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Every community has their famous residents, and in Canada those residents tend to be hockey players. Strasbourg is no different, and while Nick Schultz has helped to put the community on the map, there are a few others who have done their part to make the community famous thanks to their own success. One such person was Bennet Wong, who would go on to become an important author and psychiatrist.
Born on July 16, 1930 in Strasbourg, Wong began his career in psychiatry in 1955 when he graduated from the University of Alberta with a medical degree. From 1957 to 1959, he was the Clinical Director at the Winfield State Hospital in Kansas. Two years later, he began his career as an adolescent psychiatrist in Vancouver, where he would remain until 1976.
During his time in Vancouver, he became an early adopter of the encounter group process, and he quickly became the media-go-to person for anything related to youth. He discussed issues regarding the youth of the time to the Minister of Health and Welfare, as well as television journalist Laurier Lapierre. He would also become an advocate of humanistic approaches to dealing with children, their families, as well as adolescent.
While in Vancouver, he would become a member of the Board of Directors of Moffat Communcations, which he would remain with from 1973 to 1999.
It was also in Vancouver he would meet with Jock McKeen, an acupuncturist, and the two men would leave their private practices in 1975 to conduct residential growth groups at the Cold Mountain Institute on Cortes Island in British Columbia. After the Institute closed in 1980, they established the Cortes Centre for Human Development, which held seminars until 1983, when they created The Haven Institute. With the Insitute, they pushed doctors to be less objectifying, and to develop a more holistic and self-aware approach to caring for patients. They would go on to teach their methods throughout Canada, the United States, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, as well as in countries in Europe, South America, Africa and the Middle East.
With the founding of the Haven Institute in 1983, the experimental learning school began to receive a great deal of praise for the “resort with a difference”. At the institute, people could enter activities at whatever level they chose. Today, over 50 visiting faculty members have taught in the open atmosphere, including Virginia Satir (the mother of family therapy), Paul Lowe (former NFL player) and Maria Gomori (pioneer in family therapy).
For his work, he was presented with a Doctor of Letters from Vancouver Island University.
Wong passed away on Sept. 25, 2013.