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“The Allure of Self-Destruction: How Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) Can Redefine Addiction Recovery”
Pain and suffering are ubiquitous, and the great secret is that many of us have an inner experience so unpleasant that we act in ways that temporarily please, but ultimately destroy us – body, mind, and spirit. Once an addiction or other disorder manifests, even the strongest motivation to change often results in countless unsuccessful efforts to recover. Understanding the various manifestations of the self-destructive urge, as well as theories describing its causes, is key to helping people move in valued directions in the presence of pain. This presentation will provide a summary of the ACT approach to addiction treatment and the research supporting it. Participants will practice evidence-based ACT techniques designed to build awareness of self-destructive thoughts, develop psychological flexibility, and create new cognitive-behavioral pathways to recovery-oriented living.
Annie Peters, PhD, LP, is Director of Research and Education at the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) and Executive Director of the NAATP Foundation for Recovery Science and Education (FoRSE), leading the national effort to further understand substance use disorders through collaborative quality improvement and research. Dr. Peters is a clinical psychologist with 15 years of experience in substance use and mental health assessment, psychotherapy, education, and leadership.
Ruth Ann Rigby, CRS currently serves as the Chief Development Officer at BRC Healthcare in Austin, TX. She has been a leader in the behavioral health and addiction recovery field for over 24 years with 25 years in Recovery. She represents the very principles that she strives for every day—honesty, integrity, humility, and grace.
Rigby is a prominent figure in the addiction recovery and mental health industry working with some of the leading treatment providers in the nation. Most recently she was recognized by High Watch Recovery Center with the Marty Mann Award presented in the Fall of 2021. She has also been recognized by a Resolution from former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant in 2020 for her dedication to fighting for those caught in addiction within our communities and nationally. Also in 2020, she was awarded the Fred R. French Award for Excellence presented by C4 Recovery Foundation for her outstanding service in the field of addiction with the emphasis on mentoring and/or educating others. Because of her consistent ethical and professional standards, she was recognized nationally at the 2018 Admissions and Marketing Symposium with the Silver Shoe Award. In 2008, she was appointed by former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour to serve on the Mississippi Drug Court Advisory Board to offer her first-hand knowledge and insight into strengthening the Drug Court System.
Rigby has served on the board of numerous community organizations, church leadership committees, and behavioral health associations such as the Mississippi Association of Drug Court Professionals, Central Mississippi Chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency, Mississippi Association of Addiction Professionals, American Diabetes Association, National Alliance for Mental Illness (Mississippi Chapter) and National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers.
In her spare time, Ruth Ann serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for Hope and Healing at Broadmoor Baptist Church where she is on-call to work with any family that crosses her path. She is dedicated to fighting for those caught in addiction and ending the cycle of dependency. Her leadership in action has been proven repeatedly by her tireless energy and passion to change and save a person’s life. Ruth Ann, along with her husband LTC (Ret) Joseph Rigby, are cofounders of a 501c3 nonprofit organization called First Responders of Mississippi. They created this organization to help first responders (Individuals, Families and Agencies) in their greatest time of need with assistance, wellness, and hope.
Rigby and her husband Joseph along with their (3) Cocker Spaniels—Graciee, Cailee and Darbee reside in Madison County MS on their farm “Stil-Wurkin Farm”
Barry Jacobson, a former Executive for the Walt Disney Company, is the principal owner of Barry Jacobson Consulting. The firm provides insight and hands-on training to companies in building a culture of excellence, focusing on leadership and management practices, employee engagement, event operations, and customer-centric experiences.
While at Disney, Barry’s leadership roles included Disney Resort Operations, Food and Beverage, Convention Operations, Event Management, and Premium Services. As Director of Event Management, Barry was responsible for planning, organizing, and delivering events directly related to the Disney brand: Disney Corporate Retreats, Board of Director Conferences, Annual Shareholder Meetings, Investor Conferences, marketing press events, and theme park and resort grand openings teams: Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure, and the Disney Cruise Line. Barry was selected to lead the Inaugural 2009 D23 Expo, Disney’s first-ever fan exposition held at the Anaheim Convention Center. Most recently, Barry launched the opening of these signature Disney experiences: Golden Oak, a private residential community, Club 33, Disney’s in-park membership clubs, and Disney’s Spa and Salon operations.
