Virtual Addiction Treatment: Meet Wendy

Since Renascent’s Virtual Intensive Treatment Program (VITP) began in April 2020, the program has helped hundreds of people recover from drugs and alcohol. This government-funded Program continues to make addiction treatment more accessible to people across Ontario and is accepting self-referrals.

Wendy Edmeades, one of the Program’s Addictions Counsellors shares about her experience supporting clients virtually on their journey of recovery and how the Program is similar to live-in treatment, and why it is a great option for someone who needs help recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Why do you think VITP is a great option for treatment?

There are many people who – for a variety of reasons – would benefit from addiction treatment that does not require them to leave their work, home, or family. This Program allows people to address their addiction before it worsens to the point where live-in treatment is the only option for them.

The truth is, there are not many addiction treatment options. Virtual treatment allows people to feel safe at home, log-in and be a part of the Renascent recovery community, while benefitting from intimate group settings, the vast experience of our clinicians, and additional referrals to resources in the community.

Additionally, due to the online nature of the program, the waitlist for Renascent’s virtual program is shorter than the wait for in-person treatment, where physical space has to be available for each new client.

What do you like about delivering addiction treatment virtually?

VITP allows clients to apply what they’ve learned in real time. When a client concludes a session with us, they have new information and tools that they can start applying to their life right away. I enjoy seeing clients trying out new problem-solving and emotion regulating techniques, for example. We get to talk about how the techniques impacted them and help them navigate life’s challenges.

How is Renascent’s virtual treatment similar to its live-in treatment program?

Renascent’s Virtual Intensive Treatment Program and live-in programs share very similar psycho-educational material. Therefore, clients in both programs learn very similar recovery material, skills, tools, and therapies. Both have small group settings which provide opportunities for connection and accountability within the group members. Counselling occurs daily in both types of treatment and this helps to keep both environments very therapeutic.

Even though treatment is delivered virtually, counsellors make themselves available for additional one-on-one sessions if clients are in need. Similar to live-in treatment, we encourage virtual clients to become heavily involved in the 12-step community.

Why did you decide to work at Renascent and what’s your favourite part of your role?

Before even applying to this role, I envisioned working at Renascent. The organization aligns with how I wanted to serve in this field, particularly because clinicians have lived experience with addiction and recovery. Additionally, the treatment modalities were similar to what I experienced in my own treatment, and this includes 12-step facilitation.

Clinical work with clients is my jam! Working with clients combines my passion and purpose into one. I go to bed every night and think, “I can’t believe this is my job.” I was in inpatient treatment for nine weeks, four years ago. Working with clients enables me to reflect on how much my life has changed because of recovery. I absolutely enjoy being with clients, sharing about my recovery, empowering them, and introducing techniques and tools to help them. The surge of energy I experience doing this work is amazing.

About the Authors

Renascent Staff
The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.