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A Q&A with AMHCA's New Western Region Director
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A Q&A With AMHCA's New Western Region Director


The Advocate: What is your current job and what drew you to it?

Steven Tierney: I am a professor and chair of the Community Mental Health Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. This is a new program, which prepares psychotherapists to work in public and publicly funded mental health programs. There is a special focus on severe and persistent mental illness and addiction and co-occurring disorders.


The Advocate: Why did you join AMHCA?

Steven Tierney: I believe that consumers of mental health services should receive excellent care whether they receive treatment in private practice or in

Editor’s Note:Steven Tierney, EdD, CAS took office as AMHCA’s Western Region director last July 1. As one of AMHCA’s four regional directors, in addition to a director-at-large, Tierney’s region includes the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

To let members know more about their elected board member, The Advocate asked Tierney to respond to a series of questions about his professional work, and his work on AMHCA’s board.

You may reach Tierney at

public programs. I believe that AMHCA’s commitment to professional development, high ethical standards, and evidence-based practice is good for our consumers.

The Advocate: What made you want to serve on AMHCA’s board of directors?

Steven Tierney: I want to help build AMHCA membership in the Western states and build bridges of support between mental health professionals in those states.


The Advocate: Since you took office last July, what has been your experience on AMHCA’s board? Are there any particular projects you are working on or looking forward to accomplishing?
Steven Tierney: California has just begun licensing mental health counselors this year, so CA has been the focus of much of my work. I look forward to increasing communication and building regional education and professional development opportunities in the coming months and years. Karen Langer, LMHC, my predecessor as Western Region director, was a tremendous communicator and webmaster. She set a high bar, and I am trying to create the new version of that network. 

I look forward to seeing everyone in Florida for the Annual Conference this July.
The Advocate: Is there anything about the work AMHCA does that you think members may not be aware of?

Steven Tierney: Creating and promoting a code of ethics and standards for professional practice is good for the profession, good for the consumers, and good for the people in our communities who need care and treatment.

The Diplomate and Clinical Mental Health Specialist credential allows us to present ourselves as competent and innovative leaders in the field. These programs are a demonstration of what is good about AMHCA and its commitment to excellence.

The Advocate: Is there anything you would like AMHCA members to know about you?

Steven Tierney: I am excited about the Annual Conference in Orlando. There will be a large number of important sessions and keynote speakers, but for me, the chance to talk with colleagues about what works in psychotherapy and what mental health innovations they are using is the real benefit. It’s where we get to really share experiences. I really encourage everyone to at-tend and experience this professional development opportunity.