Mental Health

Treating Substance Use Issues with LGBT Youth

Gregory Canillas

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Workshop Session #2

9AM - 10AM -

Session Overview

The abuse of substances by individuals to “self medicate” has reached epidemic proportions.  SAMSHA (2013) reports the following statistics related to substance abuse disorders in the United States: 66.9 million people are diagnosed with Tobacco Use Disorders; 18 million people (Alcohol Use Disorders); 4.2 million (Cannabis Use Disorders); 1.8 million (Opioid Use Disorders); 855, 000 (Stimulant Use Disorders); and 280,000 (Hallucinogen Disorders).    Much of the current literature (e.g., Adedoyin, Burns, Jackson & Franklin, 2014; Mott, 2003) currently focuses on treating substance abuse from a holistic perspective, focusing on the client’s psychological, biological and other needs (e.g., employment services, housing). Researchers advocate the use of traditional talk therapy in combination with adjunctive services, such as massage, meditation, exercise, nutritional and art therapies (Adedoyin, Burns, Jackson & Franklin, 2014; Breslin, Reed & Malone, 2011; Matto, 2002).  The presentation will examine the psychological and biological impact of substance abuse on youth and effective treatment strategies for substance use disorders.  Developmental, social, and multicultural issues in the assessment and treatment of substance abuse were considered. The presenter will also review data on treatment outcomes and will highlight future research directions.


Gregory Canillas, Ph.D., is a psychologist, life coach, relationship and parenting expert and currently teaches in a clinical psychology doctoral program at The Chicago School of Psychology (Los Angeles campus), and is also an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine and National Universities. Known to friends and colleagues as “Doc”, he takes a “keep it real” approach to his work both with clients and in training the next generation of therapists. His easy-going attitude, coupled with a sharp insight that misses nothing, has made him popular with students and clients alike. With over two decades of teaching, clinical and administrative experience, he has presented over 100 workshops nationally and on four continents. The workshops have focused on parenting and relationship issues, spirituality, intimate partner violence, substance abuse and therapy with LGBTQIA and ethnic minority populations. Previously, he served as a Program Director at several nonprofit organizations, overseeing child mental health, adult mental health and pregnant/parenting teen programs. He has served six years on the Commission on Youth and Children (Long Beach, California), a body that advises the Mayor and city council on issues of importance to children, adolescents and families in that city. Dr. Canillas currently helps individuals, families and organizations to develop better relationships, achieve their career goals and lead more fulfilling and happy lives.