Erin Tinnon, MSW, LCSW

Erin Tinnon, MSW, LCSW is a therapist, consultant, strategist, and trainer who works with organizations and individuals to increase their capacity to serve and support survivors and other oppressed groups, to build anti-oppressive organizational work cultures, to engage in transformative justice and alternatives to state-based responses to violence and harm, to utilize harm reduction strategies and practices, to become trauma-informed organizations, and to practice accountability to the communities they serve and to each other. Erin’s practice centers and draws from the principles and movements of harm reduction, transformative justice, racial justice, disability justice, healing justice, queer and trans* liberation, environmental justice, anti-white supremacy, and anti-imperialism. 

Erin collaborates with consulting clients to clarify their values and implement changes in order for them to act in alignment with those values, including developing new policies and practices, addressing structural inequalities and power imbalances within the organization, implementing evaluation and accountability models, and moving strategically within and alongside oppressive systems, fields, and standards. Erin supports and trains individuals and teams to grow their leadership skills, challenge and be accountable to their own power, and track and evaluate their development over time. Erin prioritizes conflict resolution and relational repair as a core strategy to accomplish structural values alignment and build capacity.

In a clinical context, Erin practices Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and other somatic psychotherapies, in addition to a blend of Feminist and Cultural Relational Psychotherapies with adult clients who have experienced trauma. Erin works to integrate an anti-oppressive framework into their work with clinical clients and in the broader field of mental health services through training and workshops.

Erin brings over 20 years of experience working with trauma survivors, folks using substances and in recovery, and LGBTQ2SIA+ identified folks in individual and community contexts, providing direct service, advocacy, organizing, community accountability, and anti-violence education in Illinois and Michigan.

Erin has guided organizations to advance their work at the intersection of substance use and survival of violence and offered technical assistance about how to incorporate support for survivors who are using substances in a shelter context. Erin has worked on developing and writing a number of toolkits and guidelines about supporting survivors who are using substances; in support of survivors experiencing substance use coercion; and about creating more accessible, culturally responsive, and trauma-informed organizations. Most recently, Erin wrote a toolkit on supporting survivors who use substances called Support Instead of Stigma: Using Harm Reduction to Support Survivors of Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Who Use Substances.

Erin has also led and supported a number of national campaigns and coalitions working to end violence against their communities. Erin co-created and facilitated the first national coalition of people working to support survivors who are engaged in or recovering from substance use, and has supported national coalitions working at the intersection of survival and disability to integrate intersectionality and racial justice alongside their anti-violence strategies.

Other examples of current or recent consulting clients include supporting state-wide organizations against intimate partner and sexual violence, behavioral and mental health service providers, universities, and organizations working on abolition and decarceration.

At the roots of Erin’s career, they worked with LGBTQ2SIA+ communities, youth affected with homelessness, young people in the sex trade and street economies, and with youth working to end violence in their communities and relationships. As a community organizer and youth worker, Erin helped develop Chicago’s first city-wide Transformative Justice Teach-In, bringing hundreds of folks from across the city and country to discuss meaningful ways to integrate transformative justice in our lives and work. Erin also co-created and ran a city-wide anti-white supremacy action and education group that worked with organizers and community leaders throughout Chicago to navigate the work of racial accountability and to destabilize white supremacy in our lives and movements. 

Erin studied Women’s and Gender Studies and Psychology at DePaul University as an undergraduate and graduate student, where they began to engage with anti-oppressive politics, feminism and womanism, and discovered a passion for anti-violence and justice-based work. Erin completed a Masters in Women’s and Gender Studies with a thesis focused on supporting survivors who use substances. In 2014, Erin attained a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan in Interpersonal Practice and Communities and Social Systems with a Specialist in Aging Certificate while focusing a lot of clinical, policy, and research energy on exploring the intersection of gender, violence, substance use, and social justice.