3) Scheduling and Planning - ‘Scheduling and Planning’ is an another extension of ‘no-frills predicting.’ Once the clinician has clarity as to the repetitive aspects of a given disruptive behavior, he is now in a position to use this knowledge to ‘schedule and plan’ when the next episode will occur. In so doing it is possible to discuss details with the client that include ‘where, when, how, and with whom’ the next event will likely arise.

While ‘scheduling and planning’ is done together with the client, it does not necessarily rely on the client’s ‘cooperation.’ A ‘scheduling intervention’ is similar to discussing the arrival time of Amtrak into New York City from Boston. Although the train does not pull in at the exact time every day, the schedule gives passengers a ‘general arrival time’. Similarly, given the client’s predictable patterns, the clinician is able to offer the ‘expected arrival time’ of the client’s next disruptive behavior along with other details (station stops) before arrival.

‘Scheduling and planning’ is easy to formulate, as a review of the client chart and immediate history (recent days, and weeks), allow the clinician to gauge the frequency, rate, and range of an identified pattern. By the intervention defining and describing the ‘minor details’ that lead up to the ‘major (arrival) episode’, the client has the opportunity to exercise his ‘free will’ to undo the ‘minor details’ and thereby derail the predicted ‘major event’. In this way, the intervention allows the client to discover that his ‘major events’ are not sudden occurrences.


Case Example:

Charlie constantly ends up in ‘time-out’ at school. In Charlie’s view he believes that these time-outs are sudden and random events. The clinician then asks Charlie what he remembers just prior to being sent to time-out.

In reviewing his morning, Charlie remembers that he was having fun banging his school locker door; as a result, he got to homeroom after the late bell; and when he got there, he slammed his book bag on his desk. He also admits to saying ‘a wise crack’ when his teacher asked why he was late.

However in his mind, “suddenly and for no good reason” he got sent to time-out! The clinician now has the information he needs to ‘schedule and plan’ the best way for Charlie to get himself back into timeout.

Even though Charlie may protest that he ‘doesn’t want to end up in time-out’, the clinician advises him that “we’re just planning your usual schedule”. The intervention then reviews the schedule - until Charlie can repeat it - as to the correct order of the ‘station stops’ that lead to the final ‘time-out’ destination. The process thereby introduces him to self-reflect or be mindful of the series of steps that lead to the ‘time-out destination’.         

Through ‘scheduling and planning’ the clinician is able to establish his presence / ‘shadow’ inside the client’s awareness. Even after the session is over, the intervention creates a scenario that the clinician’s ‘ongoing shadow’ follows him. When done correctly, the client will feel unable to detach or ignore that the clinician is ‘keeping him company’ (particularly when he makes any station stops) throughout his day. The power of ‘scheduling and planning’ is that it forces the client to acknowledge his ongoing connection to others in a manner that he was not previously aware. 

www.ParadoxPsychology.com   EPK Revised: 1-21-12