Professional Development Training for your Organization

Outreach Training Institute’s exceptional faculty are available to provide training “off campus,” in settings within the community: schools, social service organizations, healthcare facilities, and more. Courses may be customized to agency needs. All of these courses are approved for CASAC, social work, and LMHC continuing education hours in New York State.

For more information on availability and pricing, contact Liliane Drago, MA, CASAC, MAC, Director of the Outreach Training Institute at

If you are interested in attending a scheduled Professional Development Training at either OTI’s Richmond Hill, Queens or Brentwood, Long Island campus, please visit our campus calendar.

Screening, Assessment and Brief Intervention

The Addiction Severity Index (ASI) – 9 hours

Participants in this course will learn how to appropriately administer the Addiction Severity Index (ASI), a validated tool for the assessment of substance use disorders.  The course begins with a conceptual overview of the ASI that includes an explanation of what the tool measures and the protocol for its use.  How to engage and prepare the client for the interview, coding rules, the need for probing and comments are discussed.  The intent of each ASI section and question is explained so the interviewer can appropriately phrase each question and get the necessary information while being culturally and clinically responsive.  Each participant conducts an ASI interview in the class with the trainer being the client to get a hands-on feel for the tool and the process.

The DSM-5 Changes: What the Addiction Professional Needs to Know – 3 hours

The presentation will provide an overview of some of the changes which have occurred within the most recent release of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association from the previous version, and a detailed review of the changes within the Substance Use Disorder category so as to facilitate updated assessment and treatment planning.

Issues in Working with the DWI/DUI Offender -3 hours

This presentation will look at issues specific to working with DWI/DUI client, including NY State DWI laws as they pertain to mandated screening or assessment for a possible substance abuse problem, differentiating screening from assessment, understanding blood alcohol content (BAC) and factors which can impact a BAC level, and treatment issues.

SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment)4 or 12 hours (see below)

SBIRT is an evidence-based prevention/early intervention practice used to identify and counsel patients who use alcohol and other drugs at risky levels.  Its goal is to reduce substance use and its related health consequences, and to lower health care costs. It has been demonstrated to effectively modify high-risk substance use and to identify those who need specialized treatment.  SBIRT was developed for use in settings other than drug and alcohol treatment, such as primary health care, emergency rooms, clinics, School-Based Health Centers, etc., where individuals who are at risk for substance use disorders are more likely to be served.  SBIRT is a reimbursable service, with billing codes available in New York State.

The four-hour training will enable providers who are licensed or credentialed, including physicians, nurse practitioners, psychologists, LMSW’s, LMHC’s and CASAC’s, to bill for SBIRT services.  (LMSW’s, LMHC’s and CASAC’s must work under the auspices of a licensed provider/facility.)   Non-credentialed staff, including CASAC-T’s, must take the 12-hour training and work under the supervision of a licensed staff person in a licensed provider/facility in order to bill for SBIRT.

Brief Interventions – 3 hours

Brief interventions are short-term services provided to individuals engaged in risky substance use. They can provide education on risks and opportunities to change behavior outside of a formal “treatment” setting. This presentation will identify the most appropriate candidates, share interventions and exercises which might be used in this short-term context and review proper documentation.

Assessment of Spirituality – 3 hours

While many people have current or past religious/spiritual beliefs, practices and experiences that have influenced their lives and current behavior, few clinicians integrate spirituality into the assessment process.  After a review of concerns in integrating spiritual issues into clinical practice, we will focus on areas of assessment, differentiating between spiritual beliefs which create functional or dysfunctional behavior, tools of assessment, and identification of potential counseling issues which can also inform treatment planning.

Treatment Practices

Improving Client Engagement and Compliance – 3 hours

This course will focus on how to effectively engage clients into treatment and use evidenced-based strategies shown to increase retention. Strategies to develop rapport, address client anxieties and apprehensions about treatment, increase motivation, collaboratively establish treatment goals, and establish a working alliance will be examined. Participants will practice using some of these strategies in counseling simulations.

