About the Decision Matrix

This matrix was originally published as the "Decision Matrix for Clinical Mental Health Counselors (CMHCs) Encountering Medical Marijuana Use in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Settings" in an article entitled Emerging Clinical Issues: What CMHCs Should Know about Medical Marijuana, which was published in the Spring 2019 issue of The Advocate Magazine, the official professional magazine of the American Mental Health Counselors Association.  

This matrix was developed by Dr. Aaron Norton, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Master Addiction Counselor who is an experienced clinical mental health specialist in substance Use and co-occurring disorders, an instructor at the University of South Florida's Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, and the Executive Director of the National Board of Forensic Evaluators.  

The matrix was designed to be used by counselors who are appropriately credentialed and have expertise in the evaluation and treatment of substance use disorders.  We recommend that counselors wishing to use the tool first read the article introducing the tool and view a two-hour recording of a webinar event that explains some of the background and rationale for the decision matrix. Though the video can be viewed for free using the above hyperlink, counselors who wish to receive NBCC-approved continuing education credit for the training can elect to pay a small administrative fee and register for the "on demand" webinar at https://nbfe.net/event-2983898

The matrix is not a replacement for a thorough and comprehensive evaluation and biopsychosocial assessment.  Rather, it is considered a supplement or companion for a thorough evaluation/assessment.  Additionally, no tool such as this matrix can effectively anticipate every possible factor to consider when making complex clinical decisions and is not a substitute for sound clinical judgment.  As explained in the webinar and article, the matrix was based on published positions and guidelines from authoritative resources such as the American Psychiatric Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, and NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals among others.  However, the tool has not been subjected to rigorous validity and reliability scrutiny such as that which could be accomplished by researchers in counselor education published in peer-reviewed, professional, academic journals.  For additional questions related to the matrix, please email aaron@nbfe.net.

To use the matrix simply answer a series of questions beginning in the next page and then read the recommendations in the final screen.