Building Resilience in your Young Client – It has long been observed that there are certain children who experience better outcomes than others who are subjected to similar adversities, and a significant amount of literature has been devoted to the question of why this disparity exists. Research has largely focused on what has been termed “resilience.” Health professionals are treating an increasing number of children who have difficulty coping with 21st century everyday life. Issues that are hard to deal with include excessive pressure to succeed in school, bullying, divorce, or even abuse at home. This course provides a working definition of resilience and descriptions of the characteristics that may be associated with better outcomes for children who confront adversity in their lives. It also identifies particular groups of children – most notably those with developmental challenges and learning disabilities – who are most likely to benefit from resilience training. The bulk of the course – presented in two sections – offers a wide variety of resilience interventions that can be used in therapy, school, and home settings. Course #30-72 | 2014 | 53 pages | 21 posttest questions
Ethics and Social Media – Is it useful or appropriate (or ethical or therapeutic) for a therapist and a client to share the kinds of information that are routinely posted on Social Networking Services (SNS) like Facebook, Twitter, and others? How are psychotherapists to handle “Friending” requests from clients? What are the threats to confidentiality and therapeutic boundaries that are posed by the use of social media sites, texts, or tweets in therapist-client communication? The purpose of this course is to offer psychotherapists the opportunity to examine their practices in regard to the use of social networking services in their professional relationships and communications. Included are ethics topics such as privacy and confidentiality, boundaries and multiple relationships, competence, the phenomenon of friending, informed consent, and record keeping. A final section offers recommendations and resources for the ethical use of social networking and the development of a practice social media policy. Course #20-75 | 2013 | 28 pages | 14 posttest questions
CE Credit: 2 Hours
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This course addresses a variety of clinical topics, including: Psychopathy important to understand in clinical practice; Is marijuana an appropriate treatment for ADD/ADHD?; Internet pornography addiction cause discomfort to some therapists…
Course #20-67 | 2012 | 28 pages | 15 posttest questions
Professional Development Resources is approved as a provider of continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB #1046); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC#5590); the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Association of Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC #000279); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR #PR001); the Continuing Education Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA #AAUM); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA #3159); and various state licensing boards.
The number of children/adolescents diagnosed with neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders has risen dramatically since the mid-1990s. This has been in tandem with the increased use of psychotropic medications, often multiple agents (“drug cocktails”) as the mainstay of intervention.
Research supports both the “underdiagnosis” and “overdiagnosis” of mental health disorders in children/adolescents, with the exception of the good evidence-based support for medication management in cases of primary attention deficit disorder, which are not associated with significant co-morbidity.
One thing is certain – most children/adolescents with one or more mental health diagnoses who are treated, frequently for extended periods with various “drug cocktails,” are not receiving intensive diagnostic evaluations.
More specifically, “drive-by” assessments in primary care and mental health settings have become an acceptable standard of care while comprehensive psychological/neuropsychological testing and psychoeducational evaluation are clearly the exception.
There are several reasons for the significant underutilization of detailed psycho-diagnostic testing. First, many parents and other consumers of mental health care as well as health care professionals and specialists, regrettably including far too many child psychiatrists, have limited knowledge regarding psychometric assessment.
A second factor is the steadily worsening “pass the buck” phenomena in special education and behavioral health care. Public schools are overwhelmed with the number of students referred for evaluation and most special education departments do not have the staffing or expertise to perform proper assessments in many cases.
Additionally, syndromes such as ADD, which are arguably better conceptualized as psychoeducational conditions than medical illnesses, continue to fall under the purview of medical professionals for diagnosis and treatment, which limits the assessment role played by school departments.
Third, managed care plans remain reluctant to approve authorization for testing conducted by community-based psychologists employed in clinics, hospitals and private practice. Authorization for evaluation of neurodevelopmental conditions – learning disorders and ADD are routinely denied.
When authorizations are approved, the time and payment allotted for the evaluation are typically so limited that psychologists are often given the draconian choice of providing an inadequate and ethically dubious assessment or declining to take the case. Pediatricians, other primary care physicians and medical specialists – notably psychiatrists and neurologists – involved in the assessment and treatment of childhood mental health disorders, have done little to advocate for more adequate authorizations from insurance companies for psychodiagnostic testing.
