We are often asked how Oz got its name, so we would like to share one possible story with you. As many people guess, Oz took its name from The Wizard of Oz.

In the story, the four main characters journey to the Land of Oz because therein lies a great and powerful wizard who they have heard has the ability to grant them what each wants. Dorothy wants to return home to Kansas, the Scarecrow wants a brain, the Tin Man wants a heart and the Lion wants courage. After finally gaining an audience with the Wizard, they are impressed and very awed by his power and authority. They reluctantly agree to bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch as a prerequisite for granting their wishes. After a difficult struggle and grand adventure, they return triumphant with the Wicked Witch's broomstick, only to discover that the Wizard does not have the power to grant them what each wants.

What he is able to do, however, is to validate the ways in which each was able to get what he or she wanted for him or herself. The Lion is able to recognize his courage, the Scarecrow uses his brain, the Tin Man experiences his heart beat, and Dorothy is able to return home.

The story illustrates the attitudes held by many families who come to Oz seeking counseling services. A teenager wants us to make his parents stop hassling him; a parent wants us to make her daughter mind her. However, like the Wizard, we have no magical powers or omnipotent skills. What we can do, though, is to act as a consultant to the family and to help each member clarify his/her options.

In this perspective, we view the family unit as a system. A problem in this system is one for which each family member must accept some responsibility. No one person is fully responsible for the issues, and no one person can fix the family unit by themselves. Each family member must also assume some responsibility for arriving at a solution that is workable for the family as a whole.

At YMCA Oz San Diego, we are unable to give “the” answers. However, we can work with you and in your attempts to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution, to help you recognize and validate your answer.


About Oz

Oz San Diego is a residential two-week intensive treatment program for adolescents, ages 12 to 17. While in treatment, youth attend counseling sessions and engage in daily enrichment and recreational activities that are designed to help them learn basic living skills, take responsibility for their own behavior and interact more effectively with their family members. Learn more about OZ HERE.