Erie County Training Collaborative

The Erie County Department of Mental Health is delighted to host a monthly training series for anyone working in the system of care addressing mental health, substance use and intellectual/developmental disabilities. 

The Department has been working with representatives from the mental health, substance use and intellectual disability provider communities to identify opportunities to support agencies, staff and support the retention of staff who deliver vital services.

The trainings will take place the 4th Tuesday of each month from 12PM to 1PM. The sessions will take place in an online forum.

This will be a true community collaborative as we will be looking for presenters to volunteer to share their expertise with our community.

Upcoming Sessions

October 2021 session is October 26, 2021 from 12pm-1pm. The topic is "Co-Occurring Disorders Part II: Building Clinical Competencies to Provide Integrated Care.

Presented by: Lindsey Rickard, LMHC - Vice President of Training and Innovation and Catherine Maloney, LMHC - Director of Training and Innovation from BestSelf Behavioral Health.

This training will start with a brief review of co-occurring disorders, integrated care, and common barriers to providing care to co-occurring disorders. We will then move into a review of 5 competencies needed by clinicians to provide the best integrated care for co-occurring disorders and examples of how to provide training and support in identified competency areas.   

Click here to REGISTER


November 2021 session is November 23, 2021 from 12pm-1pm. The topic is "The Drama Triangle and Communicating with People with Personality Disorders."

Presented by: Christopher Frigon, LCSW, Senior Therapist from Horizon Health Services.

Working with difficult personalities in therapy presents many challenges for clinicians.  This training is designed to present the concept of the Drama Triangle as a map to begin understanding how to communicate professionally and effectively with individuals, couples, and family systems struggling with features of personality disorders.

Click here to REGISTER


There will not be a session in December. The training series will resume on January 25, 2022. 

Please check back to register for upcoming events!


Please share the training offerings with others in your organization and those who work in our Systems of Care!


Presentations and Materials from Past Sessions:

September 2021: "The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children's Brain Development."

Presented by: Peter S. Martin, MD, MPH, Director of the Division of Community Psychiatry and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University at Buffalo.

There are numerous deleterious effects that growing up in a violent and/or neglectful household can have on the development of youth.  In this presentation, there will be an overview of different regions of the brain that are negatively changed as a result of this exposure.  There will be an explanation of typical functioning of these various brain regions.  Subsequently, there will be an exploration of how these specifics changes in these areas as a result of exposure to violence can impact the functioning of youths, with different impacts depending on the stage of development.

August 2021: "Adapting to Our New Normal?"

Presenters: Esther Kaul, LMHC, and Lana Lal, LMHC. They are both Clinical Supervisors in the Counseling Services program at Child & Family Services.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our daily lives and our “business as usual” mentality which has forced us to make so many adjustments in our personal and professional lives.  These adjustments impacted us emotionally, physically, and mentally. Please join us to discuss and explore how to successfully transition out of the pandemic and create new routines, all while developing a new normal for ourselves, our families and the individuals we serve.  Our goal is to discuss the residual effects of the pandemic on providers as well as explore strategies for healthy coping and management. 

July 2021: "Co-Occurring Disorders: Prevalence, Challenges and Strategies."

Presented by: Jillian Warner-Dombrowski (MS, Master CASAC, Ph.D. Candidate), Co-Occurring Disorders Supervising Counselor at Transitional Services, Inc.

Jillian Warner-Dombrowski (MS, Master CASAC, Ph.D. Candidate), Co-Occurring Disorders Supervising Counselor at Transitional Services, Inc. reviews information on co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. This training includes current research about the prevalence of co-occurring disorders in behavioral health treatment settings. Commonly encountered disorders are briefly presented. Challenges with assessing co-occurring disorders, along with strategies for addressing identified challenges with clients are discussed. Finally, best practice strategies for providing services to individuals with co-occurring disorders are summarized.

June 2021: Lethal Means Reduction: The “How” of Suicide Prevention that Makes a Difference."

Presenters: Celia Spacone, PhD, Coordinator, Erie County Suicide Prevention Coalition and Katie Coric, LCSW, Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Veterans Administration WNY Healthcare System

Katie Coric, LCSW (VA WNY Healthcare System, Suicide Prevention Coordinator) and Celia Spacone, Ph.D. (Erie County Suicide Prevention Coalition Coordinator) review the latest information on suicide in Erie County and nationally with a focus on veterans, a particularly high-risk group. They describe the philosophy of ‘means reduction’ which focuses on the method one chooses to attempt to end one’s life. By working with clients to reduce access to the most lethal means as a part of safety planning, a reduction in the number of deaths by suicide is possible. Applications of this model and resources are discussed.

April (Part 1) & May (Part 2) 2021: "Understanding Vicarious Trauma… The Road to Resilience,” presented by Dr. Kirsten Vincent, CEO of Recovery Options Made Easy.  Choosing a career in a helping profession is an honorable decision and often those who choose it, bear the burden of other people’s trauma. Hearing trauma survivor's stories and witnessing traumatic events firsthand can affect advocates, health care professionals, police officers, lawyers, therapists, peers and others; it's called "vicarious trauma," and it can have a variety of negative effects. The toll of witnessing intense human experiences  and emotions can contribute to a negative transformation of a helper’s own sense of safety, and of being competent and purposeful. This workshop provides participants with the opportunity to examine their own experiences and become aware of the signs of both vicarious trauma and vicarious growth. Participants will have the opportunity to develop a personalized plan to repair negative effects, as well as, accelerate their resilience. 

March 2021 - "Clinical Education Training with a focus on Anxiety," presented by Dr. Rose Hazlitt, Psy.D and Dr. Michael Cummings, MD.     They presented a case study and lead a community conversation about anxiety. Participants walked away with a deeper understanding of how to support people who experience anxiety and had an opportunity to share strategies of their own that have been successful. 

January (Part I) & February (Part II) 2021 - "Working with Survivors of Abuse," presented by Mark O'Brien, Commissioner of the Erie County Department of Health.     Mark shared his knowledge and insight in working with survivors of abuse; primarily sexual abuse, but also touched on physical and emotional abuse. This training is appropriate for anyone who is working with survivors of abuse and was not limited to just clinical staff.