Mersa Huskic helps ensure our residential clients eat healthy

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By Justin Wilson, Wood’s Homes Communications Coordinator

At Wood’s Homes, we know that nutrition and healthy eating can make a world of difference when seeking positive change in the young mental health clients who live with us.

Professional cook Mersa Huskic joined us a few months ago bringing with her an amazing menu to feed  youth at our Parkdale campus! Mersa came to Wood’s with an impressive culinary history and a world of knowledge around healthy eating and proper nutrition. 

Read on for our Q & A with Mersa! Continue reading

The Johnston family tells us why they chose to foster children

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Over 100 years ago, Wood’s Homes was founded on the idea that opening one’s home to those in need was the right thing to do. That first act by our founder, Reverend George Wood, who took in the children of a soldier leaving for war, was the start of our dedication to fostering and marked the humble beginnings of our organization.

Today, our Foster Care Network is one of the largest fostering programs in the country. We work with some amazing families to provide comfort for youth in need. One such family has been willing to tell us of their fostering experience and we’re happy to share that with you today. Continue reading

What’s LOVE got to do with it?

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By Patricia Spady, Wood’s Homes Clinician

Wood’s Homes hosted its first international symposium last fall in Banff and as a clinician I had the privilege of meeting and thanking Michael Hoyt, a keynote speaker, for inspiring me with his words of love.

Dr. Hoyt reflected on the qualities therapists bring to their work. He talked of the importance of skills and attending to the research, but his last slide encouraged us not to forget the ‘love’.  I had a surprisingly strong emotional response and his simple words have stayed with me.

When he visited us at Eastside Family Centre, I wished him a safe journey back to California and he challenged me to “keep the love going.” What did he mean?  What does he know about the role of love in therapy that I need to know?  Why did it strike such a strong chord for me?

Love between couples is emphasized in our culture in general, and as Valentine’s Day arrives, it is front and centre in February. But I also find myself pondering the unique love that couples bring to us for reflection as therapists. Couples present a unique challenge for walk-in, single-session therapists for we enter their union at a moment in time and we must be careful to be firmly on the side of their relationship.  We resist the urge to see only its complaints and anger – the ‘love wounds’.  The danger is we could miss the most important question of all:  “What keeps you in the relationship; connected, bound together, striving?”  In my experience the reply is almost always “Because I love him/her.”

This is an ancient and powerful concept. The Greeks defined this love as EROS or an intimate romantic love, not necessarily sexual but certainly desirous.  Freud defined EROS as our life force. Carl Jung suggested that EROS was the opposite of LOGOS or rationality.  At Eastside Family Centre, we provide an immediate opportunity for couples to think about their love and what they are saying and doing as expressions of this energy.  Are we walking on sacred ground when we share in a couple’s love?  And how do we meet it with our own sense of love for the couple, as Michael Hoyt suggests we do?

This led me to the consideration of another Greek concept of love – AGAPE. This refers to a selfless love of humanity.  Are good therapists called in some way by this energy? I have observed that without bringing AGAPE into the therapy room, a single session runs the risk of feeling like a question period or a police interview.  As walk-in, single-session therapists we need to be as curious as we can and put aside our agendas for what we might think a couple needs.

I wonder if Dr. Hoyt wasn’t trying to tell us it is not enough to bring clinical curiosity to our work. It is an AGAPE curiosity about a couple’s relationship that creates a little bit of thinking space for couples.  I have come to believe meeting the couple’s EROS energy with warmth, acceptance, and selflessness helps to heal their ‘love wounds’.  By including EROS it increases the possibility for something new to occur.  I think Dr. Hoyt struck a chord with me because he was calling me to remember that making the most of one hour of therapy means making the most of love.


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Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family and community – let’s work together!

If you are experiencing a crisis and need to speak to someone, please call our counsellors at our 24/7 Crisis Counselling Line: 403-299-9699 or toll-free: 1-800-563-6106.

Wood’s Homes is a nationally accredited mental health centre – proudly helping communities for over 100 years. Learn more at woodshomes.ca.

From toddlers to teens, check out these tips!

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By Jane Matheson, CEO of Wood’s Homes

This Family Day long weekend, we decided to take some time to reflect on some things that keep families healthy, happy and together. We know this isn’t always easy and that challenges are unavoidable, but we also know that the best way to help the families that come to Wood’s Homes is to listen and learn from individual experience.

That’s why we’ve put together some lists of things we’ve learned while guiding families through the rough patches.

So, without further adieu, check out our Top 10 Tactics for Taming Toddlers, as well as some useful tips for raising teens. Continue reading

When times are tough, we’re here to listen.

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By Janet Stewart, Manager at Eastside Family Centre

“Thank You. I came here not knowing how I would be helped or what to expect.  I didn’t expect such a profound experience.  I feel like after today I’m a bit more equipped to deal with myself now” – Eastside Family Centre client.

In times of stress and uncertainty, it helps to talk. That’s why Wood’s Homes’ Eastside Family Centre and the Community Resource Team are here.

Continue reading