BC's Indigenous Public Post-Secondary Institute

Indigenous Holistic Wellness and Addictions Certificate


Department: Career Training (Human Services)
Program Delivery Location: Vancouver, Community Based Delivery
Credential: Certificate
Format: Full-Time
Start Dates: September

Indigenous Holistic Wellness and Addictions Certificate

Department Head, Indigenous Holistic Wellness and Addictions


Jessica Stepp MSW, CIAS III, CAC II, CDS II


Email: jstepp@nvit.ca


Phone: 604-602-3433


 


Indigenous Holistic Wellness and Addictions Certificate

Indigenous Holistic Wellness and Addictions Diploma

Indigenous Holistic Wellness and Addictions Advanced Diploma




This program is open to individuals interested in a career in Indigenous Health and Wellness and Addictions. In addition, individuals who are currently in Addiction fields such as Alcohol and Drug Counsellors or Addiction Workers will find a benefit in obtaining a credential and/or specialized professional development training to meet job requirements. The IHWA Program is developed and implemented based on Circle Learning principles, the Medicine Wheel concept, Red Road Philosophy, Experiential Learning, and the Seven Sacred Teachings integrated with local Traditional Knowledge and practices. Courses include a focus on healing through understanding the history of Indigenous colonization, complex trauma theory, genocide, and the reclaiming of self as an Indigenous person in a traditional spiritual way. 


The goal is to provide opportunities for knowledge, growth, and personal development that facilitate the individual's self-empowerment. The program is a multi-entry, multi-exit credentialed learning experience; learners can earn a Certificate, Diploma, and Advanced Diploma that transfers at a 96 block credit into a Bachelor of Integrated Studies (BIS) partnered with the University of the Fraser Valley. The program is fully accredited from years 1 to 4. Faculty have a minimum of a Masters Degree. They are certified through the Indigenous Certification Board of Canada (ICBOC), which is a pathway for student certification as an Addictions and Mental Health Worker.




Program Objectives:

Graduates of the Indigenous Holistic Wellness and Addictions Program should be able to:

- Practice in a wide variety of settings including Indigenous Treatment Centres, Friendship Centres, Indigenous Holistic Health Centres, First Nations Communities and Organizations;

- Understand the processes and interconnection, human, family, organizational, and community development in relation to Addictions;

- Understand how systemic forces influence Indigenous individuals, families, and community dynamics to both promote and promote self-determination, First Nations community relations, and relations with other Canadians through provincial and federal authorities relating to Addictions and Holistic Wellness;

- Describe, analyze and critique knowledge, as well as skills and approaches for Indigenous Holistic Wellness and Addiction Workers and their practice;

- Students will be able to articulate personal and professional codes of conduct and ethics consistent with Indigenous ways of knowing, values, and beliefs.




Career Opportunities:

Graduates of this program may find employment in the growing field of Indigenous Health and Wellness and Addiction Counselling. Their work will be mainly with adults and include working with children, youth, and families. Employment may be in agencies such as health centres and rehabilitation facilities, treatment centres, or First Nations agencies.




Guiding Principles for Personal Suitability:

Applicants will be required to demonstrate their suitability for Indigenous Holistic Wellness and Addictions practice. The applicant will have a solid understanding of the Red Road Philosophy (1 year alcohol and drug free) as it pertains to the field of Addictions, Mental Health, personal development and Wellness.



Suitability will be assessed through a short interview with the Program Coordinator.




Program Description and Delivery:

The Indigenous Holistic Wellness and Addictions Certificate was developed in partnership with the Hey Way-Noqu' Healing Circle for Addictions Society (HHCAS). The program provides core skills required for Indigenous Holistic Wellness and Addictions Counsellor certification and includes Indigenous-specific content. The NVIT courses are University Transfer course credits, which are transferable and ladder able to related fields. This program will assist individuals who are current and/or prospective Wellness Workers, Alcohol and Drug Counsellors, and Addiction Workers that may need to obtain upgrading for certification. This program will provide continuing credit hours, up-grade, and professional development to meet job requirements and post-secondary credits for an incomplete plan. The program will be delivered over one academic year at the Burnaby Campus and in Community (under contract). Each course will consist of a minimum of 45 student/instructor contact hours that include assignments and examinations.



  1. The Indigenous Holistic Wellness and Addictions Certificate will be granted to students who have maintained a minimum GPA of 2.33 (C+) andcomplete 33 credits.

  2. The IHWA Certificate will ladder into the Diploma upon successful completion of the required 33 credits.

  3. The Diploma will ladder into the Advance Diploma upon successful completion of 33 credits. The Advanced Diploma will be awarded upon successful completion of 30 credits.

