Professional Education

Continuing Education Workshops for Therapists, Counselors, and Mental Health Professionals

Skyland Trail offers continuing education workshops for mental health professionals throughout the the year. Professional workshops for therapists, counselors and other mental health professionals feature Skyland Trail clinicians as well as mental health clinicians from the community. Mental health workshops focus on best practices for treating mood, thought and anxiety disorders as well as topics related ethics, telemental health and professional self care.

For questions about continuing education workshops, please contact Molly Mercer-Deadman at

Upcoming Workshops

Understanding the Neuroscience of the Continuum for Substance Use Disorders and Recovery (Webinar)

Thursday, June 15, 2023
4:00  – 7:00 p.m. Eastern

In 2023, the DSM 5 describes addictive disorders as substance use disorders. This presentation will present the latest pharmacological research to cover such topics as reward circuits, the role of dopamine, the stress response, allostasis, psychological drug tolerance, and the new information on why individuals who have a substance use disorder do not seek help and how treatment dynamics improve the brain’s neurochemistry in recovery.

A substance use disorder involves the progression of acute drug use to the development of drug-seeking behavior, the vulnerability to relapse, and the decreased, slowed ability to respond to naturally rewarding stimuli. Dr. George Koob, Director of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has categorized the three stages of addiction: preoccupation/anticipation, binge/intoxication, and withdrawal/negative affect. These stages are characterized, respectively, everywhere by constant cravings and preoccupation with obtaining the substance; using more of the substance than necessary to experience the intoxicating effects and alternating mood disturbances; then experiencing tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, and decreased motivation for normal life activities as a result of depression and anxiety disorders. Behavioral treatments create stabilization and recovery from the effects of substance use disorders. All of these terms and specific treatment options will be explained in this presentation.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss how substance use disorders cause a depletion of the human bonding system-the dynorphins and oxytocin.
  • Explain the reward brain system and the anti-reward brain system, which result in mood disturbances.
  • Describe how alcohol, benzodiazepines, and marijuana change the brain’s chemistry and alter mood stabilization.
  • Recognize how the use of behavioral interventions can help brain chemistry recover from substance use.

Continuing Education
Approved for 3 CE credit hours with the American Psychological Association, New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work, New York Education Department for Licensed Mental Health Counselors, New York State Education Department's State Board for Psychology, New York State Education Department's State Board for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Cost: $60.00


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Merrill A. Norton, Pharm. D., D.Ph., CMAC

Dr. Merrill Norton is an EMMY-winning Clinical Associate Professor Emeritus of the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy with his specialty areas including psychopharmacology and addiction pharmacy. He was most recently honored by the Georgia Addiction Counselors Association’s Board of Directors and Certification Board with being bestowed the first Certified Master Addiction Counselor (CMAC) credential in the state. His recently updated book, "Understanding Substance Use Disorders Pharmacology," has been used to train thousands of mental health professionals nationally and his latest book, "The Pharmacist’s Guide to Opioid Use Disorders" was released in December 2018.

Dr. Norton completed his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy. He accomplished a three-year addiction medicine fellowship under the direction of Douglas Talbott, MD, at Ridgeview Institute and has state, national, and international credentials in the treatment of mentally ill/addicted/chronic pain individuals. He has also been a faculty member of the Fairleigh-Dickinson University Postdoctoral Training Program in the Masters of Psychopharmacology, Alliant International University of San Francisco College of Psychology, University of Georgia School of Continuing Education, and Berry College in the areas of Psychopharmacology and Addiction Pharmacy. His areas of specialty in addiction pharmacy are the management of chronic pain in substance use disordered patient and the neuroscience of substance use disorders.

Since his recent retirement from UGA, Dr. Norton’s primary focus is to provide the latest scientific information to communities, educators, healthcare professionals, prevention specialists, treatment providers, and especially families, on the diseases of substance use disorders.

Previously Recorded Education Events

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