Wood's Homes Blog

Integrating the voices of youth into clinical approaches: What young people can teach us about our mental health interventions

May 18, 2022

We recently recognized Mental Health Week and Child and Youth Mental Health Day this month, and we can’t think of a better thing to talk about than how youth can be part of the solution to improving our systems of support and intervention.

Recently, we’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work together with an incredible group of graduate students and youth co-researchers (all co-authors on this blog post) to consider approaches to clinical work with youth.

We got to sit in a virtual room and hear from youth about what they want and need from the adult mental health supports in their lives.

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Introducing our Director of Philanthropy and Community: Bryan Goehringer

April 14, 2022

Please join us in welcoming our new Director of the Wood’s Homes Foundation: Bryan Goehringer!

Bryan comes to Wood’s Homes as Director of Philanthropy and Community, reporting to our CEO, Bjorn Johansson. He will work with our Foundation Board, Investment Committee and New Initiatives Committee, as well as oversee Wood’s Homes Fundraising and Community Engagement.

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How to change your own mind

March 11, 2022

Happy Social Work Week!

There are a lot of social workers here at Wood’s Homes – over 70 of us, in fact. With so many of us walking through so many doors of the so many programs and services throughout the day (and night), it is no surprise that social work values are reflected in our agency values. So, too, does social work practice influence our collective practice.

Reflective practice is a cornerstone of social work practice. In short, reflective practice is an iterative process whereby the individual reflects on their work (and the work of their team), critically evaluates it (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and incorporates the subsequent learnings into their future work.

Reflective practice is the underpinning of good post-crisis work, good supervision, good leadership and good clinical work. However, reflective practice can also be painful. If you aren’t intentional (and sometimes even if you are), your inner defender can squash the process…or you can get sucked into a shame hole. Over time, though, it pays off in spades.

In considering our agency’s safety journey over the last couple years, the pain and pay-off of reflective practice is clear. It hurt to look in the mirror – especially at first. Nevertheless, over time, it became easier. The processes and opportunities for reflective practice took hold and propelled us forward.

Look how far we’ve come.

So, in the spirit of social work week, consider your own reflective practice. For inspiration, please enjoy Josh Golding’s account of his own reflective journey and his tips on the very difficult task of changing your own mind.

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February is...Psychology Month

February 08, 2022

February is....Psychology Month.

This year’s theme is ‘The Value of Choosing a Psychologist’.

The goal of Psychology Month is to raise awareness of the role that psychology plays in our lives, our schools, our communities and our employment. It provides a good opportunity for public education and promotion of the profession.

Mental health professionals come in all shapes and sizes. At Wood’s Homes, treatment and support teams include a range of interdisciplinary professionals - social workers, psychologists, counsellors, youth and family counsellors, pediatricians, psychiatrists, nurses, occupational therapists, creative arts therapists and on and on.

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2022 Blues: Why it’s still important to press the reset button on a game that hasn’t changed

January 17, 2022

As our new year began, there were a lot of grumblings about how the clock was moving forward but we were all still locked in time.

Sayings like, ‘2022 = 2020, too’, were both true and a little demoralizing. I have written before that Blue Monday isn’t real, but if you are feeling a little less excited about 2022, I think that it is worth talking about.

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A Season of Faith: Why trust is everything

December 24, 2021

Trust is a fundamental part of healthy development, beginning essentially from birth and is an aspect of relationships that we all manage regularly.

(A good article on the important life stages of trust is here.)

Trust has long been tied up in faith and tradition, something the holidays are very much steeped in.

As the latest variant Omicron looms large over our festive season, we are all facing difficult decisions about trust and about social gatherings, which is heavily layered in conversations about vaccination.  Don’t worry, this isn’t a blog about getting vaccinated, but rather one that looks at the complicated relationships we have with our friends, family and ultimately news sources and government about who or what we trust when it comes to our safety. 

(In a fascinating Q & A article, leading experts talk about vaccination hesitancy and how this has been created. Read it here.) The article basically speaks to the lack of trust in information we are getting about COVID, as well as those who deliver the message. 

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the children who are growing up in this environment. 

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Is it wrong to ‘lie’ to your kids about Santa?

December 22, 2021

One of the glories of living with teenagers is the interesting conversations you can have around the holiday table. 

Last year, it was all about the morality of telling kids that there is a Santa Claus when (spoiler alert) there isn’t one.  It started with one of the oldest declaring that her future children would not be told that Santa is real, because “that’s just a huge lie”.  This was of course followed by the other kids talking about what they used to believe and how it felt to find out.  And then their father exclaimed in horror: “What do you mean there’s no Santa Claus???!“ Clearly, some habits really do die hard (or apparently not at all). 

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Driving Change Together

November 26, 2021

It's National Addictions Awareness Week.

This year’s theme, Driving Change Together, encourages everyone to reassess the way they think about substance use.

Through Wood’s Homes, I was able to connect with a group of people my age who wanted a future free from addiction and felt excited about process of Driving Change Together.

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The Power of Peer Mentorship

November 25, 2021

Who is the expert in the field of addictions?

It has been a dream to lead an Addictions Program that recognizes past clients of the program as experts. The Addictions Peer Mentor role allows for lived experience to be front and centre. Their involvement in the work of addictions is critical to evidence-informed activities.

Having an Addictions Peer Mentor is empowering because they deeply understand the youth we serve. They apply an alternative approach to addictions and act as a confidant who motivates our clients and inspires change.

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A Visit to Capitol Hill

November 19, 2021

National Child Day is November 20 and this year’s celebration marks the 30th anniversary of Canada’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Wood’s Homes, as an agency, has many ties to this day through its work in the 40+ programs and services we provide.

Recently, I paid my first visit to Capitol Hill, a program that works with children under 12. This home in the community is a short-term safe refuge for these little ones who are behaviourally at-risk and have broken down or are at risk of breaking down their current caregiver placements.

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