Full Course Description

Psychopharmacology: Essential Information for Mental Health Professionals

Dr. Kenneth Carter, a board certified clinical psychologist with a Master’s degree in clinical psychopharmacology, shares his clinical experience and training to provide detailed information about the range of common medications prescribed for mental health conditions. You will get the latest information on antidepressants, anxiolytics, and common medications for insomnia and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder among others. Through lecture, the examination of multi-disciplinary ethics codes and real case examples, you will take a close look at the ethical decisions that accompany medication use and the non-prescriber's role and limits with regards to medication discussions with your patients.

Dr. Carter answers questions from providers in the field and walks through examples of practical clinical discussions that come up every day in practice, including how to discuss scope of practice with your patients in order to optimize their care when working with multiple providers. The goal is for you to leave better prepared to communicate with your clients as well as the prescribers, as Dr. Carter instructs you on how the medications work, their benefits, and the side effects and dangerous reactions associated with them.

Program Information


  1. Discuss the proper role of mental health professionals who treat clients receiving both psychotherapeutic medications and psychotherapy.
  2. Describe specific ethical issues and resolutions related to communicating with clients and prescribing professionals about psychotropic medications.
  3. Explain the neurotransmitter systems and neuroanatomy underlying the biological basis for mental disorders and pharmacotherapy.
  4. Identify the major classes of drugs used to treat mental disorders and which mental disorders are appropriately treated with each class of drugs.
  5. Describe adverse effects and drug reactions of the commonly prescribed psychotropic medications and when to alert the prescriber about them.
  6. Analyze the role that half-life plays in the efficacy of insomnia medications prescribed for clients and how it may affect behavioral interventions.


MEDS 101

  • Case study
  • Reasons to be knowledgeable about psychiatric medications
  • Lessons from other disciplines
  • Pharmacy
  • Nursing
  • Ethics guidelines
  • The common questions clients have about their medications
  • Handling differences of opinion between yourself and a prescribing professional
  • Organization of the nervous system
  • Structure of the neuron
  • Communication between neurons
  • How medicines interact with the nervous system
  • Neurobiology
  • SSRIs and SNRIs
  • Mechanism of action
  • Benefits and adverse reactions
  • Medications in these categories
  • Case Study
  • DSM-5® anxiety categories
  • Deconstructionist approach taken by prescribers
  • Neurobiology
  • SRRIs and Benzodiazepines
  • Mechanism of action
  • Benefits and adverse reactions
  • Medications in these categories
  • Case study
  • Monotherapy
  • Lithium, anticonvulsants, and 2nd generation antipsychotics
  • Mechanism of action
  • Benefits and adverse reactions
  • Medications in these categories
  • Case study
  • Neurobiology
  • Methylphenidate and amphetamine
  • Mechanism of action
  • Delivery systems
  • Benefits and adverse reactions
  • Medications in these categories
  • Case study
  • Psychosis symptoms
  • Neurobiology
  • 1st and 2nd generation
  • Antipsychotics
  • Mechanism of action
  • Benefits and adverse reactions
  • Medications in these categories
  • Case study
  • Causes and treatments for insomnia
  • Medications for insomnia
  • Half-life
  • Benefits and adverse reactions
  • Case study

Copyright : 06/03/2021

Psychopharmacology Update: Medications, the Brain, and Behavior

Does this sound familiar? Your clients are taking multiple psychotropic medications prescribed by different healthcare professionals. You discover that they have no idea who wrote which prescription or why they are even taking the medication. You realize that despite the confusion, you still have a responsibility to know your client’s symptoms, reactions to medications, and to coordinate their care. It’s more critical than ever for mental health professionals to understand how psychotropic medications work, where in the body they work, and why they do (or don’t) improve your client’s therapeutic outcomes.

Are you confident in your role as both the patient advocate and protector to effectively address medication-assisted treatments in your overall care plan?