A collaborative cost-sharing model involving parents, special education departments and community-based clinicians can lead to the timely completion of comprehensive clinical evaluations.
Special education departments could agree to provide assessment within traditional areas of expertise – intelligence and academic skills evaluation, parent and teacher rating scale assessment, socio-emotional testing, speech/language, occupational therapy and physical therapy evaluations.
Community-based psychologists would complete any needed additional evaluation. This could involve administration of neuropsychological tests and, as needed, more in-depth socio-emotional assessment and an evaluation of family functioning.
Fees for record reviews and attendance at psychoeducational planning meetings would be paid to the psychologist by the school department, the family or cost-shared between the two parties.
This model is most clearly indicated for children/adolescents with complicated clinical histories and behavioral symptoms associated with impaired school achievement/functioning. Many of these cases fall within the pervasive developmental disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, major affective/mood and/or psychotic spectrums.
For a subset of these children, there may be additional questions about risk of self-harm and/or harm to others. These types of cases pose significant challenges for parents and school staff in terms of the completion of an affordable in-depth assessment.
Special education departments, parents and community-based psychologists are strongly encouraged to forge stronger alliances around the issue of how to make top-notch clinical assessments readily available and affordable for children and their families. The medical community is encouraged to step up advocacy and to become more familiar with use of psychometric assessment.
Professional Development Resources allows you the flexibility to earn CEU credits at your own pace and according to your own schedule, wherever you are. You can explore courses, register, study, take exams and earn your accredited continuing education units all online. And getting started earning CEUs is easy…
Recently, an article appeared in the New York Times reporting on the use of marijuana for treating children with ADD/ADHD. The Times article is just one of several that have been popping up since medical marijuana initiatives have been passed in a handful of states.
Initially, the use of marijuana to treat pain and suffering related to the side effects of chemotherapy and to increase appetite in HIV patients were used as the rationale for the medical marijuana initiatives. Now, however, a patient can get a prescription for almost any type of complaint. Anxiety, depression and other behavioral disorders are at the top of the complaint list, so it is not surprising that more disorders are being added to the list.
The Pharmacology of Marijuana
Briefly, marijuana is of the plant genus Cannabis. There are at least 66 active compounds found in marijuana but the most psychoactive compound is delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The human brain contains several groups of cannabinoid receptors where they are concentrated and distributed in different areas. These receptors are activated by the neurotransmitter anandamide, which THC mimics.
The main neuropsychological effects of THC and, perhaps the other 65 identified compounds, are on short-term memory, coordination, learning and problem solving. Physical endurance and performance functions also are affected by cannabinoids. THC is recognized as a very powerful psychoactive compound.
Drugs and Paradoxical Reaction
The foundational premise related to the medication treatment of attention deficit symptoms is rooted in the concept of paradoxical reaction. That is, these patients seem to react contrary to the mechanism of action for the class of drugs. Psychostimulants, for example, activate, produce heightened alertness, increased energy, appetite suppression and sometimes euphoria.
The main symptoms of ADD/ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Psychostimulants, as a class of drug, should enhance many of the negative behaviors that are seen in ADD/ADHD, but behaviorally they do not. This is an example of paradoxical reaction.
Marijuana, generally, decreases alertness, memory, hyperactivity and impulsivity. It increases appetite and is a euphoric. The paradoxical reactions to marijuana may include heightened awareness and performance, paranoia, depression, anxiety, increased activity and impulsivity. Advocates of marijuana, such as psychiatrist Dr. Leonard Grinspoon, say that they would have no hesitation in giving youngsters with ADHD a trial of oral marijuana.
Moreover, they assert, “for some kids, it appears to be more effective than traditional treatments.” They also contend that marijuana has fewer potential dangers and side effects than the psychostimulants.
However, if psychostimulants do hold an edge over marijuana, it is that these drugs are standardized as to their composition, potency, dose and experience? Presently, there is no standardized marijuana compound, unless one wants to include Marinol, a drug synthesized from cannabis which is not under consideration as a treatment option.
Potency of marijuana varies significantly from plant to plant, region of origin and potency, among other variables. Moreover, there is no real control over the concentration of the other compounds found in marijuana, which clearly affect the mechanism of action of THC. Lastly, there is no control over potential adulteration through additives.
