In order to carry out its initial mission, which is to develop essential personal growth skills for adults with alcohol or drug addiction, Portage-Québec officially added a new program to its service offer in September 2013. The Maître de sa vie Program is intended for clients addicted to psychotropic drugs who also present symptoms related to one or more traumatic events including physical, psychological or sexual assault. The program includes six workshops of 2.5 hours. It allows clients to be conscious of the impact caused by experienced trauma; develop appropriate and safe strategies and understand relational problems related to experienced events. This is an integrated treatment, so difficulties stemming from addiction and those related to post-traumatic stress disorder are treated simultaneously to provide the person with the best possible chances of recovery.
To ensure the rigorous implementation of this program and assess its effectiveness, Portage-Québec received support from the Sherbrooke University. Myriam Laventure and Geneviève Paquette were the lead researchers, but were supported by a team of research professionals who were present for the entire duration of the research project, which was about 18 months. This team was present to carry out the various data collecting which included 4 measurement periods (upon entering the program, during the process, at the end of the program and three months after the end of the program). All this to examine clientele characteristics, implementation accuracy, program withdrawal and client satisfaction.
We received the implementation report two years after the start of the data collecting. The results made it possible to conclude that the program’s implementation was of good quality and that participants experienced positive evolution for traumatic symptoms and stress coping strategies. Such as offered, the program influences the increased use of positive adaptation and decreased use of escape and avoidance.
The achievement of the Maître de sa vie Program is the result of a co-design between residents, counsellors and researchers. The contribution from clients was essential to its success.
Following a rigorous assessment process, the Health Standards Organization (HSO) designated the Maître de sa vie Program as “leading practice”. The “leading practice” designation, awarded by surveyors who are experts in the field, indicates that, with its Maître de sa vie program, Portage has implemented practices that demonstrate a positive change that is people-oriented and focused on safety and efficiency.
The Health Standards Organization develops standards and designs assessment programs and work methods with the objective of enabling healthcare and social service providers worldwide to focus on quality while doing what they do best: improving and saving lives. This recognition by a reputed international organization highlights Portage’s expertise in the field of drug addiction treatment as well as its commitment to continuously improving its services in order to positively impact the lives of the people it helps.