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from an expert in this recording. N. Bradley Keele, Ph.D., has over 20 years of psychopharmacology research experience and teaches clinical neuroscience and psychopharmacology at Baylor University. He will guide you through the newest advances and contemporary trends in blending medication management with psychotherapy interventions for anxiety, PTSD, depression, psychotic disorders, and more. You’ll finish with the knowledge you need to answer clients’ questions, manage side effects, understand medication reactions, and improve your treatment outcomes.

Program Information


  1. Evaluate the clinical uses of the major psychotropic medication classes, including their efficacy and common side effects.
  2. Integrate effective methods to collaborate with patients and prescribers on issues surrounding compliance with medication treatments.
  3. Categorize the potential benefits and risks of using psychotropic medication to treat a wide array of conditions.
  4. Analyze adverse effects and drug reactions of commonly prescribed psychotropic medications and when to alert the prescriber about them.
  5. Investigate current controversies in psychopharmacology, including the use of medications to treat certain conditions in children and adolescents.
  6. Practice selecting the correct medication regiment for patients based on the various treatment algorithms.


Precision Medicine in Psychiatry

  • Evidence-based precision medicine and why we need it
  • Biomarkers and endophenotypes in classifying and understanding mental illness
    • The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) framework
  • The future of psychopharmacology
”Nuts and Bolts” of Psychopharmacology
  • Pharmacokinetics
    • Administration, distribution, elimination mechanisms
  • Pharmacodynamics
    • Receptor affinity, drug potency, & efficacy
Functional Neuroanatomy
  • Prefrontal cortex and the control of subcortical circuits
  • Positive & negative valence emotional systems
  • The hypothalamus and control of stress hormones
  • Neurotransmission: targets of psychoactive substances
    • Synthesis, release, receptors, & inactivation
Anxiolytics and Other Medications to Treat Anxiety & PTSD
  • Transmitter systems implicated in anxiety
  • Medications used to treat anxiety
    • Benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines
  • Pros and cons of using benzodiazepines
  • Discontinuing long-term benzodiazepine use
  • Medical marijuana and anxiety
  • Special populations – children/adolescents, pregnancy
Antidepressant Medications
  • The biological basis of major depressive disorder
    • The neurotropic hypothesis
  • The major classes of antidepressant medications
    • Mechanisms of action & side effects
  • The 5 newest antidepressants
  • Emerging pharmacotherapies – ketamine and other psychedelics
  • Medical marijuana and major depressive disorder
  • How to choose an antidepressant, augmentation strategies
  • The use of antidepressants in children and adolescents: a cost-benefit analysis
  • Antidepressants during pregnancy
The Use of Atypical Antipsychotics in Psychosis and Bipolar Disorder
  • The pathophysiology of schizophrenia
  • What makes an atypical antipsychotic “atypical”?
    • Mechanism of action of atypical antipsychotics
    • Therapeutic effects and side effects
  • The use of atypical antipsychotics to manage schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
  • Special populations – children/adolescents, pregnancy

Copyright : 04/17/2020

Mastering Differential Diagnosis with the DSM-5: A Symptom-Based Approach

Take your DSM-5® diagnostic skills to the next level! This advanced seminar is designed specifically for mental health professionals seeking to master clinical diagnosis and differential diagnosis using the DSM-5®, ICD-10 and online assessment tools. The focus of this workshop is on the key symptoms for each diagnosis, common differential diagnoses and frequent comorbid disorders of anxiety, depressive, trauma-related, substance-related, psychotic and neurodevelopmental disorders. Case examples and studies are provided throughout - giving you the opportunity to learn and apply a four-step symptoms-based diagnostic method. Topics include the clinical intake interview, differential diagnoses, online assessment tools to narrow diagnosis and potential comorbidities.

Don’t forget to have your DSM-5® manual handy!

