Special Topics

Special Topic 1- Monday: Federal Healthcare Legislation Revisited: What has it Meant to Rural America?

Faculty: Charlie Williams, CEAP, CPP, M.H.S., Pinehurst, North Carolina

When new Federal laws are passed, does anything really change? This special topic will provide updates and discussion on the implementation of recent health care legislation and implications for Rural Americans and Rural Providers of healthcare and behavioral health care services. This presentation will provide a review of the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of in June 2012. In addition, a review of the impact of Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, (Parity Act) will be provided. The history and importance of Federal legislation to the addictions field will also be reviewed including the Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Act of 1970 signed by President Richard M. Nixon also known as the Hughes Act.

The Hughes Act recognized alcohol abuse and alcoholism as a major public health problem. Forty years later Congress passed the PPACA, informally referred to as Obamacare. Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, it represents the most significant regulatory overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. Adoption of the Parity Act was hailed as a “great civil rights victory” by Mental Health America marking the end of a decade-long struggle to ensure parity for mental illnesses and addiction.

Special Topic 2- Monday: Process Addictions

Faculty: Kirk Moberg, MD, PhD, FACPE, Peoria, Illinois

Process Addiction are problematic behaviors, that do not involve addictive drugs, such as gambling, spending, sex, eating, etc. The similarity of these behaviors to "chemical" addictions is becoming much more appreciated as time goes on. Participants in this session will discuss the process addictions focussing on what is known and, just as importantly, what is not known about these disease processes.
Participants will:

  • Be exposed to common (and maybe not so common) process addictions,
  • Discuss some of the treatment strategies for the common process addictions and how these differ from strategies for the chemical addictions, both philosophically and practically
  • Discuss the dilemma of labeling too many behaviors addictions and how this might trivialize the term "addiction."

Special Topic 3- Monday: Ethics and Understanding Your Worldview: Parenting Classes for Drug Court Participants

Faculty: Carolyn Lincoln, D.Min., MHSC, RN, CDAAC, RAS, Virginia Beach, Virginia

The purpose of this workshop is to provide cognitive, motivational tools for drug treatment teams to promote parental education and advocacy.  Treatment teams will enhance their knowledge, skills base in the assistance of drug court participants with the identification of 'self' as the primary individual who will model positive behaviors, build healthy supportive family structures and relationships. The expected client results will be; personal accountability of each family member beginning with self.  The evidence-based process will be accomplished by the measurement of the following goals and objectives: 

  • Goal 1:  Positive parental communication and interaction within a healthy family.
  • Objective:  Identify the structure of family boundaries through distinguishing healthy support systems and relationships.
  • Goal 2:  Establish family 'worldview' and goals.
  • Objectives:  Identify foundational ethics upon which to structure worldview by integrating ethics and character as the foundational tenets of cognitive behavior.
  • Goal 3:  Promote parental/familial self-healing through addressing issues of 'abandonment'.
  • Objectives:  Discuss the stages of 'Grief and Loss' through reference to the perceptive 'stages' of family and drug court participant's experiences of loss time due to incarceration and/or drug usage.

Special Topic 4- Monday: The State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Public Forum

Faculty: Norman Briggs, MEd, Madison, Wisconsin
Roger Frings, Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, Madison WI

This public forum is an opportunity for the state council representatives to gather input from the general public and conference participants for directions on utilization of the Substance Abuse Block Grant funds and programmatic changes

Addition-Special Topic 13- MONDAY- Gambling Certification Track Extension

Faculty: Doug LaBelle, LCSW, NCGC II, Kenosha, Wisconsin
Paul Mladnick, LMFT, NCGC II, Forest Lake, Minnesota

For those who have signed up for Track 11-Treatment for Compulsive Gambling: Phase I and seeking the Wisconsin Council Certification requirements, this special topic is required. This extension was created to provide attendees with the 15 hours of training that is the phase I training sponsored by the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling. This specific special topic is only necessary if working toward the Wisconsin Council Certification.

Special Topic 5- Tuesday: Stress and Coping for Healthcare Professionals: A New Skillset for the 21st Century

Faculty: David Benzer, DO, Fifty Lakes, Minnesota
Faculty: Robin Benzer, Reiki Master, Fifty Lakes, Minnesota (Presenter cancellation-Robin will no longer be co-presenting)

The stress of providing healthcare services has the potential to steadily erode the well-being of the provider. This presentation will examine the stressors that challenge the healthcare provider as well as the consequences to mind, body and spirit that may accrue if coping skills are inadequate. The majority of the presentation will focus on strategies to maintain optimal health. Among those featured will be exercise, nutrition and self-healing using an easy to learn energy-healing technique. While the focus will be on healthcare provider well-being, all techniques and recommendations are also applicable to the clients and patients the professionals serve.

