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Somerset Hunterdon Warren Psychological Association

Treating Dual Diagnosis Adolescents and Young Adults in Private Practice: Clinical Challenges and Considerations

  • Friday, December 08, 2023
  • 9:45 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Live Zoom Webinar


Registration is closed

Somerset, Hunterdon, & Warren Psychological Association (SHWPA)

Loraine J. Washton, Ph.D. 


“Treating Dual Diagnosis Adolescents and Young Adults in Private Practice: Clinical Challenges and Considerations”

 Friday, December 8, 2023 9:45 Welcome, Program 10 AM – 12 PM (Break 11-11:05)                                                            

      Live Zoom Webinar / 2 Continuing Education Credits 

  (Includes 1 Credit for Opioid Education)

Dr. Loraine J Washton, Ph.D., is Co-Founder of The Washton Group, providing substance abuse treatment for families, professionals, and executives. Dr. Washton’s career in clinical and addiction psychology has included working with highly diverse patient populations and a broad spectrum of individuals, in both institutional and private practice settings.

Program Content: Treating young people affected by a combination of substance use and mental health disorders (“dual diagnosis”) poses many difficult challenges for the solo private practitioner. It involves the complex task of engaging, motivating, and guiding both the primary patient and family members with a keen sense of timing and careful choice of interventions. It also involves a good deal of trial, error, and “on the fly” adjustments. Using psychotherapeutic approach that incorporates psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, pharmacological, and other techniques are used to engender both immediate and lasting changes in behavior and styles of interaction. Questions about how to prioritize substance use vs. mental health issues are vital and may differ significantly from one case to the next. There are both advantages and disadvantages to treating these cases in private practice as compared to doing so in specialized programs. 

This presentation will discuss clinical and practical considerations involved in treating dual diagnosis adolescents and young adults in a private psychology practice. The patient cohort for this talk consists of teenagers and young adults (ages 15-30), mainly from “high functioning” families in which one or both parents are gainfully employed and in many cases are professionals or executives. The presenting substance use issues most commonly alcohol and/or marijuana, but in some cases opioids, psychedelics, and various other psychoactive substances. The presenting mental health issues in this cohort typically include anxiety, depression, bipolar, and personality disorders, but with few exceptions not psychotic illness (except for temporary drug induced psychoses) or other chronic debilitating psychiatric disorders. 

This presentation will address some of the most challenging issues that private mental health therapists face when trying to help these patients, including, but not limited to: How do you engage young people who are literally being “dragged” by their parents into treatment? How do you develop initial rapport and trust with the primary patient that allows the therapy to get started, including trusting you enough to communicate directly with their parents? How do you help them develop their own personal agenda and goals for the therapy even if it conflicts with what their parents want? How do you address underage alcohol and marijuana use? What is the role of pharmacological treatments for SUDs including medications such as Antabuse, naltrexone, and Buprenorphine? How do you help parents take a step back, relinquish some control, and accept your guidance and suggestions? How do you respond to emergencies and crises? 

This workshop will focus on nut-and-bolts practical and clinical issues using a combination of lecture material highlighted by case examples from the presenter’s private practice. 

Learning Objectives Participants who attend this workshop will be able to:

  1. Describe the most common dilemmas that private practitioners (therapists) face when treating “dual diagnosis” adolescents and young adults.

  2. List the substances most commonly used by these individuals and most important differences in how to approach these issues.

  3. Describe the basic tenets that can help to simultaneously engage and retain the primary patient and significant others to keep the therapeutic process moving forward. 

Instruction Level: Intermediate

ADA Accommodations available upon written request by emailing, no later than Tuesday November 28, 2023

SHWPA Program Fee: SHWPA Member $55, Non SHWPA Member $65, Students $15. Online registration and payment can be made at, OR by mailing a check payable to SHWPA and mailed to Tracy Menzie P.O. Box 644 Lebanon, NJ 08833. Please note – registration for this program will close on Monday December 4, 2023.

NJPA Continuing Education Credits/Administrative Fee for 2 credits (a separate fee paid to NJPA), paid online after the completion of the program. NJPA Administrative Fees: Sustaining Member – Free, NJPA Member $15, Non-NJPA Member - $25. The NJPA LINK will be provided to registrants during the program. 

Contact: Virginia Walters, Psy.D., Program Chair of SHWPA – 908-438-3456-X8 /

This workshop is co-sponsored by NJPA and SHWPA. NJPA is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. NJPA maintains responsibility for the program and its content. 


The Somerset Hunterdon Psychological Association. All Rights Reserved. 

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