Substance use and addiction affects the entire family. It is commonly believed that for every addicted person there are at least five other people who are affected emotionally, physically, mentally, financially and socially. You likely see them every day in your practice.

Are you frustrated when dealing with addiction in families or individuals? Do you wish you were better equipped to treat both the addicted person and the family?

This three-part workshop is designed for professionals who wish to gain basic/intermediate knowledge of chemical dependency and how it affects the individual, the family and the community.

These interactive skills-based workshops are designed to provide practical materials and strategies for working with the chemically dependent clients and their families.

Rideauwood, established in 1976, serves over 3,000 clients each year and has an established track record of effective community partnerships with other services providers. This workshop will also focus on how to broaden and deepen your network while enhancing your role as an active agent in client change.



Day 1

  • Day 1 will provide a context of the complexity of working with clients and families that are affected by chemical dependency.
  • An overview of the continuum from substance use to substance dependency/addiction will be examined including the latest research on the impact on the brain and the neurobiological development in teens and children.
  • We will also discuss the signs and symptoms of addiction and help participants understand the potential psychological, social and health impacts of addiction upon the individual.
  • Participants will be given the opportunity to integrate knowledge through experiential small group work, case studies and role playing.

Day 2

  • Day 2 will provide participants with an understanding of specific common drugs of use and ways to promote internal motivation to move forward through the stages of change.
  • We will also review recovery pathways and how to support your clients throughout the recovery process and addiction treatment system.
  • Clients with addiction issues can often provoke strong feelings of transference and counter-transference in helpers and ways of coping with these feelings will be addressed.
  • Experiential activities include role plays and case studies for working with clients through the stages of change.

Day 3

    • Day 3 will provide participants with an understanding of the impact on the family dynamic, including the roles that children take on, the rules that get established within the family, and the progression of this disorder for family members.
    • Discussion as well as small group work, case studies and role playing will focus on how to help the family restore health and hope.


Where an addiction is present, there is substantial benefit in treating the whole family. We believe that by working with family members and parents for their own good, the person with the addiction problem has a better likelihood of addressing their own problem effectively. We believe also that even if the person with the addiction is unable to change, that the family dynamic can be healed sufficiently to lower the children’s risk of addiction in the future. This, too, is considered a ‘best practice’ [from Rideauwood’s principles of treatment]


Meet our presenters

Lisa Boulay

Lisa Boulay has worked in the Family Program at Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services for over 12 years. As an addiction and family counsellor, she has developed an effective interactive educational/counselling model that she has adapted for training with the Ottawa Children’s Aid Society, School Boards, Ottawa Police Services, NAV Canada, The Canadian Friends of Somalia, and many more. Lisa’s practice informed interactive approach to training makes her one of Rideauwood’s strongest and most sought after trainers. Lisa is also a Reiki Master and Yoga teacher and incorporates aspects of each of these disciplines into her practices. Prior to 2000, Lisa worked in the corporate environment and brings a background in training and course design, leadership and communications to her current practice.

Lisa Zimmerman

Lisa Zimmerman joined Rideauwood in 2009, after a ten year stay in New Zealand where she worked as a senior counsellor in a residential treatment centre. Lisa holds a Master’s degree in Health Science and, among her many accomplishments, has published in the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists Journal and presented papers on addiction at Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association Conferences. Lisa is a certified Canadian Counsellor and Member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.

Andrew Mendes

Andrew Mendes began his training in the United Kingdom at Bournemouth and Poole Colleges, before obtaining an Honours Bachelor Degree in Science, with a specialization in Addictions Counselling, from the prestigious University of Bath. Andrew began his counselling career at one of the earliest established treatment centres in Europe – Quinton House – where he worked with high-needs, marginalized population in a long-term inpatient setting. After Quinton House, Andrew worked as the Senior Clinician responsible for developing and implementing new treatment programming at a residential treatment centre in Portugal.  Andrew joined Rideauwood’s Adult Addiction Treatment team in 2009, as the Coordinator of Rideauwood’s Ontario Works Addiction Services Program. Andrew is currently a member of the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF) and candidate to become International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor (ICADC).