Mini Track Sessions

MINI-A. So, You Want to Get Credentialed?

Presenters: Danny Graves, LCAS, CCS; Mark Crabtree, MHR, LCAS, CCS; Marcie Blevins, MS, LCAS, CRC, CSI

Description:  The North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board (NCSAPPB) Forum session will include a brief history of the Board and the addiction profession in North Carolina. Requirements for all NCSAPPB-offered credentials will be reviewed from initial application through registration to fully credentialed status and biannual renewal.

(Sponsored by: NCSAPPB)

MINI-B. New Emerging Psychoactive Substances (NPS): Focus on Synthetic Opioids and “Today’s” Heroin

Presenter: Lisa Marzilli, Pharm.D

Description: This session will discuss current trends in NPS and issues surrounding new and emerging products. Over the last 8 years, these substances have become commonplace and most recently, illicit fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, heroin mixtures and other combinations have intensified overdose death rates in particular regions of the United States. As this trend continues, the DEA, local law enforcement, and educators have been challenged to continual assess the ever-changing landscape of these synthetic opioids and to collaborate in raising awareness in the community.

Prevalence rates will be discussed in order to separate fact from “fiction”. In most instances, geography dictates the “flavor-of-the-week” so time for an open discussion and information sharing will be provided. As new products are emerging daily, efforts to stay current remain a challenge both scientifically and legally.

(Sponsored by: Dominion Diagnostics)

MINI-C. The Integration of Animal Assisted Interventions within Addiction & Clinical Counseling

Presenters: W. Leigh Atherton, PhD, LPCS, LCAS, CRC, CCS;  Tracie C. Atherton, MS, CRC, LPC; Cheryl Meola, M.Ed, LPC, NCC; Bug Atherton, DoG

Description: Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) includes counseling processes with goals and interventions similar to other modalities. As a complementary therapy, AAI interventions are designed to enhance the therapeutic effect of counseling. This workshop will provide an overview of AAI (including Equine Assisted Learning/Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy), focusing on knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Participants will learn current research on the use of AAI in counseling, including competency standards and specific interventions, as well as the importance of animal advocacy.

Important Note: Bug, registered therapy dog, will be present during the presentation. Individuals who are allergic or uncomfortable with dogs should use their judgment on attendance.


  1. Explore how to successfully integrate AAIs into addictions and clinical counseling;
  2. Develop counseling strategies using AAIs as an adjunctive therapy; and
  3. Discuss the ethical standards associated with the use of AAIs in counseling.

MINI-D.  Update for Providers Serving Individuals with DWI Offenses

Presenters: Lynn B. Jones, MS, LPC, LCAS, CCS; Donna Brown, BSW, CSAC

Description:  This session is primarily for the seasoned, authorized DWI provider.  It will be an update on practices related to the delivery of substance use disorder services for individuals with DWI offenses.  We will review the Best Practice Standards and other developments in our services.   This session will also include discussion on current national trends and any new legislation related to DWI. 

MINI-E. Sex Workers, Drug Use and HIV

Presenters: Stephanie M. Dixon, CSAC; James Sizemore, BA, MDiv

Description: Many patients in treatment are or have been sex workers.  How do you start a conversation about their work and their experiences?  What resources are available in your community?  Should we expect a patient to stop this work if they do not want to, and how can we make their work safer?  This will be an interactive discussion for treatment providers interested in strengthening their knowledge of sex workers, their legalities and rights, and will also help providers learn how to have open and honest conversations that are not stigmatizing.  Participants will also develop skills needed to provide sex working patients with tips on how to work safely.  Topics will also include HIV and STD testing and how to help a patient understand the importance of knowing their status and how to start sex worker outreach in your area.


MINI-F. Making the Connection: The Interrelationship Between Trauma and Substance Use

Presenter: Cheryl Harrison, MA, LPC, NCC, MSW LCSW, RYT 200

Description: Current research and treatment strategies have identified that trauma plays a significant role in the assessment, understanding and interventions in the treatment of substance use. This session will address research/statistics of trauma’s impact on substance use, the assessment of trauma and interventions helpful in providing comprehensive integrated treatment services.

By the end of the workshop participants will be able to:

** Describe types of trauma and the influence of trauma on mental health

** Identify methods for assessment of trauma

** Demonstrate interventions for grounding in order to assist with emotional regulation

** Discuss models of trauma intervention

NCSAPPB Psychopathology (PSY) Approved

MINI-G. Getting Past Go: Helping Young Men Transition from Addiction to Adulthood

Presenter: John Dyben, DHSC, MCAP, CMHP, ICADC

Description: For young men who are struggling with substance use disorder, the successful transition from adolescent to adult, from irresponsibility to accountability and self-reliance, is a challenge not predicated by age. Daily life itself is daunting, and heroin often seems to be an answer and substance of choice.

Findings: We address the underlying and complex issues of substance use disorder and relapse among young male adults and examine successful treatment in a peer living setting.  Addiction treatment must incorporate building multiple skill sets that include basic skills for living, and developing a sense of identity, self-reliance and basic competencies for living that even preclude employment or student life.

