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Paula Sheldon - Presenter Bio
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Paula J. Sheldon M.S., LMFT, CSOTS, CTS, SAP, C.Ad.


  • 2013: DOT/Substance Abuse Professional Qualification Update
  • 2013: Certification in Auriculotherapy
  • 2012: Nevada HIDTA 2012 Gang Conference/Certification
  • 2012: Addictionologist Certification Completion C.Ad.
  • 2011: Board Eligible: Addictionologist C.A.d (be)
  • 2010: Treatment of Juvenile Sex Offenders, Victims and Families: Certification
  • 2010: Ansel Casey Train the Trainer Helping Youth Evaluate Their Needs: Certification
  • 2010: DOT/Substance Abuse Professional Qualification Update
  • 2008: Training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • 2008: EMDR Training and Certification
  • 2007 DOT/Substance Abuse Professional Qualification Update
  • 2007: Certified Sex Offender Treatment Specialist
  • 2007: Certified Trauma Specialist
  • 2007: American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Specialist Certification
  • 2006: State of Nevada Marriage and Family Therapist License 01024
  • 2004: Substance Abuse Professional Certificate S.A.P. (DOT) (renewed every 3 years)
  • 1991 Marriage and Family Therapist license OK397
  • 1985 Masters’ Degree in Counseling Psychology
  • 1985 Masters’ Degree in Secondary Education with Emphasis on Social Sciences
  • Mount Saint Mary’s College, Los Angeles, California
  • Pupil Personnel Services Credential (K-12 School Counselor)
  • Human Services Counseling Credential
  • California State Secondary Level Teaching Credential – Social Studies
  • 1972 Batchelor of Arts degree in Sociology, Mt. St. Mary’s College, Los Angeles, CA


  • Clinical Member: National Association of Forensic Counselors
  • Clinical Member: American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)
  • Clinical Member: Nevada Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (NAMFT)
  • Clinical Member: American Counseling Association (ACA)



March 2005 – Present: Private practice therapy. Specializing in individuals, couples and group therapy for adults and adolescents who are victims of trauma, sexual offenders & victims, or substance abusers as well as for clients who struggle with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and PTSD. DOT/SAPassessments.

January 2006 – Present: Mental Health Counselor II State of Nevada Youth Parole/DCFS. Responsible for mental health assessments and counseling services for Clark County youth detained in State detention facilities. This includes individual and family therapy, parenting skills classes and substance abuse assessment and referral.

September – November 2005 Clinical Therapist, Adolescent Acute Care Unit, Spring Mountain Treatment Center 7000 Spring Mountain, Las Vegas, NV 89117

Responsible for provision of individual, group and family therapy for adolescent residents on the acute care unit. This includes interface with the psychiatrist and treatment team, completion of the client’s psychosocial evaluation, treatment plan and all discharge planning.

August 2002- July 2005 Behavioral Healthcare Options Las Vegas, NV

Crisis Specialist: Handled incoming crisis calls that included referral to IP, Rehab and IOP programs when appropriate, routing caller to emergency services when appropriate, case management intervention to make certain the crisis was resolved.

Utilization Management Specialist (UMS)

  • This position includes the initial and concurrent review of both inpatient and outpatient mental health and substance abuse cases to determine medical necessity for initial and continued treatment.

  • The UMS develops close liaisons with therapists, psychologists, substance abuse professionals and psychiatrists at the inhouse clinic and within the BHO statewide network of clinicians. Working together, we assess patients, participate in staffing and discussion of patient history, symptomology, diagnoses, treatment modalities, treatment goals, medical, mental health and psychosocial needs. We monitor all cases in keeping with the NCQA and HEDIS guidelines, with BHO Medical Necessity Protocols, with ASAM Criteria for substance abuse treatment, predicating decisions upon best practices and guidelines, insurance benefit options and specific patient needs.

· The UMS keeps computerized record of all actions taken with, for and about each patient. Letters to patients, facilities and individual providers are generated and scanned into the patient files. Each review conducted by a psychiatrist or psychologist is likewise documented and then scanned into the file. Record keeping and detailed charting are essential to the management of each case.

· Counseling (face-to-face) of individuals, couples, groups and families with a focus on substance abuse issues, trauma and depression.

October 1998 – August 2002: Health Plan of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV

Manager for the Member Services Departments for Health Plan of Nevada, Sierra Health and Life, Senior Dimensions and Texas Health Choice.

  • In this capacity I was in charge of the call center designed to be the voice of the insurance plans to its clients. I managed a staff of 48+, did the interviewing, hiring, counseling, oversight and performance reviews.

  • I worked as a representative of the department to potential clients, traveled with various Sales Department representatives and gave presentations explaining how Member Services could assist them if they purchased one of our insurance plans.

  • I worked on many committees within the company representing the department and helping to devise appropriate measures of interface to streamline our working relationship while meeting the needs of all departments.

  • I served for 4 years on the Confidentiality Advisory Board, the Pharmacy Advisory Committee and numerous ad hoc committees originating from both external and internal business needs.

February 1997 – October 1998: Montana Community Partners, Billings, Montana - Director of Clinical Services

This was a start-up Medicaid project for more than 80,000 Montana Medicaid recipients. This population was comprised of AFDC, SSI, Dually Eligible and non-Medicaid eligible consumers. The focus was on the provision of appropriate mental health services in conjunction with the identification of and response to each individual’s psychosocial needs.

