Practicing Alcohol Moderation: A Harm Reduction Alternative to the Abstinence-Only Model

ONLINE COURSE | Instructor: Craig James, LCSW, LSATP, MAC & Cyndi Turner, LCSW, LSATP, MAC ​
CEs: 1.5 | Level: Intermediate

Nearly 90 million people in the United States struggle with alcohol use but are not physically dependent. Most treatment is designed for the severe alcohol user, which accounts for about 17 million Americans, leaving the majority of people experiencing problems from alcohol without appropriate services. In 2014, the National Association of Social Workers put out the NASW Standards for Social Work Practice for Clients with Substance Use Disorders. They state that in accordance with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition), substance use is no longer viewed as an either/or phenomenon and should be viewed as existing along a continuum. Additionally, they state that a harm reduction approach is consistent with the social work value of self-determination and meeting the client where the client is. 

However, the traditional recommendation for drinkers experiencing problems is to encourage them to admit that they are “alcoholics” who must quit drinking forever and who must attend 12-step meetings. There is over 50 years of research that proves that the harm reduction strategy of alcohol moderation is a more effective treatment option. This presentation will give an overview of harm reduction, differentiate types of drinkers and their treatment needs, interpret the Alcohol Moderation Assessment, develop a Moderate Drinking Plan, and teach tools for alcohol moderation.

Target Audience:

Social workers and other social service providers 

Course Delivery Method and Format:

Asynchronous learning

Registration Fee and Deadline:

$35 (one time registration fee of $5) | Ongoing 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Differentiate types of alcohol users and the changing treatment landscape. 
  2. Describe how the Alcohol Moderation Assessment gives predictions on who may be a good candidate for alcohol moderation.
  3. Explain how to develop an Alcohol Moderation Plan for appropriate clients.

Instructor Biography

Craig James, LCSW, LSATP, MAC has been in the addiction treatment field for over twenty years. He is the Co-Founder & Director of Operations of Insight Into Action Therapy and Insight Recovery Centers. He serves on the board of the Northern Virginia Region Association of Addiction Professionals.

Cyndi Turner, LCSW, LSATP, MAC has been a therapist for almost three decades. She is the Co-Founder & Clinical Director of Insight Into Action Therapy and Insight Recovery Centers and is a national trainer on alcohol moderation. Cyndi is the author of Can I Keep Drinking? How You Can Decide When Enough is Enough, The Clinician’s Guide to Alcohol Moderation: Alternative Methods and Management Techniques, and Practicing Alcohol Moderation: A Comprehensive Workbook.

Completion Requirements: 

To receive a CE certificate, you must complete the entirety of the online course. Partial credit will not be awarded to those who attend only a portion of the course. For recorded lectures and webinars, participants must complete a post test and an evaluation, noting the length of time to complete the course. Participants must also complete an attestation of completion for each fully completed course. It is attendees responsibility to contact their state licensing board/certification boards to determine eligibility to meet continuing education requirements.

How Certificate is Awarded:

Upon completing the evaluation, and other documents such as post test and attestation if applicable, participants will be emailed their online certificate​ within 30 days of course completion​. ​Participants should save and/or print ​the certificate upon receipt for ​their records. Receiving the CE certificate is contingent on completion of the evaluation and other necessary documents.



Social Work CE Credit: The Smith College School for Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and is therefore authorized to provide CEs as a postsecondary institution accredited by CSWE in many states. Courses offered through the School's Program of Professional Education are awarded continuing education credits in accordance with Continuing Education Regulation 258, CMR, 31.00 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Smith College School for Social Work, Office of Professional Education SW OPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0169. If outside these states, please contact your licensing board for accreditation information regarding your state. Association of Social Work Boards database of social work licensure requirements.

Psychology CE Credit: Co-sponsored training events for psychology CE credit with Smith College School for Social Work. Amego Prepare​ is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Amego Prepare maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Mary Curtin | Manager of Professional Education | | 413.585.7970