Heather Humphrey-Leclaire, Ph.D. is a 2020 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dr. Humphrey-Leclaire at her Dissertation Defense.

L-R: Dr. William Matthews, Committee Member, Dr. Elizabeth Holloway, Committee Chair, Dr. Aqeel Tirmizi, Committee Member

Dissertation Committee

  • Elizabeth Holloway, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Aqeel Tirmizi, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • William Matthews, Ph.D., Committee Member


Stigma, Stigma-by-Association, Burnout, Discrimination, Substance Abuse Treatment, Professionalization, Substance Abuse Counselors, Addiction Treatment, Addiction Counselors, Wellness, Recovery, Thriving

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This study used the methodology of a grounded situational analysis to explore the lives of therapists who specialize in addiction. Historians have researched the history of addiction treatment itself and some have identified parallel processes of discrimination, stigma, and stigma by association for therapist and client, but the complex intersectionality between social processes and organizational issues have been largely invisible. In this study, therapists who specialize in addiction (including social workers, clinical mental health counselors, and alcohol and drug counselors) were asked about their sense of how others see them in their role. These conversations made visible the many, enmeshed challenges faced by these therapists and how the process of professionalization, with its promise of validation, has been thwarted by social and organizational processes. This study presents a comprehensive theoretical model of the supports and the problems facing therapists who specialize in addiction and ultimately supports a theory of how to redress these issues in the face of the increased need and resources available during the current opioid epidemic. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, and OhioLINK ETD Center,


Heather Humphrey-Leclaire, Ph.D.

ORCID Scholar ID #: #0000-0001-5218-3687

Heather Humphrey-Leclaire currently works as a therapist who specializes in addiction and the clinical supervisor for Starting Now and an outpatient therapist for the Anna Marsh Behavioral Clinic at the Brattleboro Retreat. She is licensed by the Vermont Board of Allied Mental Health as a clinical mental health counselor (LCMHC) and an alcohol and drug counselor (LADC). She is an accredited clinical supervisor with the American Mental Health Counselors Association (DCMHS) and by the National Board for Certified Counselors as a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). Heather attended Marlboro College, where she received her BA degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in the Classics; as well as Antioch University NE, from which she received her MA in clinical mental health counseling with concentrations in substance abuse counseling and forensics. As a therapist who specializes in addiction, Heather is acutely aware of the unequal treatment of both her clients and her peers in clinical and community settings. She counsels groups, individual adults, couples, and families for psychotherapy at the Retreat.