2022 Edition

Mental Health and/or Substance Use Services (CA-MHSU) 6: Therapeutic Services

Persons served receive ongoing, coordinated, trauma-informed therapeutic services based on their assessed needs and goals.
NA The organization provides Diagnosis, Assessment, and Referral Services only.




Individuals and families who receive Mental Health and/or Substance Use Services improve social, emotional, psychological, cognitive, and family functioning to attain recovery and wellness.
Note: For withdrawal management programs, please refer to the interpretation at CA-MHSU 5.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Referral procedures
  • Copies of agreements with cooperating service providers and/or community resource and referral list, as applicable
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records


CA-MHSU 6.01

Persons served receive psychosocial, therapeutic and educational interventions that are:
  1. matched with the person's assessed needs, readiness for change, age, developmental level, and personal goals; and
  2. provided in individual, family, and/or group format.


For withdrawal management programs, therapeutic and educational interventions may be limited given the length of treatment and the person's treatment progress.


CA-MHSU 6.02

The organization directly provides or makes referrals for a comprehensive range of prevention and treatment services, including:
  1. psychotherapy; 
  2. illness management and psychoeducation interventions;
  3. coping skills training;
  4. alternative therapies;
  5. relapse prevention; 
  6. acute care; 
  7. support groups and self-help referrals;
  8. withdrawal management;
  9. inpatient care; 
  10. intensive outpatient care; 
  11. medical care; 
  12. psychiatric services; and 
  13. case management and other supportive services.


CA-MHSU 6.03

Individuals and their families, when appropriate, are actively connected with peer support services, either directly or by referral, appropriate to their request or need for service.


Connections to outside self-help/mutual aid groups should not be limited to providing the time and location for a meeting. Organizations can support the individual’s acclimation to a new group by, for example, discussing meeting protocols and what to expect prior to attending, accompanying them to their first meeting, and encouraging them to make connections with peers while at the meeting.
Examples: Peer support refers to services provided by individuals who have shared, lived experience. Services promote resiliency and recovery and can include peer recovery groups, peer-to-peer counselling, peer mentoring or coaching, family and youth peer support or other consumer-run services. Peer recovery groups may be specialized for particular groups of individuals or families such as individuals affected by HIV/AIDS.