We Are Leaders in the Care of People with Co-occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders

As a principal developer of integrated treatment for multi-diagnosed clients, we are also one of the best-known training entities in the U.S. for dual diagnosis and harm reduction.

For over three decades, the Center’s staff has trained mental health, substance misuse and medical professionals; paraprofessional case managers and housing counselors; peer counselors; and support staff of hundreds of different agencies, both in the United States and abroad.

All of our trainings are consumer inclusive and driven. We assess each individual’s or organization’s needs and customize our curricula for each audience.

Our Training Model

Research on professional development consistently indicates that practice change occurs only when workshops are followed by ongoing coaching.  That is why we always recommend a series that includes a minimum of one workshop to immerse participants in our model, and then regular consultation to help them integrate the new knowledge.

Each one of our training topics can be tailored to suit the diverse learning needs of everyone who works with substance users.

In addition to customized workshops for individuals and organizations, we offer monthly consultation groups for therapists and agencies in San Francisco and Oakland and by conference call in other parts of the country.

Practical, Enriched Learning

Our training topics are drawn directly from our practice and from that of the thousands of people we have trained over the last 30 years.  All trainings are rich with case examples and practice opportunities and include generous time for participants to ask questions.

I’ve been to a lot of harm reduction trainings. I haven’t always agreed with it.  This is the first time I’ve really gotten it.  You gave so many practical examples that I could really see myself practicing it with my clients.”

I know motivational interviewing and thought I understood it.  But the way you said ‘follow the client’s lead’, it clicked into place.”

It’s amazing to have coaching every month – I need to talk about how it’s working with my clients and I need the repetition!”

The Center’s Most Sought-after Workshops

Harm Reduction Therapy

One to four-day workshops include Stages of Change, biopsychosocial assessment, self-determination theory and motivational interviewing, as well as the psychodynamic theories of attachment, transference and countertransference, and emotional communication.

Co-occurring Disorders

This one-day workshop is a basic primer of neurobiology and covers the interaction between alcohol and drugs, mental and emotional illness, and medications, Khantzian’s self-medication hypothesis, the prominence of trauma in substance misuse, and a unique biopsychosocial assessment model.

Alcohol and Drugs 101 & Substance Use Management

This workshop starts with a description of the most commonly used drugs, their effects, benefits, and dangers; helps practitioners talk to their clients about drugs; and offers science-based strategies to increase safety, help people reduce the amount or frequency of use, and otherwise manage their relationship with alcohol and drugs.

Trauma-informed Care

This workshop helps participants understand the relationship between trauma and substance use, learn key trauma-informed practices, and analyze the way that agency policies and staff interactions can be experienced as re-traumatizing. Specific skills are offered for creating an agency culture that is both sensitive to, and able to work with, the complex behaviors that can arise in traumatized individuals.

Group Treatment

The principles of harm reduction are ideal for working with substance misuse in groups, whether out-patient, residential, or peer-led. Group members can benefit from each other’s experiences and wisdom, while the group leader must be able to facilitate communication, manage conflict, and create a group culture of inclusion, diversity, and tolerance. This workshop is skills-based, with a demonstration group that helps participants to experience how harm reduction groups work.

Program Design and Development

This training helps program managers align their program policies and procedures with the principles of harm reduction. Issues of access, client culture, managing staff, and policy & procedure manuals are discussed from the perspective of the current agency model. This module is best in small groups and can be conducted in person or via phone or skype.  Ongoing technical assistance for rewriting policies and procedures is available.


Created to incorporate the principles of harm reduction into staff and therapist development, our model of relational supervision is uniquely suited to helping staff work with complex clients. The different styles of supervision are presented, with supervisors learning to recognize and expand, when necessary, the style they are most comfortable with.

Vicarious Traumatization, Self-care, and Burnout Prevention

Taking care of complex clients is at times a difficult business. The people we work with suffer greatly and the stories we hear are distressing. Agencies and individuals can develop strategies for coping with the feelings that often mirror the distress of our clients. This workshop offers information about the nature of vicarious traumatization, the root causes of burnout, and helps participants and agencies develop their own methods of self-care.

Other Trainings of Interest:

Addiction Medicine and Harm Reduction Psychiatry

Mental Health and Substance Use 101 for Non-clinical Staff

Working with Families and Friends of People with Substance Use Problems