Addictions Training Institute – September 2022 Student of the Month

September 2022 Student of the Month

September 2022 Student of the Month 

Karin Clark



Karin is a long time professional in the field of counseling, addiction, and addictive family systems. She has been working in the field of Substance Abuse treatment and Addictive Family Systems since the late 1980’s. Like many, she became interested in the work as a result of her own recovery; she got sober and began working on her family of origin issues in ACA beginning in 1984.


In those days, no specific certifications were required as  the addiction treatment field was very new. Because of that, her BA and graduate certification in Secondary Education from UC Berkeley (and ten years of teaching high school, specifically Continuation High School in Oakland, CA) provided her all she needed to work in the field, especially in the DUI education and group facilitation work that was burgeoning in that era as the culture began taking the issue seriously, thanks to MADD. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving. )


Once in this field and role, she recognized her passion for group facilitation, and working with individuals around their emotional issues, she decided to return to graduate school. There, she studied Transpersonal Psychology, with an emphasis and specialization in Addictive Family Systems, and received her Master’s from John F. Kennedy University. While CA ultimately began requiring the specialized certification in the early 2000’s, Wisconsin did not, and Karin had moved to Madison, WI to raise her daughter and enable her to attend the excellent, and wonderfully diverse, schools there from Kindergarten through 12th grade.  While there, Karin mostly focused on raising her daughter, and worked in agencies facilitating groups part-time, ultimately returning to working in high schools combining her education work background and counseling, supporting Students of Color with emotional and family work, addiction and also becoming the first in their families to pursue and be accepted to college. Again, no certification was required for those positions.


After her daughter, Chelsea, left for college in southern California in 2015, at Pomona, she made a decision to return to the San Francisco Bay Area. By then she had been divorced for five years, and her family history and roots called to her. (Karin is a fourth generation Bay Area native.) Four days after arriving, she was hired part time by a private drug and alcohol treatment program, running IOP groups.  Four months later, she was offered the full-time position of Senior Clinician, working directly below and with the Clinical Director.  While her Master’s and experience more than qualified her for the position, she needed to register with CCAPP as an intern since the companies license and CARF accreditation depended upon employee’s having proper certification. While all of her peers from the time she had started working in the field in CA had been grandfathered into their certifications, that option no longer existed; it had been available for the first five or so years after the certifications were mandated. That window had long closed. So, as soon as she was able, which was when COVID happened and the shutting down of in-person treatment stopped for a full year, Karin decided to start her certification journey.


Karin researched programs and determined, for a variety of reasons (Lulu with ATI being a huge one!! Her care and follow through, thorough and timely responses, and authentic, sincere passion for the program) that ATI was/is special! The ideal class availability and supportive scheduling, the personalized connection with the professors and the access to excellent resources and materials continued to reinforce this feeling as she traversed the program. Not only did it support her in getting all of the required classes and submitting the myriad required documentation to sit for the exam, but it provided her the flexibility to transition from her job (as it was clear that part time would be the only available avenue for a long while) into developing a thriving private practice with weekly clients and a teen group focused on addiction issues.  In addition, the program offers fantastic support for studying for the exam. Indeed, ATI has been a great experience for Karin, and she states that she definitely recommends it to others when asked.

When Karin isn’t working, you can find her swimming laps at her apartment pool, doing Yoga, hiking the beautiful trails in the Bay Area, going to meetings, and treasuring the fact that her daughter recently moved to the Bay Area to take a job after completing her Master’s. And of course, much of that time you will also see her with her well-loved Golden Retriever, Shayla, pictured above.