Social Work Week 2017
Meet Hutton House registered Social Worker Lisa Havens
Q. Why did you become a social worker?
A. I first met social workers when I was employed as a mentor for children and youth with disabilities. I became very interested in helping people.
Q. What schools have you attended?
A. I went to Western University for my Bachelor of Arts in sociology. Nine years after completing my undergraduate degree, I attended Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo for my Master of Social Work degree. I commuted to Waterloo 2 days a week for 3 years.
Q. When did you start working at Hutton House?
A. Almost 9 years ago
Q. In general terms, how do you help people who come to Hutton House?
A. I help participants with relationship issues, coping with mental illness, completing applications for social housing and social assistance, and accessing other community resources.
Q. How long are the sessions and how many do most people have?
A. Most appointments last about 1 hour. The number of sessions varies depending on the needs of the individual.
Q. How does having a physical disability help and/or hinder your relationships with your clients? (Lisa has Cerebral Palsy and uses a wheelchair)
A. I think some participants feel more comfortable talking to me since I understand what it is like to live with a physical disability. I only discuss my own experiences if I feel that it may help a participant. For example, if someone is having a hard time coping with changes in his/her mobility, I may talk about how I cope. However, I always discuss that people cope with things in different ways, and people with the same disability are affected differently.
Q. If people doubt whether they need to talk with a social worker, what advice do you have for them to help them make that decision?
A. Social workers don’t force people to talk about things that they don’t want to. We help people identify their goals for counseling, and work with them to achieve those goals. We don’t solve people’s problems but help them figure out possible solutions.
Q. What does it cost to have a session with you?
A. There isn’t a cost.
Q. Tell me about the Sex & You workshops that you facilitate?
A. Sex & You is a partnership between Hutton House, Family Service Thames Valley, Middlesex-London Health Unit, Community Living London and the Southern Network of Specialized Care. The 1-day workshop is for people with developmental disabilities and their support workers. Some of the things that participants learn are understanding consent, safe sex practices, and the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Q. How do people respond to them given that sex can still be an awkward or complicated topic to discuss?
A. Some people are shy at first, but appear to be more comfortable with the topic by the end of the day. People are divided into teams, and the day is filled with interactive activities to help them learn the material.
Q. What do you like to do when you aren’t at work?
A. I like spending time with family and friends (and my friends’ dogs). I enjoy movies, music and attending Broadway shows. I volunteer with a Special Olympics London bowling program.
Q. How do you decompress from stressful days or situations?
A. I get involved with my hobbies.
Q. Where have you lived other than London?
A. Only in my hometown, Brantford, ON.
Lisa and one of her favourite singers, Johnny Reid
Hutton House promotes and supports persons with disabilities through learning and life-enhancing programs that focus on each individual's strengths, abilities, and interests.
If you are a Hutton House participant and would like to make an appointment with Lisa, please call 519 472 6381 x240 or email
hhservices [at] huttonhouse.com
If you have never used our services before and would like to meet with Lisa, please call our intake line at 519 472 1541 x 232, or email hhservices [at] huttonhouse.com