Barry’s career has taken him from Disney, the finest name in family entertainment, to the Dallas Cowboys, the greatest name in sports entertainment. As the Cowboys Vice President of Special Events, Barry was responsible for premium services for suites, private clubs, and corporate/stadium wide events, including hosting Superbowl XLV. He was also General Manager with ClubCorp, Director of Convention and Conference Management at Venetian and Palazzo Resort for the Sands Corporation, and Director of Meetings and Education for Meeting Professionals International (MPI).
Marvin Ventrell became the CEO of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) in 2015, continuing his 30-year career as a lawyer, association director, teacher, and addiction treatment executive. NAATP, founded in 1978, is professional membership association of addiction treatment providers whose mission is to provide leadership, advocacy, training, and member support services that ensure the availability and highest quality of addiction treatment.
Mr. Ventrell’s career has been devoted to advocating for populations in need and building legal and health care system responses to meet those needs. In addition to serving in executive leadership roles in several national social welfare and justice agencies, he has authored two textbooks on law and social justice, book chapters and professional articles on law, medicine, social services, behavioral health, and addiction treatment and recovery.
Prior to joining NAATP, Marvin served as Program Director at Harmony Foundation, and as a consultant to the CeDAR, both Colorado based addiction treatment centers. He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and has received distinctions including an American Bar Association National Advocacy Award, the National Council of Juvenile Court Judges Meritorious Service to the Children of America Award, the University of Colorado School of Medicine Award for Career Contributions, and the Innovator Award from given for impact in the field of recovery through innovation, commitment, and dynamic thinking. Under Mr. Ventrell’s leadership, NAATP has emerged as a powerful voice for addiction treatment under his vision of quality, professionalism, equity, and ethics.
He can be reached at NAATP National headquarters in Denver, CO at www.naatp.org, email@example.com, or 888.574.1008.
Greg is the award-winning filmmaker of feature length documentaries, The Anonymous People and Generation Found. In 2015, he executive produced the historic UNITE to Face Addiction Rally on the National Mall when tens of thousands of people including from around the world gathered alongside major musicians to end the silence surrounding addiction. He also produced the launch of the first-ever Surgeon’s General Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health: Facing Addiction in America. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC World News, LA Times, and countless other news outlets. He also serves as a member of the United States of Care’s Voices of Real Life advisory group.
Greg is a health policy consultant and communications specialist, providing strategic oversight and direction to numerous initiatives. Most notably, Greg manages the Alliance for Addiction Payment Reform, a national collaboration aimed at improving outcomes for patients, payers, and health systems, and served as a managing editor of the Addiction Recovery Medical Home Alternative Payment Model. Greg has over a decade of experience working with non-profits and government agencies on addiction. As person in long-term recovery from addiction himself, Greg’s work has been dedicated towards creating positive changes in access to quality health care and recovery supports for the over 20 million struggling. Greg received his master’s degree in addiction public policy and media production from New York University.
Jason is Vice President of Communications and Chief Marketing Officer at High Watch Recovery Center. He is a communications strategist with many years of experience in healthcare and advocacy.
Prior to his work at High Watch, Jason was a political operative with years of experience in campaign operations, press, social and digital media, grassroots organizing, and television and direct mail.
He has managed and advised candidates for U.S. Congress, state legislatures, and statewide office. He has also served as an advisor to state party initiatives and has overseen caucus campaign committee efforts.
Jason is a frequent presenter at conferences, seminars, and webinars speaking primarily about public affairs, advocacy, and the ethics of marketing. He is proud of the work that his team does
in maintaining close ties with alumni and in sharing High Watch’s expertise with colleagues both locally and around the world.
Nanette Zumwalt is currently recognized as one of the top interventionists and an industry expert, both nationally and internationally. Nanette began working in the field of mental health and addiction treatment nearly three decades ago as a direct care technician at inpatient acute psychiatric hospitals. With her vibrant and engaging personality, knowledge, experience, and sincere desire to help those in need, it is no surprise that her career has included various management titles throughout top national therapeutic schools and recovery programs.
