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Steps to Active Listening

25 Aug

Course excerpt from Active Listening: Techniques that Work for Children and Parents

Active ListeningOne of the fundamental tools of clinicians who work effectively with children and adolescents in the areas of speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, and counseling is the art of listening. Without this set of skills, clinicians are likely to miss essential pieces of information their clients are trying to communicate to them, whether with words or with behavior.

When the word “active” is added to “listening” it alters and amplifies the communication process to include a dynamic feedback loop in which the speaker and the listener validate that each party has been accurately heard.

Many clinicians, like Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), are trained to help their young clients improve their communication abilities; other clinicians, such as physical therapists and occupational therapists, assist clients with their activities of daily living. Many times children who are having difficulties in various functional areas are also experiencing negative reactions to their developmental, physical and communication challenges. If they do not see themselves as successful in school and with peers, they can begin to perceive themselves negatively and – worse – start to expect failure. Clinicians need skills to help their clients overcome these damaging reactions and help them think positively about their ability to make changes in their lives.

Active listening is a communication technique that is used in counseling, conflict resolution and training, as well as in many other everyday situations. The listener is required to repeat what they hear the speaker say by re-stating directly or paraphrasing. This way, both the speaker and the listener know that their words have been heard and understood by the other, confirming understanding by both parties.

There are three basic steps in the process of active listening:

  1. Body Language: This is key to letting your client know that you are interested in what they have to say. Listen with full attention, eye contact and body language. One can turn to face the child and get down to his eye level. A gentle touch on the shoulder might be helpful. Leaning forward, smiling and nodding all indicate interest. This shows the child that you care and that his problem requires your full attention. Adults also respond to this. Open posture, gentle voice, friendly facial expression, nodding and tilting of the head to the side are some more ways to indicate interest.
  2. Verbal Encouragers: Prompts used to elicit more information from the client such as: “Uh huh,” “Yes,” and “Umm.” This encourages the speaker to continue speaking and feel as though the listener is engaged in what they are saying. Some listening noises are often helpful. It helps the conversation along without being too intrusive. Denton (2015) explains that “when we give a simple acknowledgment…we establish that the words are heard and stand on their own without a need for endorsement or clarification. They are valuable in and of themselves.”
  3. Paraphrasing: This assures the client that you have accurately heard them and allows them to hear, in turn, how someone else perceives them. It is viewed as an empathetic response to their communication, and allows clients to feel heard so they can then expand on their experiences and feelings, giving valuable information to the clinician.


Although active listening is just one aspect of the counseling experience, it may very well be the most important one. According to Luterman (2006), “The counseling relationship is not a conventional one; it places a different set of demands on the professional. It is a relationship that requires deep, selfless listening. The professional must be willing to put aside his or her agenda and listen to the client. Therefore, the professional can have no point of view other than trying to hear and understand where the client is coming from, and in many cases, reflect that back to the client. Within a counseling relationship, there is the understanding that wisdom resides within the client; therefore, all professional judgments are suspended. Because nonjudgmental listening offers a high degree of emotional safety for the client, he or she can begin the process of resolving problems.”

Click here to learn more.

Active Listening: Techniques that Work for Children and ParentsActive Listening: Techniques that Work for Children and Parents is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers a valuable compilation of practical and ready-to-use strategies and techniques for achieving more effective communication through active listening. One of the fundamental tools of clinicians who work effectively with children and adolescents is the art of listening. Without this set of skills, clinicians are likely to miss essential pieces of information their clients are trying to communicate to them, whether with words or with behavior. When the word “active” is added to “listening” it alters and amplifies the communication process to include a dynamic feedback loop in which the speaker and the listener validate that each party has been accurately heard. Appropriate use of listening skills by a clinician can increase self-esteem in young clients and motivate them to learn. Using active listening skills, clinicians become more confident and manage their therapy and counseling sessions with a broader and mutually respectful dialogue. This course will teach clinicians how to employ innovative and practical communication and conversational skills in their individual and group therapy sessions with clients and their families, as well as in their working relationships with other professionals. These techniques can be applied to a wide variety of clinical, classroom and home situations, and case examples are included. Also included are sections on positive thinking and resilience, problem-solving skills, and the communication of emotion. Course #30-90 | 2017 | 70 pages | 20 posttest questions


This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion.
Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education (CE) by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA Provider #AAUM); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501) and the Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).
 

