Full Course Description

Managing Challenging Patient Behaviors: 101 De-escalation Strategies for Healthcare Professionals

Expert Clinician Sonata Bohen, a psychiatric nurse practitioner and NEI Master Psychopharmacologist, knows well the challenges you are facing in practice right now. In today’s healthcare environment, there is reduced staffing and increased (at times the seemingly unrealistic) demands from patients, family members and other visitors can all contribute to burnout. Adding to the complicating factors, you are continually expected to achieve optimal patient outcomes, ensure safety and quality goals, and strive for even higher levels on satisfaction scores.

In this interactive seminar, expert clinician, Sonata will provide you with practical tips and tools that you can use immediately when faced with challenging patient and family behaviors. This program includes practical strategies to help you cope with difficult situations like crisis intervention, ETOH withdrawals, dementia, aggressive/violent behaviors, threats of serious harm, de-escalation techniques while maintaining patient and staff safety. The day will be filled with opportunities to apply many of these strategies through real patient situations, case studies and interactive discussions. Don’t miss this chance to learn new techniques you can implement successfully with your most difficult patients!

Program Information


  1. Determine criteria for high-risk behavior.
  2. Apply interpersonal effectiveness skills to patient evaluation.
  3. Analyze effective strategies to de-escalate dangerous behavior.
  4. Assess for the symptoms of major mental illness that interfere with treatment.
  5. Evaluate the effectiveness of your communication skills to de-escalate aggressive behavior.
  6. Develop skills in rapid triage and response.


Rule Out a Medical Cause

  • High glucose levels
  • Adverse response to medications
  • Aggressive response due to prescribed steroids
Risk for Dangerous Patient Encounters
  • Priority is safety
  • Understanding the behaviors
  • Mechanisms for coping
  • Strategies to deal with the angry patient
Healthcare Goals
  • Treatment focused
  • Do no harm
  • Clear boundaries
Evaluating the Patient
  • Ask the right questions
  • What motivates the patient
  • Motivational interviewing: Asking, listen, inform
  • Engage patients in focused communication
  • Listen with empathy
  • Empower the patient
Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills
  • Self-awareness
  • What type of communicator are you?
  • Reciprocal communication strategies
  • Clinician self-care
Understanding Challenging Symptoms
  • Know your limits
  • Key considerations for chronic & severe mental illness
  • Engage the family constructively
Severe Mental Illness
  • Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective disorders
  • Substance-induced psychosis
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depression
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
Disorders with Unique Risk
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Delirium
  • Dementia
  • Substance abuse
  • Special considerations for violent patients
Acute Crisis
  • Sexual assault
  • Domestic violence
  • Suicidal ideation & risk
Debriefing and Care for the Responder
  • Protection against secondary PTSD

Target Audience

  • Nurses
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists
  • Physician Assistants
  • Nursing Home Administrators
  • Social Workers
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physical Therapists

Copyright : 09/28/2021

Psychopharmacology of Trauma for Mental Health & Healthcare Professionals

You’ve seen clients and patients come in with a laundry list of medications and multiple diagnoses – PTSD, depression, anxiety and more.

Whether you’re a therapist, social worker, nurse or other healthcare practitioner knowing the in-and-outs of how trauma and comorbid mental health problems effect the brain and are impacted by medication is essential to your work.

In simple, easy-to-understand modules you’ll walk away with:

  • In-depth knowledge to enhance communication with treatment teams
  • Essentials of trauma’s impact on the brain and what it means for your work
  • Mastery of how medications interact with neurotransmitters to better understand medication function
  • Expertise on commonly prescribed medications, including side effects, benefits, side-by-side comparison of medications - including when and why they’re prescribed
  • Conjunctive strategies, lifestyle interventions & more!

Give your clients and patients the highest standard of care – learn the psychopharmacology of one of the most challenging and common clinical presentations, trauma and its comorbidities.

Program Information


  1. Build foundational understanding of trauma including development and comorbidities.
  2. Build framework for understanding how trauma impacts the brain development and function.
  3. Investigate how neurotransmitters and medication interact and impact clients afflicted with trauma symptoms.
  4. Evaluate commonly utilized psychotropic medications, including adverse effects, applications, interactions and brain pathways utilized.
  5. Assess non-pharmaceutical interventions in treatment planning.


Trauma Epidemiology 

  • Thinking outside the box
  • The 4 steps of HELP 
  • Types of trauma
    • ACES
  • Manifestations of trauma
  • Symptoms, maladaptive coping
  • Adaptation responses & influencing factors
  • Pathology v learned resilience
  • Co-occurring disorders
  • Trauma & PDs
Laying the Foundation for Medication: Trauma and the brain 
  • Neurobiology of trauma
    • Stress and the developing brain
    • Personal narrative
    • Science of perception
    • Diagnostic Criteria for PTSD
  • Affected pathways/Brain regions affected by stress & trauma
    • Mechanisms 
    • Neurotransmitters and neurotransmission as it relates to medications used in trauma & comorbid conditions 
    • Serotonin, NE, DA, GABA, etc.
    • Easy-to-follow charts of pathways
    • Agonist spectrum
Psychopharmacology: Adverse effects, how they vary & knowing when a client is appropriate for referral:
  • Antidepressants – SSRIs & more
  • Anxiety medications
  • Anxiolytics 
  • Mood stabilizers 
  • Antipsychotics 
  • Frequent manifestations of trauma and pharmacological treatments. 
  • Sleep & nightmare medications 
Conjunctive Therapies
  • Self-care
  • Care Teams & coordination
  • Non-pharmacological therapies, modalities & more

Target Audience

  • Addiction Counselors
  • Case Managers
  • Counselors
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Other Mental Health Professionals
  • Nurses
  • Advanced Practice Nurses
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists
  • Pharmacists
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician Assistants

Copyright : 05/25/2022

Challenging Geriatric Behaviors

This is the best seminar on challenging geriatric behaviors that you will ever attend - GUARANTEED! Watch Steven Atkinson, nationally-known expert, author and speaker on geriatrics, for a high-energy, dynamic seminar filled with interesting case studies, insightful discussions and interactive learning. You will leave this seminar with practical techniques that you can apply the next day!