A Paradoxical Reaction to a Paradoxical Reaction
Without trying to use a play on words, it is easy to see that whatever the drug of choice, paradoxical reaction brings into question the entire treatment of ADD/ADHD with all medications. Adding marijuana into the mix, in my opinion, is questionable, at best.
There may be many good medical uses for marijuana but we need solid research and data to find out what they might be to justify its use in children and adults. There is sufficient data that casts significant doubt on the diagnoses of ADD/ADHD. There is a significant body of data that supports behavioral interventions as a first line treatment of these symptoms.
The common psyhopharmacological treatment for attention deficit disorders is psychostimulants, but there is a growing body of data on the potential danger of psychostimulants. Ritalin, Concerta and Strattera typically are the drugs of choice prescribed by physicians and psychiatrists.
Adding marijuana to the current list of medication options is very premature. Before even considering marijuana, it seems to me that the current use of psychostimulants also should be scrutinized as a treatment option. Many of the patients that I have treated after being referred for ADD/ADHD had long standing but undiscovered sleep disorders. Not surprisingly, psychostimulants do produce gains in performance with these patients. For too long many have accepted that ADD/ADHD are established conditions that need medical as opposed to behavioral treatment.
To date, not a solitary cause has yet been identified for ADHD. ADHD will likely prove to be an umbrella term for a number of behavioral and/or neurologically based disorders.
Furthermore, there hasn’t been any identified cause specific to ADD leaving open the likelihood that ADD may be a catch-all condition. The National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that there is no known biological basis for ADHD.
The more we review the literature on hyperactivity or ADD, the less certain we are as to what it is or whether it really exists as a standalone disorder. So, at issue, is not only the question of marijuana as a potential treatment for attention deficit problems, but should the use of psychostimulants in children also be re-evaluated?
Given the myriad, unknown pharmacological variables involved in the mechanism of action of marijuana, I believe that marijuana, at this time, is not and should not be taken as a serious treatment option for attention deficit symptoms.
Medical Marijuana is a 3-hour online CEU course that presents a summary of the current literature on the various medical, legal, educational, occupational, and ethical aspects of marijuana.
Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for all programs and content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.
When a client enters your office complaining of internet pornography addiction, your first response may be to run, hide from him or to refer him to another therapist. For many therapists discomfort in dealing with sexual issues will keep them from asking the most important question: “What kind of internet pornography are you viewing?”
Consider the difference in the pathology of the patient viewing videos of women being degraded and humiliated or other exploitive forms of pornography such as child porn or elder erotica (sometimes referred to as “granny porn”). The patient may be viewing consensual “vanilla” sex, “wife swapping” or voyeuristic websites.
For many individuals, the type of pornography that they are viewing may be reflective of a past trauma or deep-seated psychological issue, or it may tell a story about their sexual development. Our early childhood years can be formative for our developing sexuality.
Many clinicians use the term “arousal template” to describe an individual’s erotic map – or what it is they are stimulated by or attracted to. The arousal template includes things such as body types, partner characteristics, behaviors, sex acts, objects and settings that cause sexual pleasure for an individual.
For example, if one of your first sexual experiences included oral sex, this could be a powerful element on your arousal template. It is not uncommon for individuals who have arousal templates that are considered “deviant” to have experienced childhood trauma that distorted their sexuality at an early age.
The internet affords the opportunity for people to explore the far reaches of their sexuality, including viewing and/or participating in behaviors that they would be afraid to indulge in an intimate relationship. Cybersex users can explore new powerful templates that, when viewed repeatedly, can be strengthened and fixated. This is especially dangerous when the arousal template is unhealthy, such as child pornography.
The reality is that most therapists are unaware of the genres of pornography and the numerous typologies of fetish behaviors that exist online. Additionally, therapists may be uncomfortable exploring these issues with their clients. When this occurs, important assessment information is missed and clients are unable to process traumatic issues around their sexuality that may be confusing for them.
It is helpful for clinicians to have a general understanding of the common types of internet porn, so that they can ask pertinent questions during the assessment process.
Professional Development Resources has partnered with The National Psychologist to develop a timely new ‘practice tips’ series of online continuing education courses for psychologists, counselors, social workers and MFTs. These new 2-hour online courses address a variety of clinical topics, written by ‘experts’ in the prospective fields.
Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the Florida Board of Psychology and the Office of School Psychology and is CE Broker compliant (#50-1635).