This page provides definitions for commonly used terms in the addiction field and explains abbreviations and acronyms used by organizations and professionals. Understanding these definitions will allow you to navigate our site and choose programs and services more easily.
AAC - Associate Addiction Counsellor. A certification offered by CCPC (see below)
Addiction - A disorder that leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual disruption. Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioural control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one's behaviours and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission
Addiction Medicine (or ‘Addictionology’) - A specialized field of medicine where physicians are required to have knowledge of pharmacology, psychiatry, general medicine, and psychology, as well as an understanding of the interaction of these disciplines. A referral from your family doctor is required. For more information, see our Medical Programs section
AGC - Associate Gambling Counsellor. A certification offered by CCPC (see below)
Alano Clubs - Safe, positive environments in which recovering addicts and alcoholics may achieve freedom from substance abuse, by helping each other in accordance with 12-step principles of spiritual development. For more information, visit www.alanoclubs.com
Alcohol - Alcohol is injurious to health.
BCATR - British Columbia Art Therapist Registered
BHSc. - Bachelor of Health Sciences
BPHE - Bachelors of Physical Education
BRI - Board Registered Interventionist certified by Association of Intervention Specialist Credentialing Board
BScN - Bachelor of Science in Nursing
CACCF (Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation) - An alcohol and drug counsellor certifying body headquartered in Kitchener, Ontario. CACCF is the Canadian body of the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) headquartered in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
CARN - Certified Addictions Registered Nurse. For more information see the International Nurses Society on Addictions website.
CARN-AP - Certified Addictions Registered Nurse – Advanced Practice
CBT - Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy
CCFP - Certificant of the College of Family Practice of Canada
CMAT - Certified Eating Disorder Therapist certified by International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Therapists (IITAP)
CSAC - Certified Substance Abuse Counsellor
CSAM - Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine
CSAT - Certified Sex Addiction Therapist certified by International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Therapists (IITAP)
CSCP - Certified Spiritual Care Professional. For more information contact the Canadian Association for Pastoral Practice and Education.
CSFP - Certified Solution-Focused Practitioner. A designation for healthcare providers, teachers, and other helping professionals. Requirements usually consist of a relevant undergraduate degree or professional designation (e.g., RN, B.Ed., RT) and related work experience. This certification is offered by CCPC (see above).
CSFT - Certified Solution-Focused Therapist. A counsellor certification offered by CCPC (see above). Restricted to those who have relevant graduate degrees (e.g., MA, Med, MSW, PhD).
CTS - Certified Trauma Specialist certified by the Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ASTSS)
D.Min. - Doctor of Ministry
Detoxification (detox) - Programs designed to stabilize individuals who have consumed mood-altering substances to toxic levels. Differ between medical and social detox programs (see below). The length of stay in an alcohol and drug detox program varies but is typically less than 7 days. For more information see our Medical Programs section
DH - Diploma in Hypnotherapy
DKATI - Diploma of Kootnai Art Therapy Institute
DSW - Doctor of Social Work
EAP - Employee Assistance Program
EdD - Doctor of Education
EFAP - Employee and Family Assistance Program
FASAM - Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
FRCP (c) - Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (Canada)
Harm Reduction - Programs designed to minimize the spread of disease associated with drug and alcohol. Examples include methadone maintenance programs, needle or crack pipe exchanges, and supervised injection sites
Home Detox (or daytox) - Detoxification done at home which may include a visit from a nurse
Hospital Detox (or Inpatient Detox) - Medical detoxification provided in an inpatient (hospital) setting
ICADC - International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor certified by Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF)
M.Div. - Master of Divinity. For more information contact the Canadian Association for Pastoral Practice and Education
M.Ed. - Master of Education
M.Sc. - Master of Science
Marriage and Family Therapists - Mental health professionals with a minimum of a master’s degree and two years supervised clinical experience. Marriage and family therapy is based on the research and theory that mental illness and family problems are best treated in a family context. For more information, visit the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) website.
