About Julian Somers

CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST AND SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR

Dr. Somers training in addiction began under Dr. Bruce Alexander, whose “Rat Park” studies show how social experiences can cause addictions to begin and end. He was then mentored by Dr. Alan Marlatt in advanced clinical practices focused on: relapse prevention; harm reduction; and mindfulness.

For 15 years Dr. Somers worked as a psychotherapist and trained clinicians in Psychology, Medicine, and other clinical fields. But he recognized that addictions were being created far faster than clinicians could treat them, and he shifted his focus to research aimed at preventing addiction, reducing harms, and stimulating post-addiction growth. Like a forest fire, the aftermath of addiction can sustain remarkable regeneration of life.

Dr. Somers has consulted across Canada and internationally to governments, businesses, and healthcare leaders. A frequent keynote speaker at international conferences, he is also actively engaged with community groups and media. Dr. Somers’ work has earned local, national, and international awards for research in the public interest.

He has also received academic awards for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Service, and SFU’s Award for Excellence.

Healthy passions can help to prevent harmful addictions and provide pathways to recovery. Dr. Somers upbringing in BC and Colorado instilled a life-giving relationship with nature and outdoor activities.

Julian is married and the father of two sons. He lives on the unceded lands of Vancouver’s North Shore.

You can reach him through the contact info on the website.

Recent Publications

educational Background

  • BA, Psychology, Simon Fraser University

  • MSc, Clinical Psychology, University of Washington

  • PhD, Clinical Psychology, University of Washington

Recent Speaking Engagements

  • International Society of Addiction Medicine 2021 annual conference

     

  • Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine 2022 annual conference

     

  • Pacific Psychopharmacology 2022 conference

Why Create This Website?

Addictions are human experiences that can affect anyone. This webpage is devoted to positive change. Evidence from BC and around the world shows that people can experience wellness and freedom following profoundly destructive addiction. Our research focusses on how that happens.

We’ve designed studies with people who experience addiction alongside poverty, mental illness, and involvement with crime. The results demonstrate clear opportunities to help people transform their lives, while reducing crime, medical emergencies and other crises.

You’ll find links explaining how these interventions work and why current  government-led approaches in Canada are so dysfunctional and wasteful. Billions of tax dollars have been spent on experimental, unproven “treatments” that have failed to help those with addictions or their communities. 

BC is experiencing increasing numbers of suicides, drug-related deaths, homelessness, and crime related to addiction. We can and must do better.

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