Effective Individual Counseling in Substance Use Disorder Treatment – 6 hours

The quality of the client-counselor relationship is one of the most significant determinants of client retention in treatment and positive treatment outcomes.  The goal of this course is to help participants understand the nature and importance of the counseling relationship, and to practice counseling skills that are conducive to an effective therapeutic alliance.  The structure and process of a productive counseling session will be outlined.  Client motivation, common challenges, and ethical and professional boundary issues will be explored.  Documentation of the session in collaboration with the client will be demonstrated.

Overview of Best Practices in Group Counseling – 6 hours

This course reviews the theoretical foundations of group therapy, the appropriate role of the group facilitator, setting up and preparing for a group, group selection, group stages, facilitation skills, transference, counter-transference, resistance in the group, and the various types of groups commonly used in substance abuse treatment.  The course will include didactic instruction, experiential exercises, and real group practice.

Psychological Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care – 3 hours

This course is intended for all staff working in a treatment facility that has client contact, regardless of role.  It begins with a definition of psychological trauma, the symptoms that may indicate a history of trauma, and the prevalence of trauma exposure in clients with substance use and mental health disorders.  Participants will learn how trauma can be addressed in treatment, both in specific treatment approaches and in milieu practices that are conducive to healing.  The premise of this course is that day-to-day experiences and interactions between traumatized clients and all staff can have a bearing on their ability to remain in treatment and make clinical progress.  This course uses didactic presentation, film, and group discussion.

Addressing Psychological Trauma in Substance Abuse Treatment – 6 hours

This course is intended for clinicians who work with clients with behavioral health disorders and have a history of trauma.  It will provide an overview of psychological trauma including its definition, the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, and complex trauma.  Trauma theory and a model of trauma recovery will enable participants to develop realistic goals and approaches in the context of substance abuse or mental health treatment settings.  Trauma-specific treatment strategies and trauma-informed treatment practices will be presented and discussed.  Evidence-based cognitive- behavioral treatments, including Seeking Safety and TREM, will be explored and a selection of strategies will be practiced in the course.

Seeking Safety Therapy for PTSD and Substance Use Disorders – 6 hours

Participants will learn how to use Seeking Safety therapy, a manualized evidence-based cognitive behavioral treatment for the integrated treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders.  The treatment has been shown to reduce PTSD symptoms and improve functioning without exploring traumatic memories. The course reviews the definition of trauma, simple and complex PTSD, the relationship between substance use disorders and trauma, the treatment of trauma and trauma informed treatment.  The principles and process of Seeking Safety will be presented and participants will observe a real Seeking Safety session being led by Lisa Najavits, the developer, on film. Participants will have the opportunity to practice key Seeking Safety activities in the training.

Motivational Interviewing –12 hours

If you work with clients, patients or staff members who seem unmotivated to change, adding motivational interviewing to your repertoire of skills may be very helpful.  Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based practice that helps individuals resolve the ambivalence that often underlies the reluctance to make life changes.  In clinical work, it is particularly useful when working with those who come into treatment under coercion or otherwise seem resistant to change.  Similarly, motivational interviewing can be very effective in the supervision of staff.   The course teaches the core theory, assumptions, spirit, and fundamental skills of MI.  Didactic presentation, discussion, film, and “real play” practice is used.

Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders – 6 hours

This course presents the DSM-IV criteria for substance use disorders and reviews the types of psychiatric disorders that commonly co-occur with substance use disorders including mood, anxiety, personality, conduct, attention deficit, and psychotic disorders.  Differential diagnosis and assessment of the relative severity of co-occurring disorders is reviewed.  Strategies for providing integrated treatment for substance use and mental health disorders are explored.  Case examples are examined and discussed.

Relapse Prevention – 6 hours

This course will review the definition and process of relapse, stages of change, risk factors for relapse, recovery skills, and the cognitive-behavioral approach to relapse prevention.  Participants will practice the use of specific CBT strategies in relapse prevention. The training will consist of didactic presentation, large and small group discussion, role play, and simulation.