Early on in her career, Nanette notes that she developed a specific passion for the “willing but not able” individuals struggling in treatment transitions. In 2002, Nanette began the journey of developing, building, and growing Hired Power. Under her care and leadership, Hired Power has taken the pioneering role in clinically supporting adolescents, young adults, and adults during the high risk and critical transition periods of recovery.
Daniel S. Valha is the CEO of KDV Consulting, a boutique consulting firm for the meetings industry.
Dan is the former Senior Vice President of Sales and Operations for the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) and the Veterinary Meeting and Expo (VMX). He led operations, leadership initiatives, and oversaw event operations, sales, customer service, and exhibits teams. VMX is the largest Veterinary conference of its kind and recognized as one of the top 20 medical conferences and expos in the world. In his previous roles, Dan oversaw meetings and events totaling $100+ million in revenue as Senior Vice President of Global Accounts at ConferenceDirect.
Dan served as Walt Disney World Resort’s Managing Sales Director, which included leading National Sales teams for all Disney properties, Disney Cruise Line, and Resorts around the globe, with a specific focus on the group and convention line of business. In addition, Dan directed the Sales and Marketing efforts as Hyatt Hotels Divisional Director of Sales & Marketing for the Northeast region.
Jerry Schwab is the CEO of High Watch Recovery Center in Kent, CT.
He has over twenty years of experience as an executive with non-profit healthcare organizations.
With Jerry at the helm, High Watch has experienced tremendous growth while remaining true to its mission as the world’s first treatment center founded on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. During Jerry’s tenure, High Watch opened its first-ever sober living opportunities, which it offers on four different properties. High Watch’s new detoxification center provides detox care for the first time in the organization’s history. Jerry and the High Watch team also opened “The Hilltop”, which is a partial hospitalization program situated in an ornate villa in the hills of Litchfield County, Connecticut.
“Wilson’s Bakery and Cafe” opened in the summer of 2021 and is dedicated to providing career opportunities for High Watch alumni and others in the program. Also in 2021, High Watch initiated an effort to educate the world about addiction by starting “High Watch Media”, which is focused on developing films and documentaries about recovery.
Outside of his work with High Watch, Jerry is very active in charitable social service organizations. Domestically, Jerry has served as a municipal Ethics Commissioner, as a Board member of the Pomperaug Health District, and as a member of the Connecticut Department of Public Health EMS Advisory Board and the Council on Alcoholism and Addiction.
Dr. Boff is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, a Certified Athletic Trainer, and a Strength and Conditioning Coach who is not only an expert in his profession but is also extremely passionate about the intersection of health, wellness and function. With over 20 years of professional sports experience as a physical therapist and trainer for the NBA, he has been able to transform bodies and change lives with incredible success. His Los Angeles-based company, MHB (Manage your Health and Body) Fitness, grew from his own philosophy to take ownership of managing one’s health and body. MHB Fitness is a concierge health and wellness service that specializes in providing an elite level of individualized client care in addition to consulting services.
With the belief that optimal physical health can only be achieved in conjunction with optimal mental and spiritual health, Dr. Boff utilizes a comprehensive approach incorporating human movement with lifestyle to create customized programs designed to meet the specific goals of each individual.
Dr. Boff has also served as the Director of Sports Medicine for NBC’s reality weight-loss series “The Biggest Loser.” Dr. Boff graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Brandeis University in 1996 and went on to earn an MSPT in 2002 and DPT in 2005 from Simmons College.
Samantha Quinlan works in the Behavioural, Mental and Emotional Health sector and is the founder of the international conference on Addiction -iCAAD. She has extensive knowledge and networks on specialist issues across the world on Addiction and mental health.
Sams reputation in the events industry catapulted when she co-founded the Brighton Fringe Festival in the UK over 25 years ago. Today the month-long city festival attracts over half a million people.
Today Sam is working with The Global Exchange 2022 to deliver a diverse programme of knowledge and skills and is leading a team of experts in developing a programme that honours the four foundation tracks of the conference – Mental Health, Addiction, Wellness and Leadership.
