Workshops & Professional Trainings

We are available for workshops and professional trainings on topics ranging from the neurobiology of addiction to responsible drinking skills.

Past audiences have included students at Notre Dame de Namur University and University of San Francisco, mental health patients from Contra Costa Health Services, mental health providers from Bayside Marin and Sequoia Center, and forensic service agencies such as the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Probation Office.


Training for mental health professionals

Overview of Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is a pragmatic approach to drug use that aims to improve the lives of people who use substances through social justice, education, compassionate care, and access to resources. Harm reduction values life, choice, respect, and compassion over judgment, stigma, discrimination, and punishment.


  1. Learn the tenants of harm reduction
  2. Understand the elements necessary for change
  3. Develop empathy and compassion towards difficult clients
  4. Facilitate the change process

Motivational Interviewing Skills

Motivational Interviewing is an evidence-based approach to facilitating change. With just a few basic skills, you can help clients move towards the change they desire. This training will equip you with tools and techniques that increase self-efficacy, address ambivalence, and promote empathy.


  1. Understand the elements necessary for change
  2. Identify the principles of motivational interviewing
  3. Facilitate change by asking questions
  4. Learn tools and techniques for working through ambivalence
  5. Listen for change talk and intervene with action when appropriate
  6. Roll with resistance to understand obstacles to change

Harm Reduction Toolkit

Harm Reduction is a pragmatic and compassionate approach to change. Many evidence-based practices can be utilized to facilitate the change process. Components of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, attachment theory, and mindfulness practices will be presented to enhance your clinical toolbox. This workshop is appropriate for anyone providing direct services regardless of degree or licensure status.


  1. Teach mindfulness skills that interrupt the desire for immediate gratification
  2. Identify clients’ values in order to inform their relationship to drugs and to help them cultivate a healthy lifestyle
  3. Transform clients’ shame using self-compassion
  4. Help clients navigate difficult emotional experiences, including anger and stress
  5. Apply attachment theory to a client’s relationship with drugs
  6. Use cognitive restructuring to address distorted thinking and maladaptive core beliefs

Neurobiology of Addiction

Addiction is a biopsychosocial phenomenon that impacts about 20 million people in the US alone. By understanding the science underlying a person’s problematic relationship with drugs, we can provide them with pragmatic, compassionate care and help them increase motivation to change while decreasing shame.


  1. Understand addiction from a biopsychosocial perspective
  2. Describe how the brain’s reward circuitry works
  3. Demystify neuroanatomy and neurotransmission specific to addiction
  4. Explain how people develop a drug of choice


Workshops for organizations interested in educating their employees on healthy practices

  • Responsible drinking
  • Substance use skills


Past Trainings & Workshops

Fernández, J. (2018, October). Eliciting Positive Change with Motivational Interviewing. Skills training lecture for students at University of San Francisco in San Francisco, CA.

Fernández, J. (2016, July).  Just Say Know! Understanding and Preventing Addiction. Workshop for the Young Women’s Saturday Program, Alameda County District Attorney’s Office in Oakland, CA.

Corsale, E., Fernández, J., & Smithstein, S. (2014, October). Pathways Institute Juvenile Theft Prevention Program. Presentation to San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department

Fernández, J. (2013, December). Addressing Chemical Dependency in Forensic Settings. Clinical training lecture for post-doctoral interns at Sharper Future, Oakland, CA.

Fernández, J. (2013, November). Eliciting Positive Change with Motivational Interviewing. Skills training lecture for students at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA.

Fernández, J. (2013, June). The Neurobiology of Addiction. Psychoeducational presentation for patients of the Nevin House, Anka Behavioral Health, Contra Costa Health Services, Mental Health Division in Richmond, CA.

Fernández, J. (2013, May). Taking Back What’s Been Stolen. Workshop for pre-trial diversion patients, Neighborhood Courts, Office of San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón in San Francisco, CA.

Corsale, E. & Fernández, J. (2013, February). Why treat compulsive stealing? Presentation given to the United States Probation Office, Northern District of California in San Francisco, CA.

Fernández, J. (2012, November). Defining Success in HRP using Quantitative and Qualitative Methods. Presentation given at the 9th National Harm Reduction Conference in Portland, OR.

Fernández, J. & Kline, T. (2012, October). Impulse Control Disorders: Diagnosis and Evidence Based Practices. Presentation given at Bayside Marin in San Francisco, CA.

Fernández, J. & Smithstein, S. (2012, January). Impulse Control Disorders. Presentation given at Bayside Marin in San Francisco, CA.

Corsale, E., Fernández, J., & Smithstein, S. (2011, May). Impulse Control Disorders. Presentation given at Community Justice Court in San Francisco, CA.

Fernández, J. (2011, April). Impulse Control Disorders. Presentation given at Sequoia Center in Redwood City, CA.

Fernández, J. (2010). Reducing Negative Consequences Associated with Substance Misuse within a Harm Reduction Psychotherapy Model: Preliminary Results. Presentation given at the Harm Reduction Coalition Conference, Austin, Texas.

Please contact us for availability and fees.