Getting the Shame out of Substance Misuse

3.5 CE Credits - $70

Instructor: Tobin Shelton, LCSW, MPH

Course Description

Clinicians offer support to people in the context of a co-created therapeutic relationship. Through this relationship, we build trust and movement towards healing emerges. It is inevitable that we bring our lived experience and beliefs into our work and we can sometimes notice our own impatience, ambivalence or, even shame.

Our work with people who use alcohol and other drugs can be rewarding as well as challenging. This course combines concepts from relational Gestalt psychotherapy and the values of harm reduction to hone our practical skills and embody confidence. This course is a mix of lecture and discussion. We will have frank conversations about how our attitudes, beliefs and behaviors around drugs and alcohol find their way into our work and what we can do to best serve our clients.

Elevate You CE is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Elevate You CE maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

The great news is that most states allow Licensed Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists to gain credits from APA approved sponsors. If you are unsure if your state does, just reach out and we will let you know.

Educational Objectives

  1. Identify 3 types of harm reduction services. Apply the values of harm reduction and their application to psychotherapy.
  2. Describe the role of clinician self-care, shame, and lived experience in our work with people who use alcohol and other drugs.
  3. Compare and differentiate between ways that we “help” and ways we “support.”
  4. Create 2 personalized tools to support ourselves in our work with individuals and families affected by substance use.


First Half:

  • Addiction and substance use: critical historical perspective, defining terms around substance use and human
    experience, brief epidemiological overview.
  • 15 minute break
  • Harm reduction as a clinical orientation, a social justice movement and a set of values.

Second Half:

  • How our lived experience supports and challenges our capacity to serve our clients (shame versus guilt, help versus support, safer versus less safe).
  • 15 minute break
  • Developing a clinical orientation and dialogic tools to fit each person, each moment. How to use the resources of the “field” to support healing.

Developed by Tobin Shelton, LCSW, MHP and Oliver Ross, PsyD

Learn More

Course Dates

Tobin Shelton

Instructor Bio