Monday, December 5, 2022

ARCHES Indigenous Recovery Coach Program making headway

An Indigenous Recovery Coach Program being run by ARCHES is getting some positive feedback.

The fairly new program is both recovery-oriented and culturally-informed and supports adults in Lethbridge undergoing therapy for opioid addiction.

Jerry Firth is the manager for the program with ARCHES. He says it’s pretty unique in its own right.

“It’s the first-of-its-kind actually in the world to exist as it does,” says Firth. “By having a cultural lens overlaid with the recovery coaching model. This model is not that common in Canada, but we’re not sure if it really exists anywhere the way we do it regardless of the cultural aspect.”

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Firth told the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs there is lots of work left to be done, but notes there have already been success stories in a very short period of time.

The program is intended to combine one-on-one community-based transition/navigator services with peer support services and culturally-focused healing.

From a strength-based and person-centered approach, the Indigenous Recovery Coach focuses on working with participants to apply their newly-acquired recovery skills in their living environment and help them resolve any issues or problems that can impact their recovery.

Recovery Coach Joey Blood says this all about building relationships and trust and getting people who want help, the help they need. “We don’t want to force anything on them they’re not ready for. So it’s easing them into whatever it is they’re looking for whether that’s detox or treatment, housing or getting them reconnected back to the culture. A lot of where we pull are teachings from are the Blackfoot.”

Recovery coaches also try to support participants to stay engaged throughout their continuum of recovery, using techniques such as motivational interviewing and behavioural intervention practices. An Indigenous Recovery Coach functions similar to any other recovery coach, however, they approach this process from an Indigenous cultural lens.

Both Firth and Blood spoke Thursday to the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs (SACPA).

(Story with files from SACPA)

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