Thursday, July 14, 2011

Douglas College program helps grad attain high-level job

By Tamara Letkeman, doug Editor

Brendan Munden, a graduate of Douglas’s Co-occurring Disorders program, was recently hired as a concurrent disorders clinician with the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction Assertive Community Treatment team – a position Brendan says he was able to obtain due in no small part to the Co-occurring Disorders program.

Brendan credits his studies at Douglas for providing him with the necessary knowledge for the position, as well as his ongoing professional development in the Master of Social Work program at UBC, which he began last September.

“I’ve put a lot of stock into what I learned at Douglas,” he says. “The other piece to the Co-occurring Disorders program is the classroom itself was like a large transdisciplinary team – there was such a wide variety of experience within the classroom. It was really good practice because you do end up working on transdisciplinary teams – with people with backgrounds in psychiatry, social work, nursing and others – when you’re in the field.”

As part of the mobile mental health team at the Burnaby Centre, Brendan goes out into the community to meet people where they live. He does assessments, drug and alcohol counselling and trauma work. The team operates from a “strength-based perspective,” which means collaborating with a client, as opposed to coming in as an expert on the person’s life.

“You are not there to tell people what to do; you’re there to learn with people what’s working for them already and build on that. The strengths perspective is a strong component to the Co-occurring Disorders program, along with an integrated approach to mental health and addictions.”

For Brendan, working with people with both mental illness and addiction – the definition of co-occurring disorders – is a dream come true.

“I love working with people. I love walking alongside and seeing the growth and change. I get to work with amazing people, both colleagues and clients. My work is incredibly satisfying.”

Interested in learning more about the Co-occurring Disorders program? Come to the next information session, Wednesday Nov. 2, 6:30pm in room 4920 at our New Westminster Campus (700 Royal Avenue). Apply before the November 1 deadline and start in January - check out the program admission requirements in our calendar, and apply to the College online.