Substance Use Services


Thunder Bay Counselling provides addiction and mental health services for people of every gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or cultural background and faith. There are no fees for many of our services.

You might want to consider getting help with your substance use if your use of alcohol or drugs is impacting your:

  • Relationships
  • Parenting
  • Job
  • Health
  • Financial stability
  • Housing
  • Mental health
  • Effectiveness of medications
  • Ability to cope
  • Self-esteem

The Addiction and Mental Health Program at Thunder Bay Counselling provides a safe and judgment free place for you to work through substance use and mental health issues.

We are here to help people who haven’t reached out for help before and also people who have tried before but who have slips and are finding it hard to stay on track with the changes they’ve made. We use a harm reduction approach which means we work with you to reduce the negative impact of your use. This may or may not include abstinence (quitting).

Our counsellors provide confidential assessments and outpatient treatment to help you identify what makes you vulnerable to addictive substances and behaviours, to learn new ways of dealing with life challenges, and to reduce the negative impact of your use of substances. Where more intensive treatment is the recommendation from the assessment, we will work with you to make the referrals to other services.

Alcohol & Drug Assessments

An assessment is an important first step in figuring out how best to assist you in moving forward. The assessment will help determine which treatment option is the best fit for you today. Our staff are trained in using the GAIN (Global Appraisal of Individual Needs) which is the assessment supported by the Province of Ontario. Many Live In Treatment centres require the completion of the GAIN before someone can attend Live In Treatment.

If you come for an assessment, we will ask questions about your substance use and treatment history, mental health, trauma, grief and loss, your supports, strengths and resources, legal problems and more. The assessment may take one, two or more sessions to complete. After the assessment is completed, your counsellor will talk to you about your treatment options.

There are many different treatment options associated with substance use:

  • Self-Directed Programs
  • Outpatient Treatment
    • individual and group counselling and psychotherapy
    • case management programs
    • pre and post Live In Treatment support
  • Day Treatment
  • Live In Treatment (inpatient)
    • Short-term (about 1 month)
    • Medium-term (2 to 6 months)
    • Long-term (6 to 12 months)
Pre and Post Treatment Support

If Day or Live In Treatment is the best option for you, we will support you through the process of going to and preparing for the program. This may include providing counselling and/or case management support for making changes with substance use, finding childcare and much more. We are also available after the treatment program is finished to provide you with ongoing counselling and support.

Counselling and Psychotherapy
Counselling and psychotherapy are forms of “talk therapy” and are a form of outpatient treatment. Talk therapy provides you with a confidential, safe and supportive environment to share what is troubling you. It is a process that can be used when you want to change something in your life, like your use of substances, and have not been able to make the change on your own. Our counsellors are skilled professionals who use a variety of approaches to best meet your needs and to help you explore, make changes and/or prevent relapse with your substance use.
Case Management
Sometimes people need more support than counselling alone to help them make changes. We also provide “case management” services which help people with addiction and mental health issues but also in accessing other services like housing, financial assistance and medical supports. This could mean that your counsellor will meet you out in the community, assist you in getting to appointments, and attend meetings with other service providers with you.

We have specialized case management services for:

  • Adults being released from a correctional facility or those involved in the criminal justice system
  • Adults involved with a forensic facility or individuals who are living with mental health and substance use issues and are involved with the legal system
  • Adults who are receiving Opiate Replacement Therapies (ORT) like methadone or suboxone or wanting to access ORT
  • Women and people who identify as women who are pregnant or parenting young children
  • Youth or youth who are transitioning into adult services and are living with mental health and addictions.
Community Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
Community DBT Based Skills Group can provide you with “Skills for Life”. If you’re experiencing anything from substance use difficulties to negative thinking patterns to feelings of chaos, you may benefit from this group.

A DBT Based Skills Group can help you:

  • Develop a clearer sense of self
  • Develop relationship skills, assertiveness, and self-respect
  • Reduce emotional suffering and build positive experiences
  • Gain acceptance of oneself and situations.

For information on how to make a referral, call (807) 683-4812.

Learn More

The Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) Clinics are available for timely access to substance use services.

The RAAM Clinic allows individuals experiencing substance use issues to receive counselling, appropriate addiction medications, and connections to community treatment programs. Our team offers judgement free services in a safe and healing environment. Clinics are offered as in-person, telephone or video appointments.

Call (807) 626-8478 to book an appointment.

Learn More

Back on Track
If you’ve been convicted of an impaired driving offense or have had a second or subsequent roadside suspension in the Warn range, Back on Track is here to help you get your license back.

The program has three parts; the assessment, the education or treatment program and the six month follow up. A Warn Range suspension drivers require the one day education or two day treatment workshop only.

For complete details about this program or to register, please go to the Back on Track web site: or call 416-595-6593 in Toronto; or Ontario toll free 1-888-814-5831.

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