  4. In partnership with the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), the IHWA program upon 96 completed credits will block transfer into the Bachelor of Integrated Studies (BIS), and a Degree will be awarded upon the completion of 30 UFV BIS credits.

IHWA Courses
  • IHWA-250 - Relapse Prevention
  • IHWA-320 - Case Management:roles & Responsibilities Of Community Health
  • IHWA-324 - Addiction and Nutrition
  • IHWA-327 - Blood Borne Pathogens
  • IHWA-333 - Psychosocial Trauma Healing: Addiction Theory and the Grief Process
  • IHWA-335 - Working With Fasd in Aboriginal Communities
  • IHWA-339 - Cultural Perspective on Stress & Trauma
  • IHWA-360 - Community Engagement in Health And Addictions
  • IHWA-361 - Negotiations and Contract Management in Health and Addictions
  • IHWA-380 - Project Management in Health And Addictions
  • IHWA-382 - Proposal Writing in Health and Addictions
  • Course Listing for this program

    IHWA-250 - Credits: 3.000
    Relapse Prevention
    This course is designed to assist participants in understanding the recovery/relapse process and stages of relapse, identifying warning signs of relapse, and developing effective relapse prevention strategies and techniques with the client. Culturally appropriate techniques to reduce the risk to Indigenous clients will be discussed. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Completion of IHWA Certificate or permission of the Program Coordinator
    IHWA-320 - Credits: 3.000
    Case Management:roles & Responsibilities Of Community Health
    This course will focus on casework practice and management for health care workers. This course will address the legacy of physical and sexual abuse in residential schools, including intergenerational impacts. It will also provide students with an understanding of the specific roles and responsibilities of community health workers, particularly those working in First Nations communities. Students will learn how to apply theory into practice; they will also look at casework examples and conduct an assignment with a community health worker. Students will learn about the administrative responsibilities of community health workers including developing competencies in office management, scheduling, recording and reporting, clinical and ethical decision-making as well as communicating with colleagues and supervisors. Students will learn the importance of self-care and implementing a personal wellness plan, to prepare them for their own professional careers. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: ENGL-110 / STAT-203 / and Business writing experience or permission of instructor
    IHWA-324 - Credits: 3.000
    Addiction and Nutrition
    This course will give the students the opportunity to view addiction as a physiological disease as defined by the World Health Organization. How alcohol and drugs damage the entire body will be reviewed and discussed. Students will examine how Aboriginal health, which had been maintained by a traditional diet and life-style, has been adversely affected by a modern diet and life-style. Furthermore, students will note that Aboriginal people have become predisposed to addictions because of such harmful changes in their diets and life-styles. The current First Nations Canada Food Guide will provide a focus for discussion. Learning to identify healthy food choices using a holistic program model, students will gain the knowledge and skills to help restore people to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. As part of these investigations, students will become aware of how a lack of nutrition and the wrong food choices can facilitate cravings for drugs and alcohol. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Advanced diploma program admission or permission of instructor
    IHWA-327 - Credits: 3.000
    Blood Borne Pathogens
    This course is designed to assist participants in understanding ways to recognize, control and deal effectively with blood-borne pathogens. This knowledge will enable participants to implement procedures and policies that will limit accidental exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials in the workplace that could result in disease or death. While students will learn about blood-borne pathogens, such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Opportunistic Infections, and Hepatitis (A, B, C), myths and taboos regarding blood-borne pathogens and transmission will also be discussed. As well, community education and modern approaches to health will be explored to prepare students for work in closed communities. Critical to this course, students will also learn about pre- and post-supportive counseling for individuals. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Advanced diploma program admission or permission of instructor
    IHWA-333 - Credits: 3.000
    Psychosocial Trauma Healing: Addiction Theory and the Grief Process
    This course investigates the connections between historical and social trauma, grief, and addictions. One of the foci will be on cultural healing that will encompass within its scope First Nations cultural metaphors, symbols, archetypes, histories, and Indigenous healing practices. From a First Nation's perspective, students will make a deep and collective inquiry into addiction, explore trauma and grief inter-culturally and intra-culturally, and theorize culturally specific ways to apply psychosocial trauma healing and grief management approaches during the recovery process. Since the learning process is highly interactive, dialogic and stimulating, students will be required to trust in their personal knowledge gained from experience, tribal histories, and teachings. To support this learning process, students must demonstrate a willingness to think and process information outside the box. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Advanced diploma program admission or permission of instructor
    IHWA-335 - Credits: 3.000
    Working With Fasd in Aboriginal Communities
