Located in the community of Parkdale, The Boys House offers residential treatment to eight boys, ages 13 – 18, who are experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties.
A highly structured program emphasizes and uses both individual and group strengths. The therapeutic milieu includes group therapy, group activities, group tasks, and chores. It also includes individual meetings with an assigned child and youth worker.
Group and individualized programming is designed to provide a range of opportunities that promote self-esteem, confidence, and skill development. The program reflects sensitivity to the fact that boys are ‘shame prone’ and under social expectation to ‘keep a stiff upper lip’ and ‘act tough’. Athletic programming is less competitive and activities are based on an understanding of the need for connection.
Boys with specific needs attend community group treatment programs, which address issues such as anger management, sexual orientation, substance abuse, sexual abuse etc.
The program reflects a Centre-wide commitment to competency-based approaches to treatment. Family involvement is encouraged at every level of the program.
The emphasis on group allows for the residence to rely on a forum, which will help with group problems and difficulties. The individual worker attached to each resident allows for conversations, which the resident may or may not want to share with the group.
Boys House is staffed with dedicated and profession child and youth workers. Psychiatry, psychology, social work and education are fully integrated within the program.
Pre-admission discussions lead to a beginning clinical formulation regarding the problem, the context, and the particular idiosyncratic aspects, which are preventing change. The length of stay is one to two years.
Upon admission, each boy and his family meet with the psychiatrist. Following admission, a psychological assessment on each boy is completed. All residents of Boys House have access to the Centre’s School.
The approach to treatment is based on a multi-disciplinary process in which the above-mentioned disciplines collaborate in clinical discussion and coordinate all aspects of treatment, jointly with the clients, their families, their George Hull Centre clinician, and outside agencies.
An outside consultant provides additional clinical support to the team on a bi-weekly basis. A clinical understanding of each boy’s behaviour and symptoms is developed, and specific treatment plans, team issues, and therapeutic programming are discussed.
Boys are interviewed in the presence of one another, which increase group cohesiveness, understanding, and compassion.
The boys participate in their treatment planning as well as the operation of the house. A weekly House Management meeting involving all the boys and staff builds on relationships, and creates an atmosphere of trust and working together.
In addition to family sessions with the clinician, families are invited to spend time in the program, come for dinner and participate in special events throughout the year. Parents are encouraged to attend seminars and groups offered by the Community Clinic. On weekends, boys go home to their families where appropriate.
Immigrants to Canada, Drako’s father struggled with trauma, and his mother with mental illness.
In high school, Drako’s teachers began to notice his drawings - featuring disturbing images of death and destruction, and as his relationship with his father deteriorated, he was not able to remain at home.
At the Boys House, Drako received support and attention from child and youth workers and was able to participate in structured activities with the other boys, greatly improving his self-confidence and mood.
The Boys House therapist worked intensively with Drako and his father to improve their relationship and communication. As a result of these changes, Drako was able to return to live with his father.
Continuing their process of healing, The George Hull Centre provided aftercare to the family in order to consolidate the many gains made during treatment.