In the Spotlight | STEVEN ESAU

March 2024

Meet Dr. Steven Esau, a Clinical Instructor, Registered Clinical Counsellor, and the Director of Operations – Fraser East for Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS). He is currently working with the Centre for Health Evaluation & Outcome Sciences (CHÉOS) on a Fraser East Overdose Response Research Study.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a proud father of 3 beautiful daughters, a loving wife as well as have a high energy dog named Chapeau. While being raised on a farm in Chilliwack, my passion for finding the best health strategies led me to studying clinical counselling and later a doctorate in behavioural health. My work has been to design, start-up and run treatment programs for Mental Health, Substance Use and Homelessness in multiple countries. The passion behind the work is getting to meet amazing people and to find new strategies that incorporate nature and relationships to get better health outcomes.

What are some of your main goals as an instructor related to student learning?

One of the main goals for student learning is to help expand knowledge on what addiction truly is, how people can find themselves caught in addiction, and that there is a vast, creative, and highly relational way to respond to those facing addiction. I am a firm believer in experiential learning, therefore, when I meet with students we discuss the etiology of addiction and mental health while doing an outdoor activity. Specifically, we do activities that I run in our bed-based substance use treatment programs such as Caving, High Ropes Course, Ziplining, Rock Climbing, etc.

Are you involved in any research? If so, what does that entail?

I currently am working with the Centre for Health Evaluation & Outcome Sciences on a Fraser East Overdose Response Research Study. The first stage was working with families and caregivers of those that had a loved one overdose to determine why people get to a point of using substances and isolating. Our research is now in the second stage of developing an intervention for families and caregivers to help foster relationships and skills to prevent PWUD from using substances alone.

What excites you about the future of your field?

What excites me most about the future of my field is the growing awareness that substance use is correlated to breaks in relationship and therefore requires a relational response in recovery. This includes relationship with nature, spirituality / culture and how they see themselves. There can be archaic or limiting interventions being taught for treatment that I now see more openness to creative new strategies. A Tedx talk I did explains a bit more of this:

Am I good enough yet? | Steven Esau | TEDxChilliwack – YouTube