Runtime: 29:48


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When it comes to treatment for substance use disorders, there’s no silver bullet. Medications can be important to support people with their recovery goals, but psychosocial treatments can provide a different kind of support and ensure medications provide the most benefit possible.

In this episode, Christina Chant and David Ball talk with guests about psychosocial treatment approaches for substance-related harm. What do psychosocial treatments look like in practice, and how do they support people to improve their health in relation to substance use?


In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • 1:54 – Sarah Irving – Substance use counsellor
  • 15:44 – Sekani Dakelth – Health Advocate


Here’s what listeners can take away from this episode:

  1. Psychosocial treatment options are diverse and include cognitive behavioural therapy, trauma therapy, contingency management and others. These treatment options may be effective alone and in combination with pharmacotherapy or community-based programs. The social determinants of health play a significant role in the access to – and effectiveness of – these diverse treatments.
  2. While many psychosocial treatment options are offered by specialists, motivational interviewing is one effective option that can be delivered by primary care clinicians with appropriate training. Other psychosocial supports that aren’t delivered by clinicians may also support client recovery or healing goals, including 12-step programs or culture-based interventions. Culture-based interventions for Indigenous people, focus on cultural practices and Indigenous ways of knowing that provide a connection to and enhance cultural identity.
  3. To support success around psychosocial treatment. It’s important first to centre the relationship of yourself and the client. From there, ask the client, “what are your goals?” How do these goals relate to substance use and other aspects of their life? From there, you can offer the relevant treatment opportunities that match those goals. Having an expansive idea about what recovery can look like is important in recognizing people’s full humanity.


De-centring western colonial approaches

Online learning


Additional resources

  • MindmapBC, a database of outpatient mental health services focussed on services that are affirming of 2S/LGBTQ+ (Two-Spirit, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and other gender- and sexually-diverse) people.