Helping Women Recover or Voices – 6-12 Hours

This course will introduce participants to the Helping Women Recover or Voices group counseling curriculum for women and girls, respectively, with substance use disorders developed by Stephanie Covington. The curriculum provides material that can be used to facilitate groups that address gender-related issues for women and girls including self-concept, self-esteem, relationships, body image, sexuality, family roles, boundaries, etc. Participants will examine gender-related issues of women and girls with substance use disorders and how treatment programs can be more gender- responsive. An overview of relational theory is presented to help participants understand the foundation of gender-responsive interventions and approaches. This course is geared to female clinicians who will facilitate women’s groups. A sample of group activities from the Covington curriculum will be presented in this experiential training.

Mapping-Enhanced Counseling:   The Texas Christian University (TCU) Evidence-Based Practices for Substance Use Disorders – 6 hours

This course will introduce participants to the evidence-based interventions developed by the Institute for Behavioral Research at TCU and the use of cognitive mapping. Cognitive mapping is a method for visually representing problems, issues, and potential solutions in counseling that has been shown to improve focus and memory, problem solving, communication, engagement, participation, and counselor-client rapport.  Participants will practice cognitive mapping using selected exercises in the manuals as they may be used in individual and group counseling sessions, and will be introduced to the series of treatment manuals that are available for free on the TCU IBR website.

Working with Alcohol and Substance Abusers Who Are Unable to Sustain Abstinence – 3 hours

Many people making recovery attempts, whether through treatment or other means, find themselves unable to sustain long term abstinence.  These “chronic” patients are a source of frustration to treatment staff and others.  Mere repetition of past interventions with the patient is often unproductive.  The workshop will provide a framework to identify and address possible hidden factors which have been obstacles to sustained abstinence.

Conducting a Relapse Analysis- 3 hours

Relapse is a common phenomenon in alcohol and substance abuse treatment.  Unfortunately, patients (and sometimes treatment providers) can mystify the relapse process and miss an opportunity to help honor the nature of their addiction and better understand their full recovery needs.  After examining the relapse process, we will learn ways to help the patient review a relapse so that greater understanding of individualized recovery goals is gained.

Working with Adolescents with Substance Use Disorders – 6 hours

In this course, the normative stages of adolescent development, the characteristics of adolescence, the diagnostic criteria for adolescent substance use disorders, and the clinical issues that need to be addressed in adolescent substance abuse treatment are reviewed.  Elements of effective adolescent treatment are presented, and how to effectively counsel an adolescent and work with the family and other collaterals is explored.  Case examples are examined and discussed.  Didactic presentation and small and large group discussion is used.

Co-Occurring Disorders in Adolescents – 6 hours

This training provides an overview of the psychiatric disorders that commonly co-occur with substance use disorders in adolescents.  The interaction of normative adolescent development and psychopathology are examined.  Strategies for integrating treatment for both types of disorders are discussed.  Didactic instruction, group discussion, and case vignettes are used in this course.

 Working with Women with Substance Use Disorders – 6 hours

This course makes the point that gender matters in treatment.  Participants will learn about the gender-related issues of women with substance use disorders and how treatment programs can be gender- responsive and clinically effective. An overview of female psychology and Relational Theory is presented to help participants understand the foundation of gender-responsive interventions and approaches.

Identification and Intervening with Usage Cues and Cravings3 hours

This presentation will first focus on some of the underlying factors which lead to substance cravings, then suggest concrete strategies which clients might use to address both cues and cravings.

Working with Alcohol and Substance Abusers Who Are Unable to Sustain Abstinence3 hours

Many people making recovery attempts, whether through treatment or other means, find themselves unable to sustain long-term abstinence.  These “chronic” clients are a source of frustration to treatment staff and others.  Mere repetition of past interventions with the client is often unproductive.  The workshop will provide a framework to identify and address possible hidden factors which have been obstacles to sustained abstinence.

