The cameras follow Bemister as she counsels people to get help and move towards recovery. She came away from the experience feeling inspired by those seeking help on the show.
“To be that vulnerable on international television probably is one of the most courageous things I’ve seen people do,” Bemister said.
The episodes are set to air on the CBC Documentary Channel in October. The series also airs on A&E in Canada and has recently been picked up by the Travel & Escape channel.
The venture into television is new for Bemister, who admits she had “some reservations” about joining the cast.
“But the team is great,” she added, crediting the team of directors, researchers and fellow interventionists who work on the series.
Bemister teaches in NIC’s Criminology diploma program, including courses like Criminal Law, Introduction to Criminology and Introduction to the Criminal Justice System, to name a few. Bemister’s students will often find themselves at events like the Annual Campagnolo Lecture on Restorative Justice and watching proceedings in real courtrooms.
Bemister runs her own counselling service, Ravenswood Consulting, and has been recognized provincially and nationally as a drug and alcohol specialist and trauma expert.
She also knows the lowest depths of addiction firsthand.
“I entered into recovery from addiction myself in June 2004,” said Bemister. “Being able to use that experience to help other people really is profound, it’s moving.”
“I realized that this show is helping so many people in ways that they wouldn’t be able to get help otherwise,” she said. “They wrap around the family and offer them help, as well as the people who are addicted. When I got to know the people that I work with on the show I felt really good about the decision I made, because they’re amazing people.”
Series producer Thomas Chenoweth said Bemister “lives the story of transformation that our program aims to facilitate.”
“Her history serves as a great source of hope as she connects with our clients,” he said. “The cameras don’t exist to Geri when she’s working with families. She’s just fully engaged and it all flows, like she’s conducting an orchestra.”
Bemister’s first series appearances will air on October 6 and 27 at 11 pm ET and PT on the CBC Documentary channel. Future episode dates and schedules are expected to be announced later this year.
For information on NIC’s Criminology diploma or other courses, visit www.nic.bc.ca/university-transfer.