She has devised and delivered programmes for vulnerable adults and young people, adolescents with extreme childhood trauma, workplace leadership and solutions and adults with learning disabilities.
Sam, in her own time and as a volunteer, has helped support 100s of people. She reflects that when she needed help, she was one of a lucky few and could access service without charge or bias, so today she strives to connect those in need to the right help or signpost them to organisations that can help.
Sam likes to build theatre sets in her spare time and would one day love to perform again!
Nikki Soda is a passionate advocate for recovery, experienced marketer, and meeting planner. With over 10 years of nonprofit and corporate meeting planning, she brings an energy and level of professionalism used to create successful outcomes. Prior to working in the healthcare industry, Nikki was an event planner and organized large scale events while working for both corporate and nonprofit organizations. Her background in recovery led her to shifting into the behavioral health field. Previously, Nikki has worked in the capacity of Director of both Business Development and Marketing for nationally recognized treatment facilities, as well as overseeing several Alumni programs while being on the board of the Treatment Professionals and Alumni Services. Advocacy and Public Policy are two passions that Nikki continuously puts effort into, through volunteering and community engagement.
Nikki holds a BA in Communication from the University of Tampa. Her experience working on both the front end and back end of treatment has given her a wealth of knowledge and has contributed to her understanding of systems within the field of substance use.
Gary Seidler has been one of the foremost advocates of the addictions. and mental health field for the past 40-plus years as a book, magazine publisher and professional conference organizer.
Gary began his career as a newspaper reporter, editor, political speech writer, in the Metropolitan Toronto area before joining the Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario as its Press Officer. For them he created a trade newspaper, The US Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
In 1976, Gary immigrated once again, to the United States, where he co-founded Health Communications (HCI), a self-help publishing company, and US Journal Training. ( USJT), orchestrating over 250 continuing education conferences throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand for health professionals in the addictions and mental health field.
Gary is the co-author of Chicken Soup for the Recovery Soul, Chicken Soup for the Horse Lovers Soul, Heart Reconnection, and Success Stories from The Heart.
Gary with his life partner, Sheri Laine, an acupuncturist, herbalist, author, and wholeness guide, share Global Synergistic Living (GSL), a consulting group focusing on education, healthy living, loving and communicating.
Gary lives in Santa Monica, CA. He is most proud of his three adult children and three awesome grandchildren.
Robbin Mooney has served in the behavioral health industry since 1998, creating and implementing dynamic marketing solutions, design, and branding strategies for a variety of companies and institutions.
Business development, public relations, and recovery advocacy roles have been her passion, and through these roles she’s found a way to help others find a full and successful life.
Robbin is co-founder and Chief Development Officer of J. Flowers Health Institute, an integrative mental health and medical concierge healthcare center, offering comprehensive health and wellness evaluations and treatment services located in Houston, Texas.
Robbin was recognized in 2021 by the Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce celebrating many of Houston’s leading executive women and men entrepreneurs. Robbin also currently serves on the board of directors for the Humane Society of Southern Coastal Georgia.
Robbin served as the Outreach and Communications Liaison for Crossroads Centre Antigua 4 years which is an internationally recognized addiction treatment program founded by Eric Clapton in 1998 as a holistic, 12- step medical model providing detox and residential services.
Hand-picked by Oprah Winfrey as one of her Super Soul 100 changemakers, Jeff helms Commune Media — offering an assemblage of in-depth wellness courses, podcasts, and other media featuring the field’s foremost experts, including Deepak Chopra, Russell Brand, and Sharon Salzberg. “Our goal is to democratize well-being,” says Jeff. As creator of the global Wanderlust festivals, host of the popular Commune podcast (120,000 monthly downloads), and the author of three books, Jeff presents his audience with knowledge and guideposts to becoming their best selves. Classes, podcasts, and books offer a roadmap to creating a better society through compassion, community-building, and hands-on activism. An expert in mindfulness and a sociopolitical commentator with a degree in political science and American history from Columbia University, Krasno digs to find common ground when people divide along political lines, and offers a path to connection.