Program Supports


At VHYTC, we take pride in the expertise and dedication of our employees.  Our employees are carefully selected because of their skill level, passion for their field of expertise and their commitment to clinical excellence.

All of our employees are knowledgeable about Recovery, and many have years of personal Recovery themselves.  Because of the varied background and extensive training of our team, we are able to respond to the diverse challenges that our Participants face.


Initial assessment, screen and healing and recovery planning

Upon admission to VHYTC, Participants are assigned an Addictions Counsellor who will collaborate with them and the rest of the healing support team to create an individualized Healing and Recovery Journey plan.  The Alcohol Counsellors and Youth Care Workers will review the Participant Orientation extensively.

The initial screening consists of:

  • Observation for mood, behaviour, and emotion status
  • Screening tools as appropriate [i.e. the  what does this mean again CAGE, Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST), Marijuana Test, Drug Screening Test (DAST), Alcohol use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT), etc.].
  • Interview and misuse evaluation to gather information and access Participant’s response and reaction to:
    • Family background
    • Social history
    • Legal history
    • Medical history
    • Mental health and alcohol and drug misuse history
    • Education and/or employment history
    • Self-Inflicted Violence {SIV]
    • Suicide screening
    • Comparison to the intake package information


Each Participant will provide information on the problems, challenges, needs, strengths and goals they would like to see addressed.  This information helps us design an individualized Healing and Recovery plan for each Participant.  Each Participant’s Healing and Recovery Journey plan may include group, individual, and behaviour management, social skills and life skills training, and family support.

A written summary and collaboration on an individualized Healing a Recovery Journey plan is developed, which in return provides the Participant with the best chance of achieving a lifetime of Recovery.  The Participant Healing and Recovery Plan is reviewed by the Clinical Team, Community Liaison Worker, Community Support Workers, and family and other identified supports for input.


Individual counselling

We provide individual counselling utilizing different modalities that will support the following:

  • Teach coping skills to help the Participant avoid relapse
  • Recognizing and fostering management of painful feelings and experiences
  • Improving interpersonal functioning and enhancing social supports


Group Process

Group process is a method of providing Healing and Recovery services within an environment of safety, where Participants can engage in in-depth self-disclosure and emotional expression.  The goal of group process may include:

  • Establishing abstinence
  • Integration of the individual Participant into a group and sharing setting
  • Stabilization of individual Participant functioning
  • Relapse prevention
  • Identifying and working through long-standing problems that have been obscured or exacerbated by alcohol and drug misuse
  • Identifying/acknowledging others’ fears and mistrust
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Develop closer relationships with family members and others
  • Reduce shame or guilt
  • Resolve personal conflicts


Participant behaviours exist for particular reasons, and determining the purpose of the behaviour is essential in the healing Journey process.


Family Support

We provide emotional support to the family members of our Participants, whenever this is feasible.  We provide support as they deal with getting help for their child and the stresses associated with this level of care.  Changes the Participant makes will only be successful if they are supported and sustained by the entire family during treatment and after graduation.  Our employees’ will ensure the family is:

  • Made a partner in their child’s Healing and Recovery plan, whenever, feasible and appropriate
  • Supported during the residential treatment of their child and during the Continuing Care phase
  • Informed of their child’s progress  on a weekly basis
  • Provided education and information about the deadly consequences of alcohol and drug
  • Provided examples of the behaviours that trigger alcohol and drug use and setting limits
  • Shown how to provide positive reinforces
  • Provided skills to improve coping and parenting skills


The family unit as a system intervenes in ways to keep the system intact and reinforce the positive influence of the parents.  All services are coordinated with and mindful of the family role and importance.


Identify and resist social pressures

We teach Participants to identify and analyze the role of external pressures, whether it is peer pressure, advertising, role models etc.  They are taught assertiveness skills on how to refuse effectively, how to say no without negative feelings.


Protective Factors

This is an essential part of the Healing and Recovery Journey process.  We provide information and activities that deal with protective factors that will help counteract the adverse risk factors of alcohol and drug misuse such as:

  • Positive sober activities
  • School achievement
  • Setting goals
  • Associating with positive peer groups
  • Building loving relationships with loving adults[parents, family members or others]
  • Parental support
  • Helping, caring and living up to one’s potential
  • Self-esteem


Normative Education

We teach Participants that most people both youth and adults, do not use/misuse alcohol or drugs, to show them what normal behaviour is.