Conducting a Relapse Analysis3 hours

Relapse is a common phenomenon in alcohol and substance abuse treatment.  Unfortunately, clients (and sometimes treatment providers) can mystify the relapse process and miss an opportunity to help honor the nature of their addiction and better understand their full recovery needs.  After examining the relapse process, we will learn ways to help the client review a relapse so that greater understanding of individualized recovery goals is gained.

Bringing Evidence-Based Practices Into the Service Setting 3 hours

The growing emphasis on “evidence-based practices” (EBP) raises issues of practical integration into the treatment setting.  This presentation will address just what is an “evidence-based practice”, what are some of the currently recognized EBP’s, and what are some of the considerations for integration into existing services.

Evidence Based Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations3 hours

The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations describes treatment principles and research findings of particular relevance to the criminal justice community and treatment professionals working with drug abusing offenders.  This presentation will review each of the 13 principles and discuss their possible implications for working with substance abusers with criminal justice involvement.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy in Substance Abuse Treatment6 hours

A number of recognized evidence-based practices in substance abuse treatment use Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). This training is an introduction to applying this approach to a substance abusing population.  After a review of the basic premises of CBT, the focus will be on surveying CBT interventions and tools which can be used for treatment planning, identification of  thinking distortions and accompanying stressors, helping clients understand the role of drugs in their lives, recognition of high-risk situations, trigger and craving identification and responses, as well as needs and strategies to address emotional regulation, interpersonal and drug refusal skills, addressing returns to use, and long-term recovery planning.  Participants are expected to have some familiarity with counseling substance abusing populations.

Treatment Planning and Clinical Documentation

Person-Centered Treatment Planning and Clinical Documentation – 6 hours

This training teaches participants how to develop a person-centered treatment plan and in the process get clients to take ownership of their recovery process.  Conceptual presentation describes the fundamental elements of a good treatment plan and gives specific examples of each.  The concept of the “golden thread” in the clinical case record is demonstrated as the treatment plan is linked to the assessment then carried over into the progress notes. How to write good individual, group, and case notes is described and demonstrated.  Participants write a treatment plan and progress notes in the class on a model case.

Writing a Billable Progress Note3 hours

This course will teach participants the elements of a good progress note that includes the criteria required by Medicaid and other payers. Participants will learn to write exactly what is needed for reimbursement and to be more efficient in their documentation by eliminating unnecessary verbiage.

Person-Centered Individual Counseling and Collaborative Documentation – 6 hours

A structure for the individual counseling session that lends itself to client engagement and a focus on treatment goals, using the four processes of motivational interviewing, will be presented in this course.  Social workers will also about collaborative documentation, a process that involves the client in the documentation and planning of services, enabling the clinician to both engage the client in counseling and complete the documentation within the session time. Positive outcomes have been demonstrated for both clinicians and clients. Participants in this course will learn how to use collaborative documentation can be used in conjunction with a person-centered individual counseling style.

Supervision and Management

Clinical Supervision Foundations II – 16 hours

Good clinical supervision is essential to the provision of high quality clinical services, the morale, professional development, and retention of staff, ethical behavior and professional boundaries, and the fidelity of evidence-based practices.  This introductory course begins with the definition of clinical supervision, its goals and objectives, and the qualities and approaches of a good clinical supervisor.  The structure and benefits of various types of supervision is reviewed and time management strategies are discussed.  Didactic presentation, group discussion, small group work and case vignettes are used.  In New York State, this training is required as part of the scopes of practice for clinicians who have supervisory responsibilities.

Essential Elements of OASAS Program Management (3 CASAC, SW and LMHC hours)

This course will provide an overview of the key elements of OASAS program management, including regulatory compliance requirements for the level of care, agency mission, program design, target population and scope of services, managing service delivery and outcomes, problem solving, addressing untoward events and managing in crisis, staffing structures and utilization, developing community based support networks, and managing other environmental factors.

