With this first special issue for Co-Occurring Disorders, it seems like a perfect time to get to know the Co-Chairs a little better.
Lee A. Dalphonse, CAGS, LMHC, LCDS, ICCDP-D has over 28 years of experience planning, implementing, and evaluating behavioral health programs and services for individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse problems, and he has also provided training and consultation to audiences and organizations throughout the United States and Canada.
Dave Parcher, LCPC, LPCMH, CCS, CCDPD has 27 years of experience in direct service provision, and behavioral health program development, implementation, and management for persons with co-occurring substance dependence, mental health and other co-morbidities such as HIV/AIDS. He serves as Executive Director and senior clinical supervisor for an organization providing treatment and prevention services to persons with these co-occurring disorders and provides training seminars for the State of Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.
IC&RC: Do you hold any IC&RC credentials?
LD: Actually, I hold a couple of IC&RC credentials. I’ve been a Clinical Supervisor for 15 years, and I hold the Diplomate level of the Co-Occurring certification. I’m also licensed in the State of Rhode Island as a mental health counselor.
DP: I hold the IC&RC Co-Occurring certification at the Diplomate level (CCDPD) and the Clinical Supervisor certification (CCS). I am also a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in Maryland and a Licensed Counselor of Mental Health (LPCMH) in Delaware.
IC&RC: Why are co-occurring disorders so important to you?
LD: The driving force behind my desire to seek credentialing as a co-occurring treatment specialist was that I have worked in both traditional mental health and traditional substance abuse settings, where I witnessed first-hand individuals with dual needs bouncing back and forth between providers. In too many instances, both systems failed to address the needs of this population. The more I witnessed this, the more I became convinced of the need to develop an expertise regarding the interactive relationship between addiction and mental health problems.
DP: My interest in developing integrated treatment that would be effective for co-occurring disorders grew during the 13 years I served as the director of an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team treating persons with severe and persistent mental health disorders. At least 30 percent of individuals treated in that program presented with diagnosable co-occurring substance abuse/dependence. Through that experience and literature review by some of the pioneers in this arena, it became apparent to me that treatment would have to address both disorders simultaneously through an integrated set of protocols to address the impact of the symbiotic relation between these disorders. As a function of this concept, it seemed critical to me that co-occurring morbidity must be treated as a standalone disorder in and of itself for successful stabilization and long-term recovery.
IC&RC: When did you first hear of IC&RC?
LD: I joined the Rhode Island Board for the Certification of Chemical Dependency Professionals in 1991, partly out of a desire to learn about more about credentialing and also out of a desire to help bridge the gap between the substance abuse and mental health fields. In 2004, I became a delegate to IC&RC.
DP: I heard about IC&RC through certified persons I knew in the field. I became more educated about IC&RC when I joined the Delaware Certification Board in 2000. I have served as a delegate to IC&RC for the last 3 years and increased my participation with committee membership in the last year.
IC&RC: Why did you decide to become involved in IC&RC?
LD: I had a personal crusade to push for a co-occurring credential, and I wanted to be part of moving that agenda forward on an international level. I recognized IC&RC as the industry leader in setting standards for our profession and I saw a natural synergy between my own personal vision and the work of the IC&RC.
Soon after I started attending IC&RC meetings, a Task Force was formed to explore the feasibility of a co-occurring focused credential, and I was appointed Co-Chair of that Task Force, along with Marshall Rosier from the Connecticut Certification Board. Based upon the work and recommendations of that Task Force, the IC&RC Member Boards formally endorsed the development of co-occurring credentials about a year and half later. I think the quick timeframe for formal approval of these credentials was thanks to a “perfect storm.”
It was clear that at the same time that the health care system was being strained by growing costs and a dramatic increase in uninsured, individuals with co-occurring treatment needs were being under-recognized and under-treated. No longer could the treatment system afford to have duplication of efforts and ineffective treatment approaches for a population that ends up accessing high end services such as hospitals and emergency rooms when the treatment system fails to adequately meet their needs.
DP: Delaware was one of the first IC&RC States. Our State contracting authorities have recognized IC&RC as the leader in setting standards since the beginning. So, here in Delaware when one thinks of standards, one thinks IC&RC.
Delaware has had the Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification from the beginning of IC&RC. When I became president of the Delaware Certification Board and aware that IC&RC offered the co-occurring credential, I saw it as my obligation to bring that credential to Delaware during my tenure as President. This initiative was based on my clinical experience and the fact that through the Co-occurring State Incentive Grant (COSIG) the State was taking action to support the integration of co-occurring disorders as standard within the treatment constellation.
IC&RC: Where do you see the field going?
LD: I believe the writing is on the wall. The statistics show clearly that, in publicly funded programs, co-occurring disorders are the rule not the exception. Given that, it is incumbent on programs to ensure that all members of their staff are able to meet the needs of the majority of their clients. I think there will be growing pressure to demonstrate that program staff are competent in co-occurring disorders, and the best way to do that is to have staff that are dually licensed or hold a co-occurring credentials.
DP: I believe that integrated treatment is the rule of the future. Programs need to have the capacity to provide treatment at all levels of care without the barriers and inefficiency created by the treatment silos in parallel infrastructures. With the Affordable Care Act, there will be increased pressure for programs to create the economies of scale offered by integrated prevention and treatment. Persons who are trained and certified to treat co-occurring disorders will have a tremendous advantage in this arena.
IC&RC: What do you like to do in your free time?
LD: Music is one of my passions – I love all kinds of music. I also try to spend as much time as possible with my wife of 26 years and my 15-year-old daughter. I strive to maintain a balance between being an active, committed professional and an active, committed family person. It’s not always an easy balance.
DP: My two daughters are in college and doing their own thing but, I love to spend time with them when our schedules permit. With regard to activities, first and foremost, I am a martial artist. I hold two black belts in Shukoki and Tikwondo. I also like to ride motorcycles and bicycles. I love to sail, fish, and hunt. I love to dance and love music (all kinds). I am by no means a guitarist, but I like to play just to relieve stress but only when no one is listening. Balancing professional life with personal life is always a challenge.