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Psychopharmacology: General and Disorder-Specific Ethical and Clinical Considerations

15 CE Credit Hours - Online Course - $129.00

Developed by Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

This course was produced in collaboration between Taylor & Francis, PLC and the Zur Institute, Inc.. The Zur Institute, Inc. maintains responsibility for this continuing education program and its content.

Course fulfills the Psychological Testing requirement for CA LMFT applicants with out-of-state education.

Course materials: text/webpage Articles

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General Course Description

As the trends toward medicalization and medication for mental disorders grow, psychologists, counselors, marriage and family therapists and social workers must expand their knowledge of psychopharmacology. When appropriate, they communicate with prescribing physicians. They also need to educate themselves regarding the pros and cons of using medications and to help clients, when necessary, communicate with their prescribing physicians. It is often helpful for the psychotherapist to communicate directly with the prescribing physician, especially with more vulnerable clients, such as the children, and the seriously mental ill, who are more likely to be over-diagnosed and have their meds inadequately monitored. Psychotherapists can do this effectively only if they, themselves, understand the advantages, pitfalls, interaction effects and other complexities of psychotropic medications.

This 15 CE intermediate level course consists of three parts. Part One presents shared decision-making models between patients and physicians and presents ethical and clinical guidelines concerning prescribing medications. Part Two discusses recent advances in medications for bipolar disorder, the ongoing controversy over the effectiveness of antidepressants for treating depression and the use of antidepressants for pregnant or lactating women. Part Three discusses ADHD medications for children and adolescents. Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach the participant to:

1.    Describe the CommonGround model of decision making about medications between physicians and patients

2.    Describe a communication-centered epistemic model of shared decision-making between physicians and patients

3.    Describe how prescribing patterns with vulnerable populations differ from prescribing patterns with other patients

4.    Discuss patients' reactions and concerns about medications

5.    Discuss the complex relationship between diagnosis and prescribing medications

6.    Discuss whether the effectiveness of antidepressant medications is fundamentally a placebo effect

7.    Describe the special considerations when prescribing medications for children and adolescents

8.    Evaluate recent developments in medications for bipolar disorder

9.    Discuss how antidepressants have altered depressed people's view of their self

10.    Discuss considerations about prescribing antidepressants for pregnant or lactating women

11.    Discuss the controversies surrounding increased diagnosis of ADHD

12.    Describe mothers' views of ADHD medications

13.    Describe the concept of the neurochemical self

14.    Discuss the mechanisms of ADHD medications

15.    Discuss the mechanisms of bipolar and antidepressant medications

Course Syllabus

Shared decision-making models between physicians and consumers regarding treatment and medications

  • CommonGround
  • Epistemic model

Issues concerning psychotropics for vulnerable populations

Over-prescribing

Inadequate monitoring

Prescribing for children, adolescents, the elderly and seriously mentally ill

Emerging medications for bipolar disorder

Controversies concerning antidepressants

  • Effectiveness versus placebo
  • Replacing traditional sense of self with neurochemical self
  • Prescribing for pregnant or lactating women

Medications for ADHD

  • Do we over-prescribe for ADHD?
  • Is ADHD over-diagnosed?
  • Mothers' views of ADHD medications for their children
  • Comparison of methylphenidate and atomoxetine
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