The program structure of Huron House reflects the belief that in order for the residents and their families to overcome their unresolved issues and the dysfunctional dynamics that have contributed to the crises that they have been experiencing, counselling should be viewed as a crucial element in the creation of an effective, restorative and successful intervention plan for each of the residents.
Most of the residents of Huron House Boys’ Home have been in some form of crisis prior to their admission, and individual, family and group counseling for the residents and their families can be provided according to their specific needs. A clinical overview of the problems of the residents and their families is achieved by consultation with service providers who have been or who are currently involved with the residents and their families. Clinical assessments are also conducted by the Huron House Boys’ Home clinical social worker to identify the dysfunctional patterns of behavior and the various family factors that are contributing to the residents’ problems. The assessment also helps to determine which interventions could best address those problems. Counselling is one of those workable options.
While a resident’s behavior may present as the most obvious problem that he and his family is experiencing, research and years of cumulative counselling experience has shown that many factors can contribute to the current difficulties. Some of the problems may appear to have a recent origin but closer examination may also disclose that some of the contributing factors are more deep-rooted and entangled with past and current behaviors that continue to reinforce the dysfunctional issues they have been dealing with. Uncovering those factors can be very complex and too challenging for individuals to accomplish on their own. Participation in counseling is the most effective method for helping residents and their families through this process.
Huron House adheres to the client-centred model of counselling. Client-centred counselling uses a collaborative approach in the development of the client’s goals. The client identifies his counselling goals and he is expected to cooperate with the support he receives from the Huron House staff as he attempts to achieve those goals. It is a respectful model that views the resident as an active team member in his personal intervention process.
Counselling is provided at various levels in the Huron House program. There is a consulting clinical psychologist who can provide counselling as well as diagnostic services for the residents and training and support for the frontline staff. Also, there is an in-house clinical social worker who can provide individual and family counselling sessions. The clinical social worker is trained and certified in the delivery of a wide range of clinical intervention models. The counselling models that are utilized are client-centred and they focus on not only helping the resident to process unresolved issues, learn socially accepted techniques that are meant to improve his social interactions and self-regulatory skills and improve his self-esteem but also to increase his personal resiliency and guide him to self-awareness and an effective level of personal autonomy. All of the residents also participate in the Anger Awareness and Life Skills Groups that are facilitated by frontline staff. Each resident has a primary worker who also provides frequent personal counsel, support and encouragement.
On occasion, a resident may also participate in outside counselling that is provided by a community service partner. Outside counselling may have been occurring before a resident was admitted to the program and it was the desire of the resident that counselling should continue.
At times, some of the residents who are involved in the Youth Criminal Justice System may be court-ordered to attend specific counselling that can be provided by either the in-house clinical social worker or a specialized outside counselling service provider.
Each resident’s intervention plan is clinically reviewed on a regular basis to determine the ongoing progress the resident is making and to decide if and when specific goals have been achieved and whether or not other future goals should be considered by the resident.
Wherever the counselling occurs, information about the resident’s counselling progress is shared with all of the members “circle of care” (with consent) in order to ensure an integrated service plan for each of the residents.