Podcast #9: Mindfulness and Addiction with Derek De Braga

Derek De Braga is a mental health therapist based in Montreal, Quebec. He completed his training at Concordia and went on to receive a masters degree in Counselling psychology from Yorkville University. Derek has a particular focus on integrative harm reduction approaches for substance misuse and behavioural addictions.

“It is important to acknowledge your bias around people who do use drugs…by acknowledging that and really seeing the person for who they are and the suffering they may have lived…that opens the door to developing a sense of trusting and safe relationship which is at the core of any therapeutic relationship”

We discuss:

  • The substance use and addiction landscape that Derek sees in his practice and treatment centres in Montreal (3:00)
  • Defining important terms: substance misuse, substance abuse and addiction (4:20)
  • Defining behavioural addiction (6:15)
  • Derek’s path to becoming a mental health therapist (8:50)
  • How Derek got involved with populations who use substances (10:35) 
  • How Derek started incorporating mindfulness into his professional practice (13:00)
  • Selecting patients for Mindfulness Based Interventions (15:14)
  • Specific practices for patients being treated for substance use and how to introduce them to patients (18:05)
  • Why Mindfulness based techniques work with this patient population (20:00) 
  • Challenges when using mindfulness-based tools with this population (22:30)
  • What future clinicians should know about this population (25:10) 
  • The harms of labelling patients as drug seeking and how we should manage this (27:45)
  • How patients access substance use counselling (31:20) 
  • Substance use amongst medical students (33:40)

Follow Derek and find out more: 

Lighthouse counselling: https://www.centrelighthouse.ca/team/

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