Treatment for Anxiety Disorders in Children

24 Aug

Course excerpt from Anxiety in Children

Treatment for Anxiety in ChildrenAnxiety disorders in children are very common, usually chronic, and frequently disabling. Since everyone experiences anxiety at some point, the first step is to determine whether the disorder falls within the bounds of “normal” anxiety, or whether it is something that requires professional treatment.

Parents often need help making this determination. Mental health professionals can present the following checklist to parents so that they can determine if they need to access medical or psychological help for their child:

  • Are you spending enormous amounts of time reassuring your child about engaging in normal activities?
  • Is your child’s anxiety out of sync with what is expected developmentally?
  • Is your child having difficulty with or have you noticed a significant change with sleeping, eating, or intrusive physical symptoms?
  • Is your child crying a lot? Does your child seem inconsolable?
  • Is the anxiety occurring regularly? Are the symptoms increasing?
  • Is your child becoming socially isolated? Is your child avoiding social situations or school?
  • Are there sudden changes in your child’s academic achievement or behavior?
  • Is your child unusually irritable?
  • Have these symptoms persisted over a few months?
  • Is the anxiety interfering with social, emotional, or behavioral functioning?


The two most common forms of treatment for anxiety are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication, usually selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, sertraline and paroxetine. Research has consistently demonstrated that cognitive-behavioral therapy and pharmacological therapies are most effective when used in conjunction with each other. Chansky (2014) does not recommend medication without concurrent cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the idea that feelings can be affected by our thoughts and behaviors. Thoughts are internal ways in which we talk to ourselves, and behaviors are the actions we take in everyday life.

Unhelpful thoughts and unhelpful behaviors lead to negative feelings, whereas helpful thoughts and helpful behaviors are related to positive feelings. It is cyclical: feelings lead to thoughts, which then lead certain actions (that is, behavior). Behavior can lead to negative thoughts and negative feelings. Negative thoughts can lead to negative behaviors and then negative feelings.

“The take home message is that understanding our feelings and how they affect us can lead us to do something to prevent our feelings from getting the better of us. We cannot make our feelings just go away, we can manage them. This can be accomplished by expressing our feelings…or by changing our thinking and behaving.”

Children who suffer from anxiety need to learn to think helpful and positive thoughts. The basis of treatment for children who suffer from anxiety is helping them understand that they can change their thinking patterns.

Medication

When is medication necessary? A pediatrician or psychiatrist needs to make that assessment and discuss the pros and cons of medication.

Medication is generally used when the level of anxiety is so high that the child is unable to use the skills that the therapist is attempting to teach the child. If medication is prescribed, parents need to know that it is not a “life sentence” and that their child might not always need to be on medication.

As noted earlier, the most common and demonstrably effective medications for childhood anxiety are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, sertraline and paroxetine. Also – again as noted earlier – they are most effective when used in combination with cognitive-behavioral therapy.

While the primary focus of this course is on behavioral interventions for children with anxiety disorders, some readers may be interested in more information on pharmacological treatment. For those interested, a NIMH article on multimodal treatment of child/adolescent anxiety can be found at the following website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4695375/

Click here to learn more.

Anxiety in ChildrenAnxiety in Children is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that focuses on behavioral interventions for children with anxiety disorders. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (2017), it is estimated that 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders affect one in eight children, but is often not diagnosed. Untreated anxiety can lead to substance abuse, difficulties in school, and depression. Professionals who work with children, including speech language pathologists, mental health professionals, and occupational therapists, frequently encounter anxiety disorders among their young clients. This course is intended to help clinicians recognize and understand the anxiety disorders that frequently occur in children and learn a wide variety of communication and behavioral strategies for helping their clients manage their anxiety. Included are sections on types and causes of anxiety disorders, strategies for prevention, evidence-based treatments, techniques for helping children manage worry, relaxation techniques for use with children, and detailed discussions on school anxiety and social anxiety. Course #40-43 | 2017 | 69 pages | 25 posttest questions


This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion.
Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA Provider #AAUM); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501) and the Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).
 

Back to School CE Sale

23 Aug

Back to School CE Sale @pdresources.org

The kiddos are back to school and now it’s time to get caught up on our own professional development. Enjoy 20-50% savings on select online continuing education (CE) courses during our Back to School Sale. Have a coupon? Apply it at checkout for additional savings (one coupon may be applied per order). Offers valid on future orders only. Hurry, sale ends August 31, 2017!

Back to School CE Sale

Click here to view all Back to School Sale courses.

Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA Provider #AAUM); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501) and the Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

 

 
 

Correcting vs. Altering Treatment Records

22 Aug

Course excerpt from Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8

There is a great difference between correcting and altering treatment records. Here’s what you need to know to be both legal and ethical:

Altering Treatment RecordsGood records are needed for many reasons, and making sure they are accurate and correct is important. But, altering records is unethical and can lead a therapist into great trouble with licensing boards or the courts.

Reasons for keeping records:

  • Good record keeping helps clinicians organize the treatment plan and enhances the quality of care.
  • A record of treatment helps maintain a continuity of care when clients shift to new therapists.
  • It protects clinicians in cases of board investigations, lawsuits, subpoenas, etc.
  • It helps in the event of the therapist’s sudden disability, death, etc.
  • And, keeping records is a mandated part of the standard of care.


Valid reasons for corrections:

  • When there is an incorrect notation regarding diagnosis, CPT code, prognosis, type of intervention, client’s behavior, motivation, plans, dangerousness, etc.
  • Accidentally writing a wrong word or term in the notes.
  • A client makes a valid request to amend the records, a right that is an option for clients under HIPAA with Covered Entities (if the therapist agrees with the request).


Accurate records are very important:

  • Records inform subsequent therapists and are critical for determining a continued course of treatment.
  • Records can determine a client’s eligibility for disability, retirement, keeping a job, maintaining custody of a child, security clearance, capacity to stand trial, etc.
  • Inaccurate or wrong records can be costly, particularly in litigation, for clients, therapists or other people involved.


Altering Records

There are no acceptable reasons for altering records, but some therapists attempt to alter records after they receive a subpoena or at the request of an attorney. Also, altering diagnoses or CPT codes so clients will be eligible for insurance reimbursement is clearly unethical and substandard care.

Erasing, deleting, removal, re-writing, wite-out, and similar ways of “correcting” records, where the original records are NO longer visible or adding content at a later date without indicating that changes took place are NOT acceptable and can be easily seen as an attempt to distort, conceal, hide, commit fraud or mislead.

Note that forensic experts may be able to detect altered typed-up clinical notes or EHR which have been tampered with. Altering records is unethical and below the standard of care and can result in licensing board discipline, a malpractice suit or a criminal investigation.

In summary, DO NOT alter records.

Correcting Records

Ways of changing or correcting records are neither specified in law or regulation, nor in the codes of ethics.

Transparency seems to be a key issue. While HIPAA gives clients the right to review their records and request corrections, it does not specify how these corrections should be made (assuming the therapist agrees to make the requested changes).

Reasonable ways to correct records:

  • If strikethrough is used, it should be made to the language to be changed, where the strikethrough original text is still readable.
  • Indicate the date, time, reason and who initiates the change.
  • Treat typed-up records as handwritten records, print them, sign, date and mark/highlight/initial/date the corrections or use a “track changes” program.
  • Correct online/electronic health records as you would any printed or handwritten records.
  • Finally, when in doubt, CONSULT (before you impulsively act).

Click here to learn more.

Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8 is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that addresses a wide variety of ethics and risk management topics, written by experts in the field. This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion.

Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

 

 

Tips for Preventing Anxiety in Children

18 Aug

Course excerpt from Anxiety in Children –

Anxiety in ChildrenAccording to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (2017), it is estimated that 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders affect one in eight children. Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk of performing poorly in school, missing out on important social experiences, and engaging in substance abuse. One in five children with an anxiety disorder is not diagnosed. Anxiety disorders untreated in childhood can continue well into adulthood.

Children with language and communication disorders are especially susceptible to anxiety because they are struggling academically and often compare themselves with their peers. They might feel stupid, lazy, and overlooked by their peers. They often don’t have the language skills they need to express their anxiety and often have issues with school as a result of it.

What Can Professionals and Parents Do to Prevent Childhood Anxiety?

Certainly, the best way to reduce the incidence and severity of anxiety disorders in children is to take steps to prevent its occurrence in the first place. As noted above, one of the causes of anxiety in children is anxiety in their parents. If the parents can learn to manage their own anxiety, they can help prevent – or at least manage – anxiety in their children.

Here are a few tips and strategies that can be incorporated into therapy sessions for the purpose of preventing and managing anxiety in children:

Remember that Positive Language is Important

Advise parents to check how often they are saying “be careful” to their children. Instead, they recommend saying, “Think a few steps ahead” or “Use your head and have fun!” As clinicians, we can do this as well. It is important for adults to let children know that they are valued and liked regardless of their behavior. Adults can discipline a child and work to improve the child’s behavior while still sending the message of unconditional positive regard.

