The Significance of Culture in Diagnosing and Treating Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders

Anthony Polizzi, LPC, LCADC, CCS

Course Description:
The DSM-5 highlights the significance of culture in diagnosing all mental disorders. There is a cultural effect regarding addictions (risk factors, beliefs/ understanding of addiction as a disease, views towards treatment, impact on life areas that are culturally influenced). All clinicians benefit from examining the role of culture in their counseling, as well as their own cultural influences and biases. Through the use of lecture, individual/small group exercises, and sharing of personal case experiences, participants will examine the significance of cultural influences on norms, beliefs, values and biases, the benefits of cultural reciprocity (vs ethnocentricity) and the impact of culture on addictions mental health and the role of the professional, in light of the DSM-5 mandates.

Participants will be able to:

  1. Recognize the impact of cultural factors in diagnosing and treating substance use and mental health disorders
  2. List the stages of development of cultural perspective
  3. Identify personal biases as they relate to cultural norms and values
  4. Recognize ethical considerations and benefits of embracing multiple cultural perspectives in terms of personal and professional growth

Presenter Biography:

Anthony Polizzi is a licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC), licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Certified Supervisor. He has been a clinician and teacher for more than 15 years, and a full-time trainer for the past 12 years. Mr. Polizzi’s area of expertise is working with individuals experiencing symptoms of substance use and other co-occurring mental health disorders, often within specific demographics (adolescents, older adults, criminal justice population, and others).

Location: Raritan Valley Community College, 118 Lamington Road, Branchburg, NJ
Date:   October 19, 2018        Time: 9:00am-3:30pm
Registration and continental breakfast will take place between 9:00-9:30a.m.
The workshop will begin promptly at 9:30a.m.


9:30 – 10:00am Welcome and Introduction
Defining elements of culture
10:00 – 11:00am Stages of Development of Cultural Perspective
11:00 – 11:05am Morning Break
11:05am – 12:15pm Personal biases and subjective learning as related to norms, values, bias, stereotypes, prejudices
12:15 – 1:00pm Lunch break
1:00 – 2:15pm Cultural Genogram Exercise
2:15-2:20pm Afternoon Break
2:20 – 2:25pm Impact of culture in diagnosis and treatment
Ethics of culture in clinical settings
2:25 – 3:30pm Developing a clinical practice that considers cultural factors
Questions and Evaluation

Target Audience:  Social Workers, Counselors, and other mental health and substance use professionals. This course is appropriate for intermediate level participants.

Continuing Education Credits: FAMILYConnections, Provider #1252, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. FAMILYConnections maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB ACE Approval Period: 01/10/2017 – 01/10/2020. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. Social workers participating in this course will receive 5 social and cultural competency continuing education clock hours.

NJ Social Workers: An application has been submitted for consideration of 5 social and cultural competency CE credits for this course.

FAMILYConnections, Inc. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6604. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Counselors will receive 5 CE hours.

FAMILYConnections is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

In accordance with ASWB guidelines, all participants must sign in and sign out and complete a course evaluation in order to receive CE credits. Partial credit will not be given to those arriving late or leaving early.
Certificates will be awarded to participants after they have signed out at the completion of the course.

Directions & Parking Information: Detailed directions and information will be sent to registrants in a confirmation email.

Facilities: If you need accommodations for a disability, please contact Niki Stromko, Program Manager, at 973-323-3454 or by email at

Registration: Free registration will be open to staff of DMHAS-contracted mental health agencies and self-help centers until October 9, 2018. Cancellations must be made by October 15, 2018.

To register, please click here.

Grievances: Please contact Niki Stromko, Program Manager, at 973-323-3454 with any grievances. Please see attached Grievance Policy for more information.

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