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SSAS Course Descriptions


101: Motivational Enhanced Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy
Instructor: Claudia Blackburn, MS, PsyD
Group therapy is one of the most common approaches in SUD treatment settings. Over 90% of treatment programs across setting provide SUD group therapy. To date, most group therapy approaches used in SUD treatment consists only of adapting individual theoretical approaches to a group format rather than endorsing approaches specifically designed for groups. Group-specific therapies for SUDs have evolved, though few providers have incorporated these specific approaches in treatment settings. The training reviews the more robust science-informed SUD group therapies prior to demonstrating Sobells’ Motivational Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy (including techniques, structure, guidelines, and group activities). Group therapy can be an effective modality for improving treatment engagement, developing and practicing coping skills, and supporting recovery Other core processes and corresponding strategies, that predict outcomes in SUD group therapy settings, are highlighted to help participants engage in group therapy. 

102 Improving Access to Medication Assisted Treatment
Instructor: Brian Colangelo, LCSW, CADC
The purpose of this course is to help substance use treatment providers understand the implementation of medications used to treat substance use disorders (MAT) and provide context for how to both access and fit in available treatment options. The class is designed to help improve the intersectionality of therapy and counseling and medication assisted treatment. For too long, these modalities have existed in different realms and yet patient outcomes are improved when they’re collaborated.
The class is designed to help non-prescribers better understand how MAT works and to integrate therapeutic interventions by developing direct clinical skills such as assessment, analysis and documentation. The class is designed to help non-prescribers better understand how MAT works and to integrate therapeutic interventions by developing direct clinical skills such as assessment, analysis and documentation. Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of prescribed medications such as Suboxone, Methadone, Vivitrol and Narcan to normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions. Evidence has shown that both MAT and substance abuse counseling are highly effective in the various stages of treating substance use disorders. An important component of the class will discuss access to MAT, from both a clinical and structural perspective, particularly looking at barriers that have exist in regard to oppression, racism and institutional discrimination.

103: Exploring racial trauma from antiracist lens
Instructor: Nathalie Edmond, PsyD
This course will explore the legacy of white supremacy and developing an anti-racism lens in clinical and personal life.  Will explore concepts such as white privilege, implicit bias and more subtle forms of racism.  Participants will be able to conceptualize racism and anti-blackness culture as a form of racial trauma and how that lives in the body and can show up differently in the therapy room.  We will work to deconstruct therapy models that center white supremacy and how to hold space for collective rage and grief with white identify and BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) clients and colleagues.  This anti-racism model will take a mindfulness based approach to invite in curiosity and an embodied experience.

105: Innovative Approaches to Treatment By Providing Multiple Pathways to Recovery
Instructor: Bob Lynn, EdD, LPC
The focus of this course is to provide a fresh view of treatment based on current research and challenges facing the field today.  This course will provide the necessary framework for delivering patient centered treatment and will examine therapeutic protocols from early engagement to continuing care. The focus will be on inclusivity utilizing a behavioral health umbrella that includes Harm Reduction, Medication, Abstinence and community stakeholders. The role of case managers, peer counselors, community service workers, interventionists, psychiatrists and therapists will be closely examined. The entire course will be presented with a significant sensitivity to cultural humility, LGBTQ populations, race, religion, age, socio-economic challenges and geography. Many of the entrenched concepts, assumptions and protocols in the field will be examined through a scholarly lens. Finally, this course will reach far beyond levels of care, policy, and worn theories by examining multiple pathways to patient driven recovery.   The need to provide treatment based on science and outcomes with a strong   patient focus wrapped in compassion will underscore the entire course.

106: Trauma Focused Addiction Treatment: The Why, The What and The How
Instructor: Debra Ruisard, DSW, LCSW, LCADC
This course will provide evidence and the rational for the provision of trauma informed addiction treatment, examine the trauma focused knowledge, clinical skills and professional characteristics of effective addiction counselors, and explore how to utilize and adapt cognitive, psychodynamic and somatic trauma interventions in substance use treatment.