Dealing with cognitively-impaired geriatric patients can be challenging even for the experienced healthcare professional. You will learn strategies to manage behaviors such as:

  • Dementia
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Refusal of food and fluids
  • Inappropriate sexual advances

If older adults are routinely under your care, minimize your risk of escalating the problems associated with troublesome, often irrational behavior by attending this program. Gain valuable insights into the causes of challenging geriatric behaviors and learn innovative and practical intervention strategies to improve the care you provide.

Program Information


  1. Develop strategies to manage difficult behaviors in seniors who have an altered perception of reality.
  2. Differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate sexual behaviors in individuals with dementia.
  3. Distinguish between normal sleeping patterns and bedtime issues which could lead to increased health problems.
  4. Analyze the physical and psychological changes that affect an elder’s desire and ability to eat including the changes in nutritional requirements.
  5. Apply current research findings to prevent and slow progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  6. Determine environmental and behavioral triggers of agitation.
  7. Develop strategies to minimize or redirect wandering behavior.


Normal Aging, Dementia, Depression or Delirium

  • Normal aging changes of the mind
  • Depression, dementia, and delirium
  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
  • Diagnose, differentiate, and develop a plan of care
Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Stages
  • Assessment
  • Getting a diagnosis
  • Behavioral issues of early diagnosis
  • Management and interventions
  • Pharmacological treatments
Driving with Dementia
  • Driving safety
  • Legal issues
  • Assess driving abilities
  • How to take the keys away
  • Reasons why cognitively impaired individuals wander
  • Is wandering a bad thing?
  • Issues to consider
  • Manage a wanderer’s behavior

Physical Aggression

  • Identify the cause of aggression
  • Loss of impulse control
  • Regression of the mind/child-like mind
  • Manage the problem

Inappropriate Sexual Behaviors

  • Normal sexual drive or inappropriate behavior
  • Cognitively impaired individuals
  • Medication management
  • Ethical considerations

Refusing to Eat/Forgetting to Eat

  • Reasons why geriatric patients slow or stop eating
  • Nutritional needs in a geriatric patient
  • Improve nutritional status
  • Malnutrition and dehydration
  • Alternatives to eating

Sleepless Nights

  • Sundowning and behavioral problems in the evening
  • Why does sundowning occur?
  • Environmental interventions to decrease aggressive behaviors
  • Medication management when it becomes problematic

Caregiver Stress

  • Physical, psychological, and emotional stress
  • Identify caregiver burnout and ways to help
  • Assist the caregiver

Other Issues

  • Ways to identify potential falls and prevent injury
  • Causes for orthostatic hypotension
  • Ways to avoid using restraints

Case Studies: Learning from Experience and Mistakes

  • How to manage sundowners
  • Strategies to improve hygiene
  • Reassurance and redirection

Target Audience

  • Nurses
  • Physical Therapists
  • Physical Therapist Assistants
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Social Workers
  • Nursing Home Administrators
  • Registered Dietitians & Dietetic Technicians
  • Recreation Therapists

Copyright : 03/07/2022

Working with Trauma Survivors: Critical Variables when Identifying Trauma in Clients for Mental Health & Healthcare Professionals

Whether you’re a therapist or healthcare provider, missing client’s trauma cues can leave them with no path forward in life…

Co-occurring symptoms, complex trauma and other factors muddy the waters even more.

Gain the education to identify and assess critical variables with trauma survivors. Join Robert Lusk, PhD, and get training to:

  • Spot the differences between developmental, complex & other trauma types
  • Simplify diagnosis with updates from DSM-5-TR™
  • Assess for co-occurring disorders
  • Interpret current research for improved clinical outcomes
  • Conceptualize treatment through a trauma phase framework

Don’t miss the signs of trauma – help your clients get the treatment they need from the first visit.

Program Information


  1. Determine the development of trauma and a trauma treatment framework.
  2. Analyze DSM-5-TR™ criteria and assessment of trauma disorders and comorbidities.
  3. Appraise trauma research and phases of trauma treatment.


Critical Variables in Clinical Work with Trauma Survivors 

  • Risk Factors for worse effects of trauma
    • Personal risk factors
    • Event-related risk factors
      • Big T vs. little t trauma and toxic stress
    • Recovery environment factors
      • Survival Mode
      • Helping clients without physical/emotional safety
      • Developmental factors & complex trauma
      • Current research
  • Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders: Main symptoms & common pitfalls
    • A new disorder in 2022: Prolonged Grief Disorder
    • My “favorite” trauma diagnosis
    • Dissociative Disorders
    • Assessment skills & scales 
    • Managing co-occurring disorders
    • DSM-5-TR™ diagnostic criteria & how to use it
  • Trauma symptoms commonly addressed in treatment 
    • NCTSN data (Youth)
    • Adult samples
      • Effects of trauma
    • Common effects and problems in addition to PTSD (including the pandemic)
    • 5 Common trajectories of trauma symptoms 
    • Prevalence of trauma and PTSD
    • Phases of treatment

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Therapists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Physicians
  • Physicians Assistants
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

Copyright : 07/19/2022