Episode 132​

Normally, when I make an announcement it’s a brief thing. Perhaps a few sentences and then we move onto the main topic. However, today is a little different. My announcement needed some more context, so today’s episode is going to do just that. 

When I started on this podcasting journey in 2020, I knew that someday I wanted to create a program, a course, to teach therapists what I felt they needed to know about substance use. I sketched out the pieces I felt were important. I thought about how many weeks it would be and how I would deliver it. Then I thought about how I could get people to know who I am and how to help provide solid information for colleagues. The podcast was born during that time. 

Having bite size episodes on various topics is great, but it ‘s not quite enough to help therapists take the leap to work with substance use. We need something more. We need information, practical application and some guidance. I’m beyond excited to share my group program Charting the Course with you. Today, I’ll share the details with you on the podcast. 


Welcome back to the All Things Substance podcast. This is episode 132. Today I have an announcement that I wanna make. Usually an announcement is a couple sentences and easily read or spoken. Today though I wanna do a little more than just speak a few sentences.

I want to announce the opening of Charting the Course.  It’s  something that I’ve been working on and dreaming up for the last couple of years.

Charting the course is a six week  live taught program that is designed to give you everything you need in order to work with substance use, feeling competent and confident when you do so. 

One of my great joys in my career has been working with therapists and helping them feel more confident working with substance use. It is a passion of mine and something that I dearly missed when I moved into private practice. I loved being able to spend supervision time in my office, hearing cases, talking about options, and helping the therapist plan their interventions, and what they were gonna do next.

I truly believe that people can have a relationship with substances that is healthy and fun. For people who struggle with substance use and are using in a problematic way, or even moved into addiction, it’s no longer fun and it’s no longer healthy.

Our goal as therapists is to help our clients move into the life that they want. If your clients are struggling with substance use and you find yourself not knowing what to do about it, this is the course for you. 

This is not a course that is built to help you certify to become a substance use counselor. This course is not meant to teach you to specialize in substance use. This is meant for mental health therapists with a mental health graduate school background who maybe had some training in substance use, but they feel as though they need more information to feel more confident.

There are a lot of courses on the internet about substance use.  You can go to any of the people who are doing continuing ed credits and find substance use courses. If you just needed credit hours in substance use, those would be fine. However, it’s hard to know what you need to know.

Even some of the more comprehensive courses I saw are so full that I don’t know how you would have time to listen and watch all of it, let alone retain it, and a lot of that information isn’t gonna be necessary. Your job as an outpatient mental health therapist is pretty specific. I’ve been doing the job of an outpatient mental health therapist for approximately 15 years. I know what it is that you do day-to-day. I also know the kind of substance use issues that come up in outpatient mental health. 

I am primarily a mental health therapist. Yes, I am a substance use counselor, and I’m also a person in recovery. My training and my heart though, RN mental health therapy.

Over the years, I ended up figuring out what therapists need to know in order to work with substance use.  It’s not everything. There are some things that you need to know, the skills however, you just need to know how to translate them because your skills are good enough. You have enough of them.

I can show you how to use your skills to work with substance use, I can give you the information that you need in order to assess, make recommendations, make a plan for treatment, and how to implement that treatment. 

The things that I have included in the six week course. Are meant to cover what you need to do the work. This is not getting into the minutia of becoming a substance use counselor. This is not meant to handle high level substance use. High level substance use needs a specialist. 

I would not advise anyone who wasn’t specializing to be dealing with things like heroin and meth. Those need something bigger. The majority of the folks that make it to mental health therapy are gonna be in a place with their substance use that you can handle. 

I know how much I have hated it when I have had to change providers, whether it be medical or dental or behavioral health. When I find someone I like, I want to stay with them. What I wanna do is teach you how to work with substance use so that you don’t have to refer out.

Charting the course is about planning the way through. I wanna help you figure out how to navigate substance use in a way that’s gonna feel really authentic to you and be really helpful for your clients.

Over the last couple of years, I have noticed that I have a number of listeners in the UK and across Europe, and a number of you in Australia. The program this summer would work well for those in the United States and probably for  who are in Australia and New Zealand. 

It’s those of you in Europe that are gonna have a hard time attending this program. I want you to know that I am open to doing a second cohort just for those of you in Europe. If there was enough interest, I would be happy to do it. I know that sometimes it can be hard when things are coming out of the US and it happens when you’re sleeping at 3:00 AM.

I want you to know that I see you and that I think about you whenever it is that I’m gonna be putting something together.

In fact, in a couple weeks I’m gonna be hosting a webinar in the middle of the day in the US,  which will be about five o’clock for those of you  in Ireland, in the UK, and even later for those of you who are further into Europe. If you live in that area and have interest in Charting the Course, please feel free to let me know. I will create an interest list and would love to be able to spend time with you.

So let me tell you about the course. In module one, we’ll talk about evaluating our scope of practice, the statutes that dictate what we can and can’t do, and we’ll talk about the governing bodies of our field and how they feel about substance use. I will be taking time to get to know you, to know your practice and your theoretical orientation. I wanna understand why you chose the license that you have, the way you like to practice and what you’re hoping to do with your clients.  

In module two,  which I call addiction two oh one is deepening your knowledge beyond just the basics to help you understand the cycle of addiction, the role of brain science, and the impact on therapy.

