Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 7:30 AM EDT
Friday, October 5, 2018 at 5:00 PM EDT 

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Lake Morey Resort 
One Clubhouse Road
Fairlee, VT 05045

Driving Directions 


John Caceres 
Valley Vista 
802-222-5201 x327 

We are proud to present the
13th Annual Vermont Conference on Addictive Disorders 

Innovation to Empower Recovery:
Beyond 12-Steps

Using evidenced-based treatment models 
to meet unique patient needs

October 4th-5th, 2018, Lake Morey Resort 

Click here to view full
2018 Vermont Conference on Addictive Disorders
Program and Schedule


Keynote Speakers 

Robert Schwebel, Ph.D.

Robert Schwebel, Ph.D., is a psychologist who wrote and developed The Seven Challenges Program for adolescents and young adults, now widely used across the United States, and in Canada and Germany. More recently he wrote Leap of Power: Take Control of Alcohol, Drugs, and Your Life for the public and Challenging Yourself, the adult version of The Seven Challenges for Adults.  He has worked in the field of mental health and drug counseling for more than 40 years and is the author of several books including Saying No Is Not Enough; Keep Your Kids Tobacco-Free; and Who’s on Top, Who’s on Bottom: How Couples Can Learn to Share Power.  He has appeared on the Oprah Show, The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, CNN interviews and other national media. He contributes articles to thefix.com and pro-talk at rehabs.com.

Richard A. Rawson, Ph.D.

Richard Rawson is a research professor at the University of Vermont and a professor emeritus in the UCLA School of Medicine.  Dr. Rawson has a 40+  year career in the field of addiction research, teaching and system development.  He conducted research on a broad range of addiction-related topics.  He co-founded a community non-profit organization in Los Angeles, which provided treatment for over 20,000 individuals over the past 30 years.  He has worked with NIDA, SAMHSA, the US State Department, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime on international substance abuse research and training projects.   He has recently completed an evaluation of the Vermont Hub and Spoke model of care for opioid addiction and is currently assisting California with the implementation of this model.  Dr. Rawson has published 6 books, 40 book chapters and over 240 professional papers and annually conducts numerous workshops, paper presentations and training sessions.

Breakout Session Leaders Include:

Robert Schwebel, PH.D. 

As innovator, developer and lead trainer of the Seven Challenges, Robert will provide insight Skill Building and the Six Stages of Mastering Counseling in his first workshop. During his second workshop, he will provide clinicians with insight on how tro recognize oppressive self-talk, challenge it and fight it. 

Mike Panico, M.S., LPC 

Mike is a trainer with The Seven Challenges, LLC and also provides ongoing support and consultation with agencies implementing the Program.  Mike has collaborated closely with the developer of The Seven Challenges for over twelve years and is also the lead trainer for The Seven Challenges – Brief (Brief Challenges.)  In addition to his role with training in The Seven Challenges, LLC, Mike is also the Associate Clinical Director for Pathways of Arizona – an agency that provides the Program for both adolescents and adults.  His previous experience includes clinical supervision of campus and community-based residential treatment programs as well as development and oversight of a substance abuse treatment residential and outpatient step-down program.  Additionally, Mike has been a Cornell University professional level trainer in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention since 1996. 

Susan Smiga, MD 

Susan serves as the Medical Director and Director of Psychiatric Services at Valley Vista. Susan trained in a combined pediatric and psychiatry residency from 1987-1992 at Tufts University, New England Medical Center and is board certified in both general psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry.  Susan earned Medical Doctorate at Stanford University School of Medicine and her BA in biopsychology at Vassar College. She participated in various research fellowships at the University of California, San Francisco. Susan came to the Upper Valley in 2008 when she was appointed to the Department of Psychiatry’s Medical Staff at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and joined the Valley Vista team in April 2015.  She serves as adjunct clinical faculty at Dartmouth School of Medicine and in her role as Director of Psychiatric Services provides psychiatric oversight of all clinical programs as well as direct service to the women and adolescents admitted to Valley Vista.  Susan is trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and holds a strong belief in strengthening mental health as an essential component towards wellness and enduring recovery.

Nicole Mitchell, MA, LADC, CATP, RYT 

Nicole has been a long time member of the clinical staff at Valley Vista. Currently, Nicole serves as the Program Director at the Valley Vista Young Adult Program in Bradford. In addition to serving as the current program director, Nicole has also served as a Primary Therapist on the Women's and Adolescent units, Assistant Director on the Women's unit as well as program director. Prior to Nicole's current role, she worked as a Lead Therapist in the Transitional Living Program at Sovereign Journey. Nicole has also worked with the Becket Schools milieu and in supervisory roles. She received her Masters at Dartmouth College and earned her BA in psychology from Plymouth State University. Nicole is Seven Challenges certified as both a clinician and trainer of the innovative treatment model. Nicole is a certified yoga instructor focusing on trauma and addiction.

Patrick Ely, M.Ed., CRC 

Patrick serves as a Primary Therapist in Training on the Men's unit at Valley Vista. He has also served as a Recovery Specialist supporting young adults. Patrick has more than twenty years of experience working with at-risk youth throughout most of New England. He has developed programs for at-risk youth in Maine and Vermont. Additionally, Patrick has served in leadership roles across Vermont and has regularly facilitated workshops in Servant Leadership. His clinical specialty is in mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention and has trained under Sharon Salzberg, of the Insight Meditation society. Patrick earned his Master’s Degree in Leadership at Plymouth State University. He is a graduate of the University of Vermont’s Snelling Center for Leadership, serves as a Vermont Certified Recovery Coach, and is a Certified SMART Recovery facilitator.

Click here to view the full Conference program and schedule

Special thanks to our sponsors for this year's conference!

Gold Sponsor:

Bronze Sponsors:



October is a wonderful time of year in Vermont featuring specatular fall foliage and mild weather. We hope that you'll join us for this year's Conference providing valuable insight on innovations in recovery that will empower not only patients, but the practitioner as well.