Mental Health, and facilitated by Cariboo Memorial Hospital, the Williams Lake Indian Band and others. He also worked for the Arctic College, for WCB in Kamloops, and did Life Skills training in Mission.
After returning to Williams Lake, he said he noticed a lack of life skills programs available to the public.
“I felt that these workshops would help fill those gaps, and started rebuilding them with new lesson plans,” he said. “My goal is to make these skills available to anybody who wants them, and with these courses, you don’t have to be referred, or belong to a group to have access.”
Life Skills coaches can work with any kind of interpersonal relationships through the lesson plans, according to Emery. “We can address things like dating, working with the elderly, job skills, communication, problem solving and much more — it’s very versatile. My two programs, Managing Anger and Assertive Communication in a New World, deal with certain specific areas, but there are many more. We can tailor a program to meet any need,” he said.
“The programs are meant to push us to the limits of our self-awareness and beyond. It takes us to those dark and dusty corners where we become aware of things that control us. The programs are meant to help us become aware of those things and by knowing what they are, we take back control. We own our own stuff. We learn to address our needs and the needs of others. We learn to communicate in a way that is non-threatening and develop skills that help us stand up for our rights, communicate our needs, wants and express them in ways that are more meaningful and productive.”
He said he is currently working on a new program to address career exploration for young people.