Failure to launch coupled with addiction cripples relationships with self and others. With a Twelve Step component for lasting holistic sobriety, there is a lasting support structure and network available to the individual, who is learning his own worth, not compared to an idealized image. Building camaraderie with peers through experiential outings and activities is a launching pad for the ability to form healthy relationships.  With shared responsibilities and experiential therapy and outings, comes individual responsibility in learning and applying job skills or volunteering. A case study is cited to illustrate treatment and recovery. The client learns his own worth, not compared to an idealized image. The transition to responsibility becomes real, and full, balanced adulthood attainable.

At the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  1. Relate young male addiction to inability to mature socially and emotionally.
  2. Evaluate the family dynamics in young male addiction and relapse.
  3. Explain elements of residential programming that builds psychosocial maturity in recovery.

(Sponsored by: Origins Behavioral Healthcare)

MINI-H. The “Treatment Resistant” Client

Presenter: Ward Blanchard, MS, CADC-II, LCAS

Description: In the behavioral health and substance abuse industry, professionals often encounter “treatment resistant” clients.  Unfortunately, too many professionals take on the attitude and approach of — “if the client isn’t ready (or has not hit rock bottom), no one can help them.”  Such a draconian and outdated approach, flies in the face of medical evidence, effective treatment, and healthy intervention.  What does, “meeting the client where they are at” really mean?  A popular sales-pitch line for marketers, but what is the clinical understanding of such a statement?  How do we apply this approach in a clinical setting?  Substances of abuse have profound impact and influence on brain functioning; consequently, a brain impacted by substances will often signal a client—“I need drugs or alcohol to survive”.   As a result, families and professionals often experience this “brain influence” in defiant behavior, treatment resistance, and a lack of emotional regulation.   Understanding evidenced-based approaches and effective interventions require an understanding of individual client demographics, neurobiology, and family system dynamics.  Most of the time, “treatment resistant clients” are the result of frustrated, unwilling, and unprepared professionals.

Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees will identify the neuroscience involved with substance abuse
  • Attendees will discuss the neuroscience involved with family members of an identified patient
  • Attendees will examine how symptoms appear as “treatment resistance”
  • Attendees will define effective, evidence-based treatment approaches for treatment resistant clients
  • Attendees will analyze: What are the roles of the professional with resistant clients and families?

(Sponsored by: The Blanchard Institute)

NCSAPPB Evidence-Based Treatment (EBT) Approved

MINI-I.  Pregnancy and Substance Use: The Importance of Integrated Care

Presenter: Judith Johnson-Hostler, MA, LCAS

Description: This session will discuss the process of addiction and recovery for women who struggle with substance use disorders. The theories underlying gender specific, trauma informed substance use treatment will be reviewed. Attendees will be provided with North Carolina’s substance use treatment resources that serve women who are pregnant or parenting that have a substance use disorder. The components of a comprehensive gender specific treatment system of care and the key issues with Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for pregnant women with opioid use disorder will also be identified. Finally, an update on the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and the role that this law has concerning the women we serve will be provided.

MINI-J: The Art of Self Care

Presenter: Kelsy Timas, CHLC

Description: With North Carolina sitting at the top of the national list of highest addiction rates in the country the burden is felt significantly by our licensed professionals serving this population everyday. In a recent survey addressing “burnout” all resigning counselors cited self-care as important strategies for managing burnout. Other research indicates that “burnout” contributes to higher rates of counselor turnover; increasing costs, decreasing efficiency and morale, and adversely influencing patient outcomes.When it comes to “Self Care”, where do we begin? Fact: Only 3% of Americans practice the recommended lifestyle habits to be healthy and happy. Mindfulness has a golden rule that says “you can only extend to others what you have already extended to yourself”. In an industry that is hyper focused on self awareness there is often little care for the caregiver and agrowing need to honor and tend to the work /life balance. This session will guide you to identify your current self care needs, personal goals and explore the benefits of a daily self care practice as Kelsy dives into the discipline and the art of living well.

NCSAPPB Approved for GSB Only

MINI-K. Opioid Epidemic and Medication Assisted Treatment

Presenters: Lindsay Lowery, LCSW-A, LCAS-A; and Kelsee White, LMFT, LCAS-A

Description: This presentation will provide an understanding of the opioid epidemic currently in North Carolina as well as in the country. A brief history of opioid treatment will be provided a long with the statistics related to overdose in the United States.  The effects of opioids on the brain and pregnant clients will be addressed, as well as the various types of treatment used to assist clients who present with opioid addiction.  Education on methadone as well as buprenorphine will be provided and described in detail. Diagnostic criteria as well as entrance criteria into medication assisted treatment will be reviewed to provide a basic understanding of how one can enter treatment.  McLeod Center’s application of treatment as well as program expectations will be discussed throughout the presentation.

(Sponsored by: The McLeod Center)

MINI-L:  Benefits of Yoga for the Recovering Person

Presenter: Will Carter, CSAC

Description: As a person in long-term recovery from addiction, I am constantly looking for healthy, life-giving ways to manage my condition. Yoga found me a few years ago, and has added a richness to my recovery that I never expected. Yoga has given me the ability to tolerate uncomfortable feelings and sensations that could lead to relapse. It has also helped me deepen and expand my community support, which is essential to all recovering people. Additionally, physical movement and exercise is an invaluable tool for people seeking to break free from the bondage of addiction. In this session, we will practice some yoga together and discuss the many benefits of this ancient practice for recovering people!