Peer Track 107: Harm Reduction: Philosophy & Practice
Instructor: Jon Soske, PhD
Innovated in Europe by people who use drugs, Harm Reduction was introduced to the United States through needle exchange programs pioneered by HIV/AIDs activism and sex worker activists. This version of HR was a radical philosophy centered on drug users rights and social justice. Most people, however, are familiar with HR in a more narrow sense: interventions to reduce drug related harms such as naloxone, sterile needles, and fentanyl strips. This course will tackle both sides of HR with particular focus on how to apply HR principles and techniques to peer recovery work and other forms of recovery support. We will explore the origins and history of HR as a social movement and radical philosophy; reflect on how HR relates to different ides of recovery; and learn to apply the principles of HR to complex, real world situations. The course will conclude with introducing students to some future directions in HR activism and newer interventions. Throughout we will reflect on the ethical dimensions of HR work * This course is geared towards Peer Recovery Specialists


201: Suicide Across the Lifespan: Counseling and Prevention
Instructor: Frank Greenagel LCSW, LCADC, ACSW, CJC
Suicide rates in the USA have almost doubled since 1999. Social scientists and policy makers indicate that the following factors have contributed to the increase: economic problems, the opioid epidemic, social isolation, the continual decline of the American family, distrust in institutions, lack of health care access, and racism. Prevention and counseling programs have largely been inadequate in addressing suicide and the fall-out from it. This course will examine data in the US and various states, trends, prevention, and counseling. Additional emphasis will be given to working with the survivors of those that complete suicide. 

203: Cultural Humility and Recovery: is it a journey or a destination?
Instructors: Tam Rovitto, LCSW, Keith Murphy, LPC, LCADC
This course will focus on the transition from Cultural Competence to Cultural Humility in substance use disorder treatment with the aid of the Cultural Formulation Interview.  Participants will examine various personal and professional components that impact culturally humble care.  This course will provide the foundational framework for the Cultural Humility approach and the Cultural Formulation Interview.  Together, these tools can complement clinicians’ current toolbox and increase the effectiveness of substance use disorder treatment.  This interactive and experiential course will engage and connect your experiences while providing you with additional clinical tools. 

204: Culturally Competent and Integrated LGBTQ Addictions Treatment
Instructor: Katherine Glick, LPC, LCADC, CCS, ACS, MAC, CMHIMP There is much research that supports the fact that LGBTQIAP+ communities experience a higher level of stress and subsequent mental health and addiction disparities that occur for LGBTQIAP+ folk. These disparities are due to violence and discrimination perpetuated against members of these communities and exacerbated by multiples sites of marginalization.  It is imperative for mental health clinicians and addiction professionals to receive training and education about how to understand and integrate culture into their work, and how to actively cultivate an anti-oppressive and affirmative lens when working with members of these communities. Despite this fact, however, many practitioners report feeling ill-equipped and lacking competence in providing affirmative care to LGBTQIAP+ individuals.  This course is specifically for clinicians who have had limited experience with the above-named communities, and will prepare the practitioner with accurately recognizing, assessing, and treating individuals who identify as LGBTQIAP+ who are struggling with substance abuse and related problems. Participants will have the opportunity to examine their own socialization around sexuality, and how it has impacted them personally and professionally up until present day.  Insight strategies will allow participants to explore the importance of examining functioning across domains of functioning, including sexuality and sexual identity.  Terminology will be reviewed, and special attention paid to culturally-specific risk and etiological factors, and evidence-based culturally-responsive and affirmative treatment.