MBChB - Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery/Chirurgery
MC - Master of Counselling
MD - Doctor of Medicine
Medical Detox - A type of detoxification provided in a residential setting with the assistance of a nurse and physician. Medical detox may be combined with residential treatment or as a separate service
Medical Monitoring - A term used to describe the practice of having an individual who is in recovery from drugs or alcohol submit to random or scheduled checks designed to ensure abstinence. Procedures can include one-on-one interviews, drug testing, calling in to a voicemail recording device, etc. Medical monitoring may be facilitated by a physician, nurse, or counsellor. Regulatory bodies for physicians or air pilots or employers of individuals in safety-sensitive occupations are typical users of medical monitoring
Methadone - A member of the opioid family of drugs. Since the 1960s, methadone has been used to help people who are dependent on or addicted to other drugs from the same family, particularly heroin. Methadone is available through specialized drug treatment clinics or may be prescribed by family physicians and dispensed by community pharmacists, in accordance with Canadian regulations. For more information visit our methadone page
MNLP - Master of Neuro Linguistic Programming
MPH - Master of Public Health
MSW - Master of Social Work
MTSC - Masters of Theological Studies & Counselling
National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program (NNADAP) - A Health Canada program administered by First Nations communities and organizations aimed at reducing alcohol and drug abuse among reserve populations. For more information refer to the NNADAP section on Health Canada
Outpatient Program - A counselling service offered once or twice a week for, typically, 1-3 hour sessions. The number of sessions may vary depending on progress of client. Outpatient treatment can be provided on a one-on-one or group basis. For more information see the Outpatient Program section
Pastoral Counsellor - A professional trained in both psychology and theology and qualified to address psychological and spiritual issues. For more information, visit the Canadian Association for Pastoral Practice and Education website
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Primary Care - A term used in Canada to denote access to a medical doctor for individuals who do not have a family doctor
Primary Treatment - A form of residential treatment that is typically short-term in duration that can be up to 90 days in length but is typically 30 days. Compared to Sober Living (see below), Primary Treatment has intensive therapy, more structure, and more supervision of clients
Psychiatrist - Medical doctors (MD) who, after completing medical school, receive an additional five years of clinical training in mental health specialties. Psychiatrists in Canada need to be certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Psychiatrists are licensed to prescribe medication and require a referral from a family doctor
Psychologist - A health professional who studies the mind and behaviour. Doctorate-level psychologists are fully trained in the assessment and treatment of all behavioural conditions. Psychologists are not to be confused with psychiatrists as the latter is licensed to prescribed medications. For more information on psychologists in Canada, refer to the Canadian Psychological Association website
R.Psych. - Registered Psychologist
Rapid Detox - Detox performed under anaesthesia by an addiction medicine specialist on an outpatient basis. Performed on individuals requiring opiate detoxification. This program is not covered by provincial insurance
Rapid Opiate Detox Under Anaesthesia (or RODA) - see Rapid Detox above
RCC - Registered Clinical Counsellor certified by British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors
RCSW - Registered Clinical Social Worker
Registered Professional Counsellor (RPC) - A professional who has completed a minimum of two years of counselling and/or psychotherapy practice under supervision with two letters of recommendation from counselling / psychotherapy professionals
RMFT - Registered Marriage and Family Therapist certified by American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)
RMT - Registered Massage Therapist certified by the College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC)
RODA - Rapid Opiate Detox Under Anaesthesia (see Rapid Detox)
RPN - Registered Psychiatric Nurse
Sober Living - A form of residential addiction treatment that is generally longer term and less intensive than primary treatment (see above). Sober Living is normally started after primary treatment is completed. Also known as Support Recovery.
Social Detox - Detoxification provided in a residential setting but without the assistance of a nurse or physician. Social detox is not a medical service since medical personnel do not monitor the patient.
Social Worker - A professional who works with an individual in the context of the wider community. They often provide services as members of a multidisciplinary team or on a one-to-one basis. For more information on social workers in Canada, refer to the Canadian Association of Social Workers which also has links to provincial organizations
SRT - Self Regulation Therapy certified by Canadian Foundation for Trauma Research and Education
Stage 2 Housing - see Sober Living
Support Recovery - see Sober Living