Essential Core Courses for Human Service Professionals

Professional Ethics and Boundaries– 6 hours

This course presents the ethical principles, canons, and obligations of those in the helping professions and outlines the parameters of appropriate professional boundaries.  In small groups, participants examine case vignettes involving ethical and professional boundary dilemmas and evaluate them using an ethical problem-solving model, then discuss their conclusions with the larger group.

Crisis Prevention & De-escalation –3 hours

This course teaches participants to use Nonviolent Crisis Intervention by the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI).  Participants learn to appropriately intervene at every level of a crisis, with emphasis on the identification of the early stages of a crisis and how to prevent its escalation.  The use of verbal de-escalation and personal safety techniques is introduced and practiced.  The overarching priority of this approach is to keep both clients and staff safe.

Crisis Prevention & De-escalation (Refresher) – 3 hours

This course is a review of the introductory course on crisis prevention and de-escalation. How to prevent and therapeutically manage disruptive and potentially volatile client behavior is revisited.  The use of relationship-building and verbal strategies to avoid crisis situations, and the use of personal safety techniques is practiced and reinforced.

Cultural Competency in Substance Abuse Counseling – 3 hours

What culture is and how it impacts clients in treatment and the counseling relationship is examined in the course. The importance of understanding cultural differences and how to develop culturally relevant treatment is explored.  The course uses didactic presentation, small and large group discussion, and film.

Current Trends and Overviews

Developments in the Field of Substance Abuse: 2017-18 Update – 3 hours

This presentation will provide a wide-ranging update to substance abuse service providers who work in clinical, supervisory and/or administrative roles. Areas covered include developments in treatment, research, drug trends, funding, legal & regulatory issues and professional development.

From Painkillers to Heroin: The Changing Face of Opioid Addiction (3 CASAC, SW & LMHC)

 As we face a significant resurgence of opioid usage, this presentation will first ask “how did we get here?” and look at the links between prescription painkillers and heroin use. We will then consider how some of today’s prescription painkiller and heroin abusers reflect a changing demographic and clinical profile, and the implications for treatment and recovery.

 Overview of the Neurobiology of Addiction and Implications for Practice – 3.5 hours

This presentation is designed to help service providers develop a basic understanding of the current thinking regarding the neurobiology of addiction, especially with regard to neurotransmitter modification, neuroplasticity during drug use, and possible functional brain changes as a result of chronic drug use.  Clinical interventions with chronic drug users are discussed in light of this framework.

Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse – 3 hours

This review will look at factors which have led to the recent increase in prescription and over-the counter drug use and abuse, some of the more popular choices, special treatment considerations, and community/family responses.

Marijuana:   A Review – 3 hours

The current movement to medicalize and legalize marijuana invites further understanding of this drug as it enters further into the social mainstream.  This presentation intends to provide a review of the drug’s pharmacology, administration methods, effects, cannabis analogs and treatment strategies. It will also explore the medical marijuana debate as well as concurrent public health issues.

From Banana Peels to Morning Glory Seeds to Bath Salts: Legal, Semi-Legal and Is-It-Legal? Highs Now, Then and To Come3 hours

Various drug fads (from banana peels to morning glory seeds to “Bath Salts’) and means to intoxication have existed alongside more popular drugs of choice.  Most have to do with novel substances, altered versions of banned drugs and/or unique combinations.  This review will look at some historical and current “legal highs”, legal concerns, future possibilities and provider responses.

Addiction Primer Training6 hours

This overview is targeted to direct service, management and support staff who have little substance abuse-specific training.  It provides some baseline understanding of key areas specific to substance abuse service providers.  Topics include overview of the service system, addiction concepts and models, federal confidentiality laws, different kinds of services, drugs of abuse and toxicology testing.

Models of Alcoholism and Addiction – 3 hours

There are numerous models of addiction’s causation with implications for how individuals, professionals, organizations and society will therefore address the problem. This review will look at a dozen different models and regard how each model would seek to intervene and treat individuals with addictive disorders.  The role of “Faith based” recovery will also be discussed.