Featured Speakers

HAL author photo RichardOConnor Sarah Blodgett Photography

Richard O’Connor

Richard O’Connor, MSW, Ph.D. Richard O’Connor, MSW, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist with offices in Lakeville, CT, and New York City.  Prior to private practice, he was the executive director of the Northwest Center for Mental Health, a nonprofit outpatient clinic with three locations in northwest Connecticut.  He has his MSW and Ph.D. in social work from the University of Chicago.  After graduation, he worked in a variety of urban and…

Read more


Paula Riggs

Paula Riggs Dr. Paula Riggs is Professor and Director of the Division of Substance Dependence in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and board certified in child, adolescent and addiction psychiatry. Dr. Riggs is nationally known for her NIH/NIDA-funded research in adolescents with co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders. She has led the field in conducting among the first controlled medication trials in such youth. Dr. Riggs and her…

Read more


Clifton Mitchell

Clifton Mitchell, Ph.D., author, Effective Techniques for Dealing with Highly Resistant Clients Dr. Mitchell received his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana State University and is currently a professor at East Tennessee State University where he received the teacher of the year award in 2002. He is interested in hypnosis, mind‑body connections to health, weight loss, smoke stopping, and the incredible influence that words and language have on our lives.…

Read more


Marcia Newman

Marcia Newman, MA, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Program Manager of the Betty Ford Center Outpatient Services in West Los Angeles and Author of Five Gifts of Pro-Aging: Honoring Maturity in a Culture That Could Use It. Marcia Newman, MA, LMFT is a licensed psychotherapist and program manager of the Betty Ford Center Outpatient Services in West Los Angeles.  Newman has three decades of experience in the mental health and addiction recovery field. …

Read more


Craig, Andrew and Michael Peterson

Craig Peterson, Author: Adopting Faith: A Father’s Unconditional Love, speaker accompanied by Michael Peterson and Andrew Peterson Biological brothers Michael and Andrew Peterson have proven the skeptics wrong time and time again. Born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, they lived in foster care for four long years before being adopted. Although learning was never easy, they tried their best. Upon joining Special Olympics, they found a niche. With the support of…

Read more