Pamela Baker

B.A.(H), M.S.W., RSW, CAC-II

Expert care for addictions & mental health for adolescents and adults

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Addictions have an effect on one’s mind, body, spirit and emotions. Although treatable, without intervention the problems of addiction can become greater, chronic and may progress toward disability or death. Pamela uses a client-centered, holistic approach to addictions treatment integrating various disciplines that assist in a person's recovery. The use of this professional support helps develop new cognitive and behavioral skills while facilitating healing in the other areas of one's life.

Addictions counselling is a form of mental health counselling that specializes in understanding the addictive process and the impact of addiction on the client, family and society. Pamela recognizes the potential for substance use disorders and behavioral addictions to mimic a variety of medical and psychological disorders. In addition, Pamela recognizes the potential for medical and psychological disorders to co-exist with addiction.

Addiction is a serious problem not only in Canada, but all across the globe. As substance abuse manifests in many different ways, substance abuse counselling options should be equally diverse. Since substance abuse varies from one person to the next, in order to be truly effective, substance abuse counsellors must work to tailor their treatments to address the individual needs of their clients. When recovery is the ultimate goal of substance abuse counselling, those suffering from addiction must never feel pigeonholed into a certain treatment method but must know that there is a solution out there that will meet each of their needs regardless of what they are. To decide which is best for you or someone you love, then consider the following:

  • Privacy or support and accountability;
  • The need for a one on one relationship with a counsellor or a group scenario;
  • Cost in relation to various treatment options.

The process of addictions counselling not only addresses the identified addiction but the co-existing issues related to family, relationships, employment, education, spirituality, physical health, mental health and legal concerns. A variety of helping techniques are tailored to meet the needs of the individual client or family member and within the context of a counselling session, the counsellor and client develop a desired treatment outcome and strategies for achieving them whether it is a harm reduction approach or an abstinent-based approach.

Addictions counselling is appropriate for children, adolescents and adults who are addicted or who are affected by another person’s addiction. Treatment may include individual or group counselling sessions in one or more sessions in a week, outpatient treatment, inpatient rehabilitation, hospitalization or rehabilitation programs. Sessions are used for assessment, education, discussion about the addiction, planning strategies, support, evaluation of progress, recommendations and referrals. The length of treatment depends upon the specific substance or behavior, the client's stage of readiness, environmental influence and co-existing complications.