Luzerne County Reentry Service Center therapist receives national scholarship

Matt Shoener, Lead Therapist at the Luzerne County Reentry Service Center, received one of only two scholarships awarded nationally to attend the National Conference on Addiction Disorders conference this August in Denver. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), one of the conference sponsors, awards two scholarships to the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC), which in turn selected Shoener as a recipient.

Shoener has worked at the local reentry program for five years. He received the scholarship for his continued involvement in advancing training and certification within the field of substance abuse therapies, especially for individuals returning to local communities. In 2013, IC&RC invited him to assist with the credentialing process for drug and alcohol counselors nationwide. Along with a small group, he helped re-write a 300-question examination for credentialing.

“I was honored to learn I was the first person to receive a scholarship for the conference this year,” he said. He also says while the credentialing process work was extensive, it was very interesting. “Substance abuse therapy has advanced so much in the last decade. We are tapping into more and more science now. We use biology, neuroscience and brain imaging, which means the credentialing process had to be completely overhauled.”

Shoener’s employer, GEO Reentry Services, has asked him to visit and train other therapists within the company nationally. He is a certified trainer in the University of Cincinnati’s Cognitive and Behavioral Interventions for Substance Abuse, an evidenced-based curriculum for offenders with substance use and co-occurring disorders.  He says these advanced substance abuse therapies are one of the reasons the recidivism rate in Luzerne County is low for participants at the reentry program.

Shoener earned a bachelor’s degree at Marywood University and a master’s degree at Walden University.

The Luzerne County Reentry Service Center opened in 2010 to provide intensive treatment and training to reentrants at risk of recidivating and encourage their successful reentry into their communities. The center provides treatment, training, and supervision for individuals who are referred to the center to participate in a multi-phase program that includes regular reporting to the center, intensive treatment, training and ongoing testing for drug and alcohol use.