In module three, we’re gonna talk about popular substances. We’re gonna explore current substances and mental health trends, to sharpen your knowledge and keep your practice relevant. 

In module four, we’re gonna learn about screening and assessment of substance use, we’re gonna talk about what clients’ answers mean, identifying potential roadblocks and making sure that we’ve gotten all the information that is necessary to make a good recommendation.

In module five, we’ll talk about how to make a care plan. There are distinct levels of care that clients will fall into based on our assessment.  I will show you how to apply the information we got in module four to make the best recommendation that you can for your clients and also to plan for the treatment that you are going to be doing. 

And then in module six, we’re gonna put it all together. We’re gonna integrate course information with your current skillset and theoretical approach. You can work with your clients without having to specialize or learn a new modality. I firmly believe that what you need is information and a little guidance.

During the program, we will be checking in in our Voxer group. Voxer is an excellent free app where you can text or leave voice messages, asking questions, commenting on things, and bringing up potential issues that you come across. You can use the group as much as you wish or not at all. It is simply a place for us as a cohort  to communicate with each other and to share information. 

I normally am pretty averse to adding more things to do. However, I love Voxer groups.  In the coming weeks, you’ll be getting an email about vaxxer groups, and I will talk a little more about why this is so important.

The course itself is held on Tuesday evenings.  It runs for six weeks consecutively starting on July 11th. If you need to miss a night, the replay will be up the next day. You’re also gonna have lifetime access to the replays in case you wanna go back and look at something later. Additionally, in our course room, there will be the resource vault where I will have different things that I’ve created to help along the way.

Once the main program is over, I’m gonna be sticking around for six months to help with follow up. We will have monthly group consultation calls that you can attend or not as you wish. But it is a place for you to bring up real cases and get real feedback from me about what you wanna do next. 

I wanted to include consultation for a good amount of time after the program’s over. What I know is that when I go to a training, I need to use the information pretty quickly or else it goes away. I can’t tell you the number of trainings I had been to where my notes from the training were in a drawer and I wanted to get to them, but things just got busy.

I have built this course from the ground up based on the last 20 years of doing this work from a therapist, for therapists, from a person in recovery to those who are helping others find their way. I want to share with you what I feel you need to know.

Charting the Course is built to be specific about what it is you need to know, research based, practical and an open learning space where you can be yourself and share whatever it is that you would like to know or things you have questions about. , I am all about authenticity and being as genuine as we can.

My goal with this course is not to enroll tons of people. I want it to be something where your voice gets heard. And your clients can be discussed in a HIPAA-compliant way. Of course.

Because of my desire to be as available as possible and to make sure that everyone can be heard. I’m limiting spots. To, I’m limiting the number of spots from 8 to 10. This way, with a max of 10 people, you can rest assured that you will have my attention.

As we walk through this course, it is the first time I’m delivering it.  You will have a chance to share with me what you need and give me feedback on things that you would want to be done differently and extra things that you would like. This isn’t my first time teaching, of course, as I’ve been doing that for many, many years. 

What I did was put together all of the information that you need and I wanna do it in a live taught course. I could easily record modules and put them out there, and someday I may. But for now, what I really want is to interact with you as a therapist, as a person in my course, with whatever it is that’s happening in your life and in your practice, because that will impact how this information works, and what you do with it.

The summer tends to be a time of slowdown,  and I am hoping that you will take advantage of that time and come join me inside Charting the Course. We are gonna spend six weeks learning with each other. We are gonna have a private Voxer group where you have access to me and to each other and you can engage as much or as little as you wish.

You’ll be provided with replays the very next day after our evening together. There will be resources in our course room for you as well. When our group time is over, you will have six months of follow up consultation in order to pop in and ask questions about your very real situations.

If you don’t wanna wait till consultation time,  you can always ask your questions in that private group during that six month period. Your mastery of the information is important to me. It is my desire for everyone to feel confident and competent in their ability to address substance use. I want you to imagine what it would be like if somebody came into your office, talked about their alcohol use, and you felt confident that you knew what to do. That is what we’re after and what Charting the Course can bring you. 

So this is my announcement: the registration doors are open and they’ll be open for several weeks. I didn’t wanna have a short registration window for a few reasons.

One-I can’t stand it when people pressure me. Two- want you to have a chance to make a wise decision for yourself. Three-I want the people who join us in our small cohort to be ready, to be there, and feel confident  in their decision to join the program.

The course gets underway on July 11th. Head over to betsybyler.com/course to check out the details on Charting the Course. If you wanna talk with me personally about the program, you can feel free to email me at betsy@betsybyler.com. Or in a couple of weeks I will have a day set aside with Zoom appointments where you can meet with me to talk about the program and ask questions. I will be sending more information as soon as the details for that day are finalized.

I am so excited  to run this program this summer. I am excited to see people feeling more confident in their ability to do this kind of work. When people are able to get their substance use in its right place in their life, it opens doors and brings freedom in a way  that I can’t accurately describe.

Thank you again for listening to the podcast, for reading the emails that I sent and for attending the webinars that I’ve put together. I am so looking forward to seeing who joins, charting the course this summer. Will it be you? I hope so. Until next time. Have a great week. 

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guests are rendering legal, clinical or any other professional information.

Checkout the details at betsybyler.com/course