YW Counselling provides tools and strategies to manage strong emotions and help build healthy families. Lana Bentley, Program Operations Director, shares more about the program and how it benefits YW clients:
Q: When the YW says they work with vulnerable women what does that really mean?
A: Vulnerability looks different for everyone. There are days when I feel vulnerable but I usually get over it pretty quickly and it doesn’t negatively impact my life for an extended period of time. For so many of the women we work with, they feel vulnerable every day and often have for years. They are vulnerable to the point of not being able to function. They use things like drugs and alcohol to numb their pain. It’s heartbreaking to see but YW can help and does help turn people’s lives around.
Q: What might their past experiences have been?
A: Many women come to us with trauma. Something happened along their journey. It could be abuse, their workplace environment, challenges with relationships or their child acting out. It could be a one-time incident or multi-layered. What causes trauma for one person doesn’t necessarily traumatize another. We meet each woman where she is at, without judgment and with lots of compassion.
Q: How does YW support vulnerable women?
A: YW offers a continuum of services from shelter and housing to childcare and employment skill development. YW Counselling programs help women, as well as children and men to feel hopeful. Group and individual counselling sessions support clients to relieve stress, be mindful, manage their emotions, identify triggers and learn about healthy relationships that assists their mental wellness. We focus on their strengths. What has happened to them rather than what is “wrong” with them.
Q: Can you give some examples of when a woman might seek YW Counselling services.
A: A woman might come to us if she is struggling with her emotions and can’t cope. If she is experiencing or has been exposed to abuse – in her home, at work, with a current or past partner. A woman might seek help for herself and her daughter if her daughter is struggling with things like anorexia or harming herself. Give YW a call and we will point you in the right direction.
Q: Is there a cost?
A: YW offers an affordable and flexible fee structure based on a sliding scale which ensures program fees are not a barrier to service.
Q: Can people really change?
A: Absolutely, change is always possible! In our counselling services alone we worked with more than 1,300 women, children and men in 2017. Each persons’ progress will look different but they all changed the day they picked up the phone to call us or came in for their first session. We rely on support from donors, community partners, referral agencies and funders to do this work but every day is one step forward.
Q: Where can I find out more?
A: You can learn more about YW Counselling online at www.ywcalgary.ca/counselling or call 403-266-4111. If you or someone you know needs to speak to a professional about options and supports available for women, children and men, we’re here to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.