Vignettes for Learning

In these short modified fictional vignettes, please identify services and supports the Social Service worker could provide to the client(s) in Nova Scotia.  Each vignette provides a location; however you are also encouraged to examine these from the community you live in.


Theresa grew up with their parents and two brothers. They were the oldest in the family and expected to help with the care of their brothers. Theresa’s parents both were employed and relied on Theresa to assist them when Theresa was fairly young. In high school Theresa experimented with substances but did not use them consistently.  After high school, Theresa went on to a community college and did well.  Theresa continued experimenting with various substances. Theresa liked the feeling of being high and felt that it did help them to relax. Theresa moved on to a four-year college and this is where Theresa’s substance use began to interfere significantly with their schoolwork. Theresa decided to leave after a year and went to work in a computer position that paid well.  Theresa continued to use substances and missed some work.  Theresa’s employer recently gave Theresa a warning about her absenteeism.  Theresa has decided their life is not going well. Six months ago, Theresa found them-self having physical health problems.[1]  Theresa has reached out to you for support.  Theresa lives in Sydney, Nova Scotia.


A 45-year-old corporate lawyer presents to your agency for treatment of “problem drinking”.  Through your two meetings, Rashad has disclosed the following: Rashad tried alcohol for the first time at age 17, drank occasionally through college, and began drinking heavily in law school. Rashad reports having at least 6 beers daily and drinks up to 14 drinks in a day. Rashad often wakes up with hangovers and arrives late at work. Rashad states, “I have this intense urge to drink and keep thinking about alcohol all the time.” Rashad misses family events, has stopped playing tennis, and spends time at a local bar. Rashad’s husband has threatened to move out with their child. Rashad has been trying to cut down on his own but has not been able to do so. Rashad denies any prior psychiatric diagnosis. Rashad is eager to get help and has some insight into his problem with alcohol. Rashad is interested in a treatment program for men, and a program that would support 2SLGBTQS+ although is concerned about the cost.[2]  Rashad lives in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.


Mohammad reported that alcohol and marijuana were their primary drugs of choice. Mohammad’s history of chemical abuse also included cocaine (smoked and snorted), nicotine, and Vicodin and Demerol following a severe auto accident. Mohammad declared that “girls” were a part of their addiction too.  Mohammad came to see you at a recovery support group.  In the first meeting Mohammad disclosed to you that they have had five marriages and two common law marriages. Mohammad further reported that they have 5 children, 3 within a marriage and two others that Mohammad acknowledges. Mohammad provided for his children “financially when I could, but not emotionally. I was too selfish. I could barely deal with my own problems.”  Mohammad currently lives on income support in Nova Scotia housing, following a period of homelessness. Mohammad has been sober for 2 1/2 years, participates in several recovery groups, lectures to teens on the dangers of drug use and does volunteer work for a service organization that helps recoveringaddicts”. Mohammad has begun to reestablish a relationship with two of their children.[3]  You have been seeing Mohammed at your organization for people in recovery for 4 weeks.  Mohammad lives in Bedford, Nova Scotia. 


BingMiao (40) has been married to Robert for more than 20 years, having Lan (7) and Xiaoqhi (5) long into their marriage. Both children recently became part of the foster care system when a complaint was anonymously called alleging that their children were at risk of abuse or neglect due to parental alcohol and other drug abuse.  BingMiao and Robert both indicated they use cocaine. BingMiao married at 17 years old to “get away from” an alcoholic father. BingMiao’s mother married BingMiao’s father when she was 16 years old. While drinking, which was most evenings, BingMiao’s father would become physically abusive with BingMiao’s mother and verbally abusive to BingMiao and her siblings. BingMiao began smoking marijuana occasionally and drinking 3 or 4 beers a day to “feel better.” BingMiao has admitted to you after four mandated visits with you and a Social Worker that she uses cocaine but does not believe it is a big problem in her life and doesn’t think it affects her children.[4] BingMiao lives in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.

  1. Substance and Mental Health Services Administration. (n.d.). Stepping stones to recovery (3rd ed.).
  2. Sinha, S. (2017). Clinical vignette: substance use disorders (Alcohol).
  3. Ravazzin Center on Aging. (n.d.). Teaching workbook for practice with abusers of alcohol
    and other substances
     Fordham University.
  4. Substance and Mental Health Services Administration. (n.d.). Module 2, vignette 1.


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