  • My responsibilities included oversight of all operations: assessment, authorization and referral, initial and concurrent review, interface with the Montana Mental Health Coalition, the provider community and the Members themselves.

  • There was extensive involvement with the Provider community to teach/demonstrate the utilization management and review processes as this was the state’s first exposure to managed care.

  • Daily concerns included the operations budget, daily utilizations recap of costs vs. budget, intense Senior Management Team involvement.

  • I was in charge of hiring, training and supervision of all clinical staff. This included a working understanding of the DSM-IV and different diagnoses, psychopharmacology, American Psychiatric Association current recommended practices and in-depth knowledge of both clinical and psychosocial service options across the state.

  • I was responsible for writing and implementing policies and procedures designed to define and promote authorization, management and review of all clinical services and procedures.

  • Hands-on responsibility for staffing cases, authorization determinations, recommendations for alternative services.

  • Chair of several internal committees including Clinical Care and Service Review, Utilization improvement, Morbidity and Mortality, Clinical Service and daily Intensive Utilization Recap.

  • Oversight of all evaluations and referrals for substance abuse treatment: detox, IP rehab, IOP and halfway house placement.

August 1994 – February 1997 Foundation Health Psych Care Services, Inc., San Rafael, CA. - Clinical Supervisor – Medicaid Department

  • Responsible for hiring, training and supervision of all Clinicians in the Medicaid Department. This included weekly supervision time spent with each Care Manager, reviewing work, decision-making practices, problem solving, review and analysis of key indicators and budgetary concerns.
  • Participated with Psychiatrists and supervisory staff in medical review and staffing of all cases.
  • Particular emphasis on clients whose needs were for substance abuse intervention and services. Arranged referrals and family services for those clients who left their families for residential treatment programs.

  • Developed all procedures for the Medicaid Department, wrote policies and procedures for the Department manual.

  • Traveled to various out-of-state provider locations to conduct on-site trainings of FHPS Medicaid procedures and practices.

  • Intense involvement in audit processes, both internal and external. This included NCQA and URAC preparation.

  • Initiated protocols for intervention and treatment for victims of sexual, emotional and physical abuse.

August 1992 – August 1994: Managed Health Network, Inc., Los Angeles, CA  Lead Clinican

  • · Hands-on care management for commercial managed care contracts while supervising, auditing and directing licensed clinicians in the care management process.

  • Supervision of after-hours on-call staff. Developed procedures for crisis intervention, critical incidents and risk management for "Warmline” utilized by clients. This included assessment of presenting problem and referrals to appropriate treatment providers for both mental health and substance abuse diagnoses.

  • Worked extensively with senior management in the procuring of new contracts. This often included presentations to potential clients. These included a review of services to be provided and an overview of how this department works with those it serves.

February1988- June 1992 Logan County Youth and Family Services, Guthrie, OK - Shelter Director

  • Responsible for admissions, clinical assessment, individual and family therapy for youth in need of shelter services.
  • Provided therapy for individuals and families participating in the agency’s Drug and Alcohol program and for persons court-ordered into treatment. This included individual, couples, families and IOP group services with emphasis on victims of trauma, various types of abuse and/or neglect.
  • Supervised Child Care Workers who provided around-the-clock supervision of the children and adolescents admitted to shelter care.

  • Interfaced with Child Protective Services and the Department of Public Health Services working with and modifying existing treatment plans and in creating new treatment plans.

  • Served as referral specialist for youth needing treatment in residential care or hospital settings, provided aftercare when these youth were discharged back into their community

  • Taught Parenting Classes to clients court-ordered to attend same.

  • Functioned as community liaison in outreach and educational programs in the local public schools and in fundraising efforts for the shelter

August 1981 – June 1988: Bishop Amat Memorial High School, La Puente, CA Head Counselor

  • Responsible for the creating and implementation of an active counseling program on a campus of 1800 high school students. This program combined academic and personal guidance.

  • Supervised eight counselors.

  • Interfaced with local community service agencies in making referrals for youth in need of treatment.

  • Worked closely with entire staff to identify students whose behavior suggested need for counseling intervention.

  • Headed the school’s Discipline Board. This was a group of staff who reviewed issues and behavioral concerns of students whose parents were mandated to attend along with the student. Our purpose was to reconcile all parties, determine when and where restitution needed to be made and, if all other options failed, expel students from school.

  • Taught Diocesan approved Religion courses for Seniors (Christian Vocation) and Juniors (Morality) in addition to US History for Junior students.

August 1979 – June 1981: Annunciation Elementary School, Arcadia, CA

  • · Teacher, 5th grade students in contained classroom, responsible for all subjects except P.E.
    • Duties included teaching core curriculum, interface with parents, designing specific plans for students with special or remedial needs.
  • February 1973 – June 1975: Teacher and Testing Specialist US Air Force/DOD
    • As a Testing Specialist for the DOD, duties included administration of multiple tests: the CLEP series, the GRE, the TOEFL and other educational measurement testing instruments as well as the provision of information and educational counseling of military personnel.
    • Travel across Europe for the Educational Testing Service to administer tests for foreign exchange student hopefuls.
    • Functioned as replacement teacher for the on-base elementary school
  • June 1971 – January 1973: Probation Officer, Los Angeles Co. Probation Department
    • Worked at MacLaren Hall in El Monte, CA with juveniles not yet adjudicated. Assisted with counseling, problem-solving and group work. Prepared youth for Court testimony. Once their legal status had been determined, assisted with next step options for each youth. This included foster and group home placement, return to parents or relatives or placement in Juvenile Hall.