Program Information


  1. Conduct a four-step diagnostic process to accurately identify and code a client’s diagnosis.
  2. Investigate common differential DSM-5 diagnoses for clients with anxiety, depressive, or abnormal cognitive symptoms.
  3. Differentiate between overlapping symptoms and comorbid conditions in order to provide the correct diagnosis.
  4. Analyze differential diagnoses for clients who present with disruptive behavior.
  5. Collect the specific information required for an accurate differential DSM-5 diagnosis of clients with a history of trauma.
  6. Utilize the DSM-5® severity tables, assessment tools, and coding notes to improve the accuracy of diagnosis and ICD-10 coding.


Quick Review of Using the DSM-5 and ICD-10

  • Diagnosis of Mental Disorders in the U.S.A.
    • Use of Two Models, DSM-5 and ICD-10
    • DSM-5 and ICD-10 Coding and Recording
  • Web-based DSM-5 Resources
    • Digital Updates
    • DSM-5 Cross-Cutting Symptom Measures and Screening Tools
Four Step Diagnostic Method
  • Case 1: Client with Multiple Problems
  • Steps to a DSM-5 Diagnosis
    • Step 1: Gathering Client Information and Behavior Sample
    • Step 2: Identifying Key DSM-5 Symptom Clusters
    • Step 3: Differential Diagnosis List
    • Step 4: Initial DSM-5 Diagnosis
  • Comorbidity considerations
Differential DSM-5 Diagnosis Challenges
  • Clients with Experiences of Trauma or Psychosocial Stress
    • Case 6: A Brave Firefighter
    • Essential Information about the Client’s Trauma History
    • Differential Diagnosis: Trauma-Related
    • Differential Diagnosis: Does Not Meet Diagnostic Criteria Set for PTSD
    • Frequent Comorbid Disorders
  • Clients with Disruptive Behaviors
    • Disruptive Behavior Symptoms
    • Diagnostic Challenge: Case 5: Natalia is a Problem
    • Substance-Related and Medical conditions associated with Disruptive Behaviors
    • Differential Diagnosis by Patterns of Disruptive Behavior
    • Defiant, Angry and Vindictive Impulsive and/or Antisocial
Differential DSM-5 Diagnosis for Common Presenting Symptoms
  • Clients with Symptoms of Depression
    • Key Symptoms of Depression and Dysphoria
    • Substance-Related and Medical conditions with Depressive Symptoms
    • Mental Disorders with Symptoms of Depression
    • Diagnosis Challenge Case 2: A Sad, Overwhelmed Client
    • Differentiating Disorders with Symptoms of Depression
    • Frequent Comorbid Disorders
  • Clients with Fear and Anxiety
    • Key Symptom Patterns of Anxiety
    • Substance-Related and Medical Conditions with Anxiety Symptoms
    • Mental Disorders with Symptoms of Anxiety
    • Diagnosis Challenge Case 3: Fearful and Worried Client
    • Specific Differential Diagnoses
    • Frequent Comorbid Disorders
  • Clients with Abnormal or Impaired Cognition
    • Diagnostic Challenge: Case 4: Is She Crazy or Clairvoyant?
    • Sorting Patterns of Psychosis
    • DSM-5 Mental Disorders with Psychosis Symptoms
    • Substance-Related and Medical Conditions that Produce Cognitive Deficits
    • Differential Diagnosis when Cognitive Deficits as a Key Symptom

Copyright : 02/12/2021

Psychopharmacology for Mental Health Professionals

Most clients with DSM-5® diagnoses are being treated with a combination of psychological and pharmacological treatments. Newer drugs are being developed to treat mental disorders based on a better understanding of neurobiological contributions to mental disorders and the latest pharmacological research. To provide appropriate services, you are expected to have a thorough understanding of these common and complex issues. As a mental health professional, keeping up-to-date is essential.

This seminar will update and increase your knowledge of:

  • Neurobiological underpinnings of major DSM-5® diagnoses
  • Effects and side effects of drugs used to treat these diagnoses
  • Responsibilities of the non-prescribing therapist to clients taking psychiatric medication

Specifics of the pharmacological treatment and drugs of choice for Depressive, Bipolar, Schizophrenia Spectrum, Anxiety, OCD, Sleep-Wake, ADHD and Neurocognitive disorders will be presented. Unique to this seminar is information on the common types of psychotherapeutic drugs and other drugs that are abused, and methods for prevention and early detection. Throughout the day, representative case studies will generate discussion and examination of the latest drug treatment for DSM-5® disorders. You will leave this program with knowledge and confidence regarding effective and safe application of pharmacological drugs.