205: Addressing The Crisis of Credibility in Addiction Treatment: Building Best Practices Through Research, Outcomes and Compassion
Instructor: Bob Lynn, EdD, LPC
This course will provide a comprehensive review of the issues that have led to a crisis of credibility in the current addiction treatment system in the US and abroad. The major challenges for moving forward and creating an efficacious treatment system will be explored. This course will address issues related to language, research, outcomes, the role of 12 step facilitation, Harm Reduction, Medication Assisted Treatment, and  abstinence focused protocols.   Misconceptions and syndromes based on pseudo-science will be examined.  Questions related to ethics and evidence-based protocols will be included in discussions and demonstrations.   In addition, this course will offer clear pathways for developing client centered treatment based on the intersection of science and compassion. Meeting the client as they present will be a major focus of this class using a lens that considers cultural humility, LBGTQ+, race, religion, and socio-economic status.

206: Addiction as a Neurobiological Disease: Matter-of-fact or Myth? Instructor: Julianne Price, PhD
Students will discuss modern theories of addiction as a neurobiological disorder and relevant clinical implications. Historical models of biobehavioral addiction research and their evolution into the current biopsychosocial model of addiction will be dissected. We will explore the ways in which moves toward the disease model of addiction has both helped and hindered clinical practice.

Peer Track 207: “Credible Messaging” to Support the Adolescent Black and Brown Brain in Recovery
Instructor: Dameon M. Stackhouse, MSW
The War on Drugs which is actually a war on Black and Brown bodies needs to be completely abolished. This attack on the underserved and underrepresented communities in our nation has destroyed the families of far too many United States citizens and placed a disproportion number of them in our correctional system. The Opioid Epidemic has finally given us a chance to work collectively to solve the real issue; substance use disorder is a disease that should not be punished. It has taken decades for this reality to hit the suburbs of America but now that it is affecting more white families we can begin to deal with the problem in a humane manner. Even as the country comes to a collective agreement that things must change there is a demographic of people that are being forgotten and overlooked, the Black and Brown Youth that are suffering from substance use disorders. The Credible Messaging to Support Youth Recovery course will give you a detailed account of a personal experience that Dameon M. Stackhouse traveled on his road to recovery. This course will discuss the Alternative Peer Group (APG) model and how it has produced great results over the last ten years and an overview of its history of 40 years. The course will highlight the demographic disparities and how we can overcome the racial and economic barriers to assist Black and Brown youths in their recovery. During our time together we will look at the adolescent brain and the development when substances are introduced and discuss how it may trigger the onset of substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues. Finally, this course will provide you with three distinct messages for universities and programs to include outreach methods and tools to service diverse populations. Including ways to work with you that are considered at-risk or special needs. * This course will be geared towards Peer Recovery Specialists

208: Motivational Interviewing: The Practice of Supervision
Instructor: Stephen Andrew, LCSW, LADC, CCS, CGP
This training will include effective methods of supervising workers and provide an opportunity to explore creative ways of integrating effective interventions with workers in motivating them to grow in skill and work with our most “challenging” clients. The experience of parallel process using Motivational Interviewing in supervision and coaching staff in using the spirit, structure and skills will be illustrated using case presentations and interactive exercises. This course best defined as a worker centered guiding method for enhancing the intrinsic motivation within the worker by helping them to explore their counter transference and while using Motivational Interviewing as a client centered, evidence based model of treatment with clients in ambivalence.​The Motivational Interviewing Assessment: Supervisory Tools for Enhancing Proficiency (MIA:STEP) package is a collection of tools for mentoring counselors and other clinicians in the use of MI skills during clinical assessments. During the NIDA clinical trials research the MI assessment protocol improved both client attendance and retention during the first four weeks of outpatient care. The researchers also discovered that the development and maintenance of MI skills was a challenge for the counselors engaged in the study. Participating in workshop training was not sufficient preparation. Ongoing feedback and mentoring were needed in order for most counselors to use MI skillfully. This training is meant to be used in the context of clinical supervision or mentoring. Use of these tools can help enhance both counselor MI skills and the quality and nature of the mentoring process. It’s a win-win for clients and agency staff alike.