Wisdom Floats: Direct Service Staff Wisdom as Healing During Crises

In this presentation, Kiaras explores the role of Direct Service staff wisdom as a practice and a resource. Beyond the policies and procedures, the crisis response, the professional training and the evidence presented by research, relational practice in youth work has always relied on a sharing of wisdom – possible pathways to understanding ourselves, others and the world around us. Direct service staff hold wisdom that has been gained over many years of experience, facing moments of crisis, deep tragedies and unexpected delights. They, more so than supervisors, managers or those often charged with finding answers to difficult questions, are able to seize precisely that moment when a young person needs more than treatment, more than routines, structure and goals. This presentation is really designed to both celebrate and re-value the wisdom of direct service staff in navigating life with young people during moments (some of which are brief and others last for months or even a life time) of uncertainty, vulnerability and ‘not knowing’.  Wisdom floats, and in the process, touches far more than its intended recipient; it elevates the spaces we share to spaces of social justice, even when the world around us seems to be telling us otherwise.


In exploring wisdom as both a practice and a resource, Kiaras intends to confirm the value and indeed the necessity of direct service staff as the centre of healing.


Kiaras Gharabaghi - Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada

Dean, Faculty of Community Services and Professor, Child & Youth Care , Toronto Metropolitan University

Email: k.gharabaghi@ryerson.ca