Social Skills and Life Skills Training

We teach Participants the following skills to maximize their potential by giving them a new perspective of themselves and the world around them.  The goal is to help our Participants to become proficient in the skills necessary to function as an independent member of society, enhance their self-worth, personal competence, and strengthen their sense of community responsibility.  These include:

  • Appropriate social skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Goal setting
  • Stress management
  • Communication techniques
  • Decision-making skills
  • Assertive skills
  • Appropriate thought blocking skills through positive affirmations


Modular Learning

We provide interactive information about the effects of drugs and alcohol and other related topics.  This information and the various personal skills are presented interactively.  This includes role-playing, discussion, small groups, activities, simulation, and brainstorming.


Transition Planning and Follow Up

At intake, we will begin to build a transition [Healing and Recovery Journey] plan that incorporates goals for the family, connections with the school, community agencies referral agent(s) and others to provide the best possible opportunity for continued success as the Participant transitions back to their community or elsewhere.


Individualized Academics

Our Teacher-Therapist will work with Participants to develop strategies that help achieve success and increase individual learning based on their identified needs, regardless of their education status [in school/not in school].


Diversity and Culture

VHYTC and its employees, honour and respect the diversity of the Participants and families served.  Emphasis on diversity awareness and education is encouraged as an ongoing process.

The Healing and Journey approach responds respectfully and effectively to Participants of all cultures, classes, gender, races, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, faiths, and religions and disability.  This will be done in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of Participants, families, their worker(s), and communities, and protects and preserves the dignity of each.

Participant behaviours are given meaning in consideration of the context in which they occur.  That context includes the individual personality, the family of origin the community, and the greater culture and history of which a person is a member.

The use of Aboriginal culture and activities is also included.  Some of the activities include the participation of elders.  The Participants participate in sweat lodge ceremonies, smudging, participating in talk circles, listening to stories etc.


Case Management

A harmonious case management system has been developed to provide the assessment, Healing and Recovery Journey planning, coordination, monitoring, and evaluation of services.


Elder Visits

Elders come to VHYTC weekly to provide cultural and spiritual guidance to the Participants.  We use a roster of Elders to represent the various Aboriginal Cultures of Saskatchewan.


Case Conference

Regular case conferences are held [in person or through conference calls] with the Referral Agent, family members, and the Participant to provide an update on progress to date and a discussion about the Participant’s Healing and Recovery Journey Plan.



The Clinical Supervisor, Addiction Counsellors, Youth Care Workers, Cultural and Recreation Consultant, Teacher-Therapist, and the Community Liaison Worker act as advocates for the Participants, in consultation with others.


Continuing Care

VHYTC places great emphasis on Continuing Care believing it is a crucial component to a Participant’s ongoing Healing and Recovery long-term success.

Continue care planning begins the moment a Participant enters VHYTC, developing an individual Participant-based Healing and Recovery Journey plan that incorporates available local and other appropriate services.  These services are often coordinated within Family Services’ system ensuring a smooth and secure transition to community-based care.

Follow up letters, telephone calls, text messages, emails are made/sent weekly during the first month, and then at the 3, 6, 9 and 12 month intervals after completion of the first six [6] phases of the program.


Well-Established and Caring Team

Our experience shows that Participants respond best to treatment when it is delivered in a positive environment filled with compassion, trust, warmth, and deep connections.  We are deeply committed to helping Participants reach their full potential and believe the stability of our team is an important differentiating factor.  Most importantly, we sincerely believe that each Participant can and will change.


Positive, Strengths-Based Behaviour Management

The strength based behaviour management system promotes the development of positive change and provides a safe and trusting setting to work in team environments.  With the use of creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, routine practice, and feedback provides opportunities for our Participants to internalize good decision making to guide them for the rest of their lives.


Recreation Therapy Activities

The healing power of participating in recreation activities is established to enhance Participant’s self-confidence, personal competence and teaches them valuable teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills they will use for the rest of their lives.  They are also introduced to new experiences [i.e. volunteering at the Food Bank, Dog Walking at the SPCA, walking, exercises in the gym etc].


Individual Healing and Recovery Journey Plan

No two Participants or their families are exactly alike.  That is why each of our Participants are supported in developing a personal and individualized Healing and Recovery Journey plan based upon a deep understanding of their unique needs.  Upon admission, each Participant’s academic skills, learning style, social skills, spiritual, physical, and mental health are formally evaluated and a customized Healing and Recovery plan is developed to address their specific needs.  Our individualized approach is a primary reason our Participants should be able to make long-lasting changes in attitudes and behaviours.

The Healing and Recovery Journey planning is essential to the identification and delivery of services for Participants while they are with VHYTC.

All Healing and Recovery Journey activities proceed from a stance that respects the inherent value and potential of every Participant.  A position of supportive neutrality is consistent with the comprehensive approach and provides the basis to maintain positive regard for Participants recognizing that they are more than just their behaviours.



We measure our success based on our ability to get the Participants back into a positive and warm setting as quickly, successfully, and smoothly as possible to their homes or other community settings.

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