Many people who struggle with mental illness also struggle with an addiction. Recovery from both of these issues is complicated because they affect each other and are intertwined. Helpers may often be at a loss for where to start – did the addiction cause the mental illness, did the mental illness cause the addiction, or is there something else leading to both? This workshop provides a framework for working systemically with both issues at the same time. Participants will explore the impact of both addiction and mental illness, be provided with an overview of the theoretical frameworks for working with both issues, and learn how to integrate strategies in a way that supports health and change.

Some of the Topics Reviewed

  • The Links Between Mental Illness and Addiction
  • Statistics: Impact and Nature of the Problem
  • The Impact of Helper Beliefs and Assumptions
  • Barriers to Assessment and Treatment
  • Getting to Know the Person Outside of the Problem
  • Assessing for Co-Occurring Disorders
  • Intervention Strategies for Co-occurring Disorders
  • Safety and Harm Reduction Planning
  • Emotional Regulation Strategies
  • Goal Setting and Collaborative Intervention

Target Audience

This is an intermediate level workshop intended for social service and health care professionals, counsellors, social workers, school personnel, and anyone working with those who struggle with both addictions and mental illness.

Method of Delivery

Presentation, video, case study exercises, personal reflection, and small group discussions.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this workshop, participants should be able to:

  • Describe theories of change from both a mental illness and addictions perspective
  • Assess client needs from a unified perspective
  • Describe steps for working collaboratively with both mental illness and addictions
  • Integrate treatment approaches from both fields