    This course is designed to provide learners with a conceptual framework for working with individuals who are affected by prenatal exposure to alcohol, clinically referred to as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The nature of the neurological differences that make adaptive living so difficult for individuals with an FASD will be highlighted. Given its practical orientation, the course will enable students to work with First Nations communities, to select and apply intervention techniques, and to provide support for individuals and families living with an FASD. To be truly effective, the learner will continue to require on-going mentoring, time in the field, and practice using the knowledge acquired. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Advanced diploma program admission or permission of instructor
    IHWA-339 - Credits: 3.000
    Cultural Perspective on Stress & Trauma
    This course incorporates a more expanded definition of trauma that is based upon an understanding of how trauma affects groups, communities and societies. From this theoretical perspective, students will recognize that the phenomenon of collective trauma may be a normal response to abnormal situations and, therefore, is not just a form of pathology. Instead of examining trauma and appropriate intervention strategies within a Western theoretical and philosophical paradigm, this course will conduct an in-depth review of stress and trauma within the social and cultural contexts in which they have occurred, including the impact of historical racism on Aboriginal identity which has resulted in cultural loss. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Advanced diploma program admission or permission of instructor
    IHWA-360 - Credits: 3.000
    Community Engagement in Health And Addictions
    This course focuses on the assessment of community health and the capacity to support the development of policy and community-based systems of health protection, health promotion, and health services. Beginning with a systematic description of the cultural and community systems and the partnerships that emerge. Students will learn to design a community assessment in collaboration with community partners. There is an emphasis on community/organizational capacity assessment. Students will draw from their personal practice and individual experiences to assess health determinants, needs for mental health and wellness services, and the local community and organizations' capacity and resources. Students will also learn how to develop, facilitate and evaluate data for decision-making by partnerships, organizations, and policymakers. This course is targeted for those who are employed and/or have administrative experience and work in the health and addictions field. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: ENGL-110 / STAT-203 / Permission of instructor
    IHWA-361 - Credits: 3.000
    Negotiations and Contract Management in Health and Addictions
    In this course, students will acquire the skills and learn the strategies to develop, negotiate and manage contracts and contracting relationships effectively. The course will explore various negotiations, including integrative, distributive, and various iterations of these negotiation approaches. The student will also learn communication, emotion/perception, team/multiparty negotiations, and intercultural competencies. Both negotiations and contract management are examined in this course through experiential models and practices, focusing primarily on applications within an Indigenous setting. Students will engage with core concepts, individual and collective exercises, and evaluate their own progress in the course. This course is targeted for those who are employed and/or have administrative experience and work in the health and addictions field. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: ENGL-110 / STAT-203 / or Permission of instructor
    IHWA-380 - Credits: 3.000
    Project Management in Health And Addictions
    The students will study the nature of projects, project management tools, techniques, organizational and interpersonal issues in project management. Students will explore project initiation, project definition, project planning, project implementation, and project closure. The first part of the course will cover project management principles, including defining projects, project portfolios, programs, and how projects link to organizations' goals and strategies. The second part of the course will focus on the tools and techniques available to support project management. Students will work in project teams to identify and create a project plan relevant to their current or future employment settings. This course will be grounded in Indigenous community project models. This course is targeted for those who are employed and/or have administrative experience and work in the health and addictions field. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: ENGL-110 / STAT-203 / or Permission of instructor
    IHWA-382 - Credits: 3.000
    Proposal Writing in Health and Addictions
    This is a project-based course which explores the process of grant proposal development and responding to proposal funding opportunities. This course will also explore viable and fundable projects, research and assess possible funding sources, funder relationships, proposal writing, budget development, and prepare a full proposal package. Students will examine the nonprofit philanthropic environment and become familiar with the tools and resources available to help them seek funds for their projects, institutions, or causes. The course aims to improve proposal writing and research skills and case studies to illuminate strategic questions in developing projects and writing grant proposals. This course is targeted for those who are employed and/or have administrative experience and work in the health and addictions field. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: ENGL-110 / STAT-203 / and Business writing experience or permission of instructor

    Current Course Offerings

    01 = Merritt Campus
    V1 = Burnaby Campus

    Spring 2022 (January - April)


  • IHWA-250-V1
  • IHWA-324-V1
  • IHWA-327-V1
  • IHWA-333-V1
  • IHWA-335-V1
  • IHWA-339-V1
  • IHWA-360-V1
  • IHWA-361-V1
  • IHWA-380-V1
  • IHWA-382-V1
  • Fall 2022 (September - December)


  • IHWA-250-V1
  • IHWA-327-V1
  • IHWA-333-V1
  • IHWA-335-V1
  • IHWA-339-V1
  • Spring 2023 (January - April)


  • IHWA-320-V1
  • IHWA-324-V1
  • IHWA-360-V1
  • IHWA-361-V1
  • IHWA-380-V1
  • IHWA-382-V1
  •  

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