Youth Substance Use Therapist

Alternatives for Youth (AY) is a non-profit organization that provides  community based substance use and mental health treatment to youth and young adults, as well as support services to their families.

The Youth Substance Use Therapist provides comprehensive substance use screening, intake, assessment and treatment to youth and young adults ages 12-25 at various locations in the Hamilton community. The Youth Substance Use Therapist is responsible for supporting youth in understanding and addressing their substance use and/or the substance use of their significant others, as well as co-occurring mental health concerns, and issues related to family impact.

This is a 35 hour per week (with benefits), non-supervisory position reporting to the Executive Director, with some evening hours required. This position requires a valid driver’s license and use of a personal vehicle.


  • Degree or Diploma in Applied Health or Social Sciences from an accredited college or university
  • Membership with an accredited professional college that is regulated to perform the Controlled Act of Psychotherapy
  • Criminal Reference Check – Vulnerable Sector Screening
  • Minimum 3 years recent and relevant clinical experience specific to addiction and mental health (concurrent disorders) in a community treatment setting
  • Demonstrated knowledge of evidence informed practice for youth substance use treatment which includes comprehensive assessment, individual and group counselling modalities, case management, crisis intervention and discharge planning
  • Certification in administering the provincially mandated assessment measure the GAIN Q3 MI ONT is preferable but not required
  • Excellent verbal and written communication, critical thinking, creative problem solving skills
  • Ability to work as an effective member of an inter-professional team with excellent interpersonal, advocacy, negotiation and conflict resolution skills
  • Ability to work under pressure, prioritize workload and meet deadlines
  • Willingness and ability to continue to improve professional competence and knowledge
  • Proficient computer skills for report writing, word processing, data entry, access to information etc.


  • Engage youth from diverse backgrounds and employ treatment interventions in alignment with best practices and as per client need
  • Conduct bio-psychosocial assessments and collaborate with youth to design client-centered, strength-based change strategies, reflecting evidence-based practices and clinical experience
  • Work effectively with youth who present with multiple and complex concerns
  • Administer and interpret standardized substance use and mental health screening and assessment measures
  • Develop treatment and discharge plans in consultation with youth and related professionals
  • Conduct intake sessions and individual, group, and family therapeutic sessions in a professional and ethical manner, following all recognized standards, legislation, and guidelines relevant to clinical practice
  • Support family members and significant others to assist them in understanding and supporting youth engaging in, and/or being impacted by, substance use
  • Document all client interventions as per legislative standards of practice and adhere to agency documentation requirements and timelines
  • Engage in regularly scheduled individual and group clinical supervision for: clinical support; reflection and growth/development; enhancing of skills, confidence and competence; to ensure that clients are safe and work practices remain ethical; and to ensure adhering to organizational and practice standards
  • Establish new service sites and maintain existing service sites/partnerships/relationships with secondary/post-secondary schools and allied community organizations, including presentations on AY services and youth substance use
  • Participate in program evaluation, planning and development

As an employer, Alternatives for Youth is dedicated to building an organization that reflects the diversity of our clients and the communities that we serve and we strongly encourage applications from members of racialized communities, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and others who contribute to a greater range of perspectives. We welcome and encourage applications from all qualified candidates.

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and current resume to the attention of Penny Burley at

We thank all those who apply but only those individuals selected for further consideration will be contacted.