“Thinking Outside the box ” – Innovative Practices in Addiction Treatment for Adults

Innovative Practices : The project "Empowering My Life” to be published in a collective work this fall in Canada.

In the field of addiction intervention, counselors, managers and other stakeholders develop innovative practices aiming to improve the quality of interventions for drug or alcohol dependent adults of for those who are at greater risk of becoming dependent. These practices, often unknown or disregarded to experts in the field of addiction counseling, yet deserve to be identified, promoted and disseminated further. This is the goal of the collective work "Thinking Outside the Box" , to be released this fall, at Les Presses de l' Université Laval.

This collection of innovative practices also intends to convey the passion displayed by dedicated drug counselors. The reader will witness the enthusiasm of the authors for their projects, the expertise they have developed to implement the latter and the recommendations they formulate to promote adequate projects implementation in other contexts.

During the year 2012, the Dianova team in Canada participated in the drafting of this collective work led by a steering committee of the University of Quebec at Trois -Rivieres (Quebec – Canada). The team contributed to  this collective work with a project developed for several years in favor of at-risk youth in the Montreal region:  “Empowering My Life!”. Eventually, the project was selected by the steering committee in a chapter which includes a brief history of the project, the theoretical foundations supporting it, a description of its development , testimonials, and a description of the conditions necessary to replicate the project.

"Empowering My Life!", a Health Promotion Program

Many adolescents and young adults seek to give more meaning to their lives by putting it to the test. This results in a number of risk-taking behaviors which most common examples are running away, street living, engaging in violence of all kinds, and misuse or abuse of alcohol and other drugs. It is difficult to implement efficient initiatives, both because these young people are often resistant to any form of authority, and because their behavior often responds to a quest for meaning that fuels an attitude of ambivalence.

Implemented in collaboration with Health Canada (the Canadian Ministry of Health), the "Empowering My Life!" project aims primarily to reduce the ambivalence experienced by these young people by taking them on a journey that allows them to breathe and reflect on their lives in a quiet, peaceful environment, away from city stress and conditions typically associated with street lifestyle. The objective is ultimately to bring at-risk youth to a healthier way of living by developing their skills in regards to interpersonal relationships, self-esteem, stress and anger management. It also provides a better knowledge of psychotropic drugs and related issues.

In 2012, 17 groups have been organized for a total of 129 participants and 33 counselors from partner organizations. The retention rate was 96%