Special Topic 6- Tuesday: Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programming

Faculty: Thomas Ritchie, CSAC, CSW, ICS, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Participants in this session will learn specific strategies to design, market, and implement effective adolescent outpatient treatment services in their communities. Participants will also learn appropriate interventions, different therapeutic approaches with adolescents, and about implementing evidence based practices. Participants will learn about increasing family engagement in the treatment process through the admission process to discharge. Participants will learn techniques to better coordinate care with other providers.

Discussion of issues will include: drug testing, treatment expectations, pitfalls to avoid, and building therapeutic alliance with clients, and families.

Special Topic 7- Tuesday: Drum Circle Teaching for Sobriety

Faculty: Don Karsky, former-LADC, St .Croix Falls, Wisconsin

Drum Circle Teaching for Sobriety is a self-rewarding tactile activity one can perform either alone or with a group. It is a mode of expression, providing both release from and connection to forces greater than one's self.

Special Topic 8- Tuesday: Yoga in Recovery

Faculty: Julie Karsky, Yoga Instructor, St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin

The physical practice of yoga has become fashionable with pictures of models in seemingly pretzel-like, cumbersome contortions. The true practice of yoga is an inner journey of connecting breath, body, mind and spirit. We begin this inner journey with a formal breathing exercise. As we calm and center our breath, we move into basic yoga postures, always following our breath as our inner teacher. Participants will be encouraged to recognize the relationship between their physical limitations, their breath and their level of stress.

Special Topic 9- Wednesday: What's New in Addiction Medicine?

Faculty: Kirk Moberg, MD, PhD, FACPE, Peoria, Illinois

Addiction Medicine is a field that continues to evolve and progress. Participants in this session will discuss particularly noteworthy developments in the field whether they be so because they are newsworthy or because of their scientific and clinical import.
Session participants will be:

  • Exposed to new developments in the field of addiction medicine
  • Have the opportunity to learn from the experience of other members in the session
  • Acquire some "clinical pearls" that will facilitate patient care


Special Topic 10- Wednesday: Pain Pill Addiction: A 21st Century Healthcare Crisis Demystified

Faculty: David Benzer, DO, Fifty Lakes, Minnesota

In the past decade, Americans have increased their consumption of oral narcotic analgesics fourfold. This has led to a crisis in healthcare, social welfare, and the criminal justice systems. This presentation will trace the evolution of this epidemic beginning in the 1980’s when physicians were somewhat reluctant to prescribe oral opioids except in situations of true need. In the 1990’s, prescribing attitudes began to change with the introduction of the term “pseudoaddiction”, coined to describe drug-seeking behavior motivated not by an addictive diathesis but rather by an inadequate dose of narcotics. Physicians now were encouraged to freely prescribe these controlled substance, and they did. By the 21st century, Americans were consuming over 80% of the world’s supply of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. This presentation will examine the interface of science, research, patient care, medical education, and Pharmaceutical marketing where this epidemic gained its footing.

CANCELLED-Special Topic 11- Wednesday: Energy Medicine:  Clinical Applications of Energy Medicine, Reiki Therapy

Faculty: Robin Benzer, Reiki Master, Fifty Lakes, Minnesota

Special Topic 12- Wednesday: Drug Court Team Approach

Faculty: Paul Parkinson, Attorney, Macon, Missouri

This special topic will examine the use of nontraditional team members such as community members and drug court graduates, and how using such team members can benefit your drug court. We will also look at the ethical issues surrounding the use of nontraditional team members.

Special Topic 14-Wednesday: The ACA, Peer Delivered Services & E-Tools To Strengthen Recovery, Resiliency and Wellness (previously a part of the Healthcare Legislation and its Impact on Rural Communities Track)

Faculty: Sue Bergeson, National VP of Consumer Affairs, Optum Health

This special topic will provide important information, opportunities and resources available on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its impact on rural communities, particularly re-framing treatment around recovery, resiliency, wellness and well-being, using trained peers, and enhancing engagement through e-tools has significantly reduced hospitalization rates within behavioral health.