Monday, March 18, 2013

Psychosocial Rehabilitation grad illuminates inner strengths

David Denofreo photo

By Tamara Letkeman, doug Editor

By day he works to enrich the lives of adults living with severe mental illness. By night he plays rootsy Canadiana music with a band called Factories and Alleyways. But the two sides of Matt Laing couldn’t be more in tune.

Matt holds a Graduate Diploma in Psychosocial Rehabilitation from Douglas College. Psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR) is a system of supports and services that helps people with a variety of mental health challenges live, work and thrive in their communities, and ultimately, as Matt describes it, “work toward acceptance as truly valued citizens.”

“I love PSR because it is grounded in common sense and real life,” he says, “which makes it both relatable and empirically sound. It's so much more than a model of support for those living with mental illness. It's a guiding set of principles and philosophies by which we could all enrich and improve our lives.”

Matt, who also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree from UBC, says his work and his music – he is assistant program manager for two rehabilitation programs for adults living with mental illness – overlap in many ways.

“The same principles and philosophies that drive me to rehab and recovery work also inspire the way I write and perform. Namely, those which underpin our common human experiences of pain, loss, confusion and desperation, but also those of love, passion, triumph and even sometimes a healthy dose of anger.”

He says an added bonus is being able to share the experience of music with his clients, through both teaching them and learning from them.

“Music is a fundamentally human experience and, for many, an integral part of the recovery process. I know it has had profound healing effects in my own life, so to be a part of helping others discover its power is absolutely humbling.”

Learn more about our Psychosocial Rehabilitation program on our website or come to an information session June 19, 2014.