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Psychotherapy and Cannabis

Cannabis competence for outpatient mental health providers in Illinois.

3 CEUs for Illinois LSW/LCSW and LPC/LCPC

Is your clinical practice ready for cannabis legalization?

If you're a mental health provider in Illinois, you're not alone if you feel unprepared. None of us received professional training in school for this landmark moment. Google searches provide unreliable answers. Meanwhile, clients come to you with hopes, fears, and myths about cannabis. It makes sense if you're wondering how this will affect your psychotherapy practice.


Your clients are asking questions. You want answers.


I'm a therapist like you. I know that you're...

TOO BUSY TO DO HOURS AND HOURS OF RESEARCH. You're dedicated to providing excellent service to clients, which means the majority of your time is spent in direct clinical care. If you have 5 minutes between sessions, you can do a quick google search, but the results are limited and biased (at best). You want to know exactly what the evidence says about cannabis without spending weeks combing through the literature.

WORRIED ABOUT THE IMPACT OF CANNABIS LEGALIZATION. Unlike cigarettes and alcohol, which have been legalized for as long as you've been practicing, cannabis has NEVER been legal in the state of Illinois - until now. All of our clients understand that cigarettes are unhealthy. Even our clients who overdrink know that alcohol abuse is a bad thing. Cannabis is unique - we tend to have clients who either think that cannabis is 100% "good" or 100% "bad." It makes sense if you're worried about what this will mean for your clinical practice.

LACKING SUPPORT FROM DOCTORS. When your clients face health concerns or have questions about their psychotropic medications, you know that you can sign a release of information for your client's medical provider to get answers and help coordinate care. But medical providers are unprepared to talk with their clients about cannabis. You're in the front lines, and may be the ONLY person your client talks to about cannabis.

You can become Cannabis Competent.

In this course, we'll review the myths and facts about cannabis as well as the key points unique to Illinois legalization. You'll get tools, tips, and strategies to help you feel confident addressing client questions. You get a starting point to have informed conversations with your clients about cannabis.


In this course, you will:

  1. Get the facts. Apply the best available evidence in understanding the risks, benefits, and public health implications of cannabis legalization.
  2. Prepare. Understand Illinois policies and their implications on clinical practice.
  3. Treatment plan. Identify harm-reduction approaches and treatment considerations to screening, assessing, and treatment planning in the context of cannabis use.

(Bonus!) Downloadable resources and advanced clinical interventions

This is a lot more than just a course. You'll also get a FREE fourth section with advanced clinical information and downloadable goodies, including:

  • Harm reduction tip sheet for clients
  • Drug interaction fact sheet
  • Cannabis use tracker
  • Cannabis Use Disorder screening

*Chicago Compass Counseling, LLC is an approved Continuing Education (CE) Sponsor or Illinois Social Workers and Professional Counselors.

Your Instructor


Sarah Suzuki, LCSW, CADC
Sarah Suzuki, LCSW, CADC

Sarah is the founder of Chicago Compass Counseling, a group practice dedicated to serving the family system through inclusive, evidence-based behavior change counseling. As a speaker, Sarah enjoys presenting ideas that ignite and inspire. In 2018, her talk on facing fear went viral – with over 2 million views and counting. Sarah has been a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) since 2010 and participated in the certification process in 2017. To date, she has worked with more than 50 organizations across the country as a trainer and consultant.


Course Curriculum



Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
Does this course provide interventions for teens and adolescents who use cannabis?
​Because we're focused on the impact of legal purchase, this course is focused on adults (21+) who will be able to purchase cannabis legally in the state of Illinois as of January 1, 2020. Throughout the course, we discuss concerns about use in teens and adolescents. If you are interested in clinical interventions for adolescents, I recommend the book "Motivational Interviewing with Adolescents and Young Adults."
Do you give advice about who should use medical cannabis and why?
As a licensed clinical social worker, I am unable to give any advice or information that constitutes prescription recommendations or medical advice. I do review general research that has been conducted around certain diagnoses in the context of harm reduction practices. Illinois has a Medical Cannabis Patient Program (MCPP) that creates a process for clients to work with prescribing providers who can help clients apply for a medical card for certain conditions. You can learn more about the MCPP on the Illinois Department of Public Health website.
Do you give legal advice as it relates to cannabis?
As a licensed clinical social worker, I am unable to give legal advice or guidance. I do review my understanding of Illinois policies in the context of harm reduction practices, as well as my understanding of implementation of policies as it relates to clients. In no way does the information provided constitute legal advice or guidance.

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