Program Information


  1. Communicate the neurotransmitter systems and neuroanatomy underlying the biological basis for mental disorders and pharmacotherapy.
  2. Evaluate the role of mental health professionals who treat clients receiving both psychotherapeutic medications and psychotherapy.
  3. Analyze the major classes of drugs used to treat mental disorders and which mental disorders are appropriately treated with each class of drugs.
  4. Analyze the effects and side effects of various psychotropic medications, including antipsychotics, antidepressants, benzodiazepines and anticonvulsants.
  5. Determine the abuse liability of drugs used in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, pain and ADHD.
  6. Implement methods for prevention and early identification of prescription drug abuse among clients.


Psychopharmacological Foundations
Core Pharmacological Principles

  • Brain structures & circuits involved in:
    • Emotional regulation
    • Executive function & inhibitory control
    • Reward & pleasure
    • Learning & memory
  • Receptors and neurotransmitters important in the actions of psychopharmacological agents
    • Biogenic amines
    • Excitatory & inhibitory neurotransmitters
    • Endorphins & endocannabinoids
Your role in combined psychological & pharmacological treatments
  • Collaboration & communication with prescribing professionals
  • Managing the combined treatments
    • Referrals for medication
    • Client psycho-education
    • Monitoring drug effects & side effects
    • Promoting adherence to combined treatments
Drugs Used in the Treatment of DSM-5® Mental Disorders

Depressive Disorders

  • Neurobiology of depression
  • Drugs used to treat depressive disorders
    • Selective Serotonin Reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
      • Effects, side effects and cautions
      • Suicide risk & discontinuation syndrome
      • Serotonin syndrome
  • Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
    • Effects, side effects, and cautions
  • Atypical antidepressant agents
    • Effects, side effects, and cautions
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
    • Effects, side effects, and cautions
    • Why were newer drugs needed?
  • MAO inhibitors
    • Effects, side effects, and cautions
  • Choosing an antidepressant
  • What if first-line antidepressants do not work?
    • Augmentation with antipsychotics
  • What about herbs like St. John’s Wort?
Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders
  • Biological theories of schizophrenia
  • ”Typical” & “atypical” antipsychotic drugs
    • Effects, side effects & cautions – similarities & differences
  • Latest evidence-based comparisons
  • Drugs for treatment-resistant schizophrenia
  • Other uses of antipsychotic drugs
Bipolar Disorders
  • Biological theories for bipolar disorders
  • Drugs used to treat bipolar disorders
    • A prototype agent – lithium
      • Effects, side effects & cautions
    • Anticonvulsants
      • Effects, side effects & cautions
    • Antipsychotics – approved agents
    • Combination drug therapy
Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive & Sleep-Wake Disorders
  • The neurobiology of anxiety-related disorders
  • The structure of sleep
  • Drugs used in the treatment of anxiety & insomnia
    • Benzodiazepines & Benzodiazepine-like drugs
    • Misuse of these drugs in treatment
    • SSRI’s & other drugs used to treat anxiety
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder & Neurocognitive Disorders (Dementia)
  • ADHD
    • Psycho-stimulants
      • Effects, side effects & cautions
    • Alpha-Adrenergic Agonists
  • Major neurocognitive disorders
    • Drugs used in the treatment of cognitive impairment
    • Future treatments
Prescription Drug Abuse
  • Mental disorders & risk of comorbid prescription drug abuse
  • Classes of drugs that are frequently abused
    • Stimulants
    • Sedative-hypnotics
    • Opiates
  • Strategies for the prevention & early identification of prescription drug abuse
Limitations of the Research and Potential Risks

Copyright : 09/14/2021