Foster Resilience and Self-Efficacy

Helping professionals can find ways to foster resilience in children. A resilient child feels that he can positively influence the environment in which he lives. Known as self-efficacy, this can be nurtured by finding ways to foster a child’s independence and autonomy. Children need these life skills to develop into independent and productive members of society. But this generation’s youth are protected more than in previous eras, and rightly so, since many neighborhoods are not conducive to children playing outside or walking to the corner store alone. However, the result of this protective climate has deprived children of opportunities to learn basic life skills.

Adults need to find ways to foster a sense of true mastery in children. When we teach life skills, we are sending the message “you can do this,” “you are capable,” and “you will be an active and productive member of society one day.” According to Flasher and Fogle (2012), “The ability to be encouraging may be one of the most important qualities of clinicians.”

Give Choices

Giving children choices hands some control over to the child without compromising the adult’s authority—a win/win situation. Implicit in the choice is the fact that the child needs to fulfill the task but gets to choose how it will be accomplished. Giving choices diffuses conflict and lets children assert their independence in a healthy way. It exercises their brains by making them think and solve problems. It is an extremely effective technique to use with independent and defiant children and toddlers.

Click here to learn more.

Anxiety in Children is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that focuses on behavioral interventions for children with anxiety disorders. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (2017), it is estimated that 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders affect one in eight children, but is often not diagnosed. Untreated anxiety can lead to substance abuse, difficulties in school, and depression. Professionals who work with children, including speech language pathologists, mental health professionals, and occupational therapists, frequently encounter anxiety disorders among their young clients. This course is intended to help clinicians recognize and understand the anxiety disorders that frequently occur in children and learn a wide variety of communication and behavioral strategies for helping their clients manage their anxiety. Included are sections on types and causes of anxiety disorders, strategies for prevention, evidence-based treatments, techniques for helping children manage worry, relaxation techniques for use with children, and detailed discussions on school anxiety and social anxiety. Course #40-43 | 2017 | 69 pages | 25 posttest questions


This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion.

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists; by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA Provider #AAUM); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501) and the Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

 

Ghosting May Create Ethics Issue

17 Aug

Course excerpt from Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8

In June, 2015, The New York Times published a story highlighting Charlize Theron’s decision to dump Sean Penn by suddenly refusing to respond to his texts. This widely shared article drew attention to the disappearing act known as “ghosting,” which also surfaces as a frequent topic in psychotherapy.

Rejection is painful, no matter how you slice it. The digital age has made it easy to reject someone without engaging in a direct conversation. This passive-aggressive strategy leaves jilted individuals longing for information and wondering what went wrong.

ghosting therapistIn addition to its role in terminating relationships, ghosting is also an unfortunate strategy for ending therapy. While not the norm, ghosting a therapist is an under-discussed phenomenon. Most, if not all, clinicians have experienced a client who calls to cancel a session, states intent to reschedule and then disappears. Equally unfortunate is the client who does not show up for a session, does not respond to attempts to follow up and is never heard from again.

It is much easier to ghost a therapist than it is to ghost a suitor.

Therapists are usually trained and ethically obligated to follow up once or twice, but anything more can constitute a violation of the client’s privacy. Most professions in the psychotherapy field have some ethical guideline stating the professional’s obligation to know who is currently in therapy and who has ended. Clinicians should consider difficult questions, such as whether a client is still in therapy if he or she does not show up for a session, does not return a clinician’s follow-up call and then weeks later causes life-threatening harm for himself or herself or another person.

To this end, it is ethically prudent for therapists to request that clients sign a “termination agreement” when the clinical relationship begins. Without such an agreement, therapists can unknowingly continue certain ethical responsibilities to clients long after the therapist has been ghosted. The agreement I use with clients explains: “Clients who have not had a session in over 30 days (or within a mutually agreed upon time) will be considered inactive…. It is always preferable to have a final session before ending therapy in order to review and evaluate the sessions and assess overall progress. Please be fully assured that anyone wishing to return to active therapy can do so by contacting me to make arrangements to resume the therapeutic relationship.”

In concert with this ethical principle, I emphasize the importance of goodbyes and let clients know that I will respect decisions to end therapy. I make a deliberate effort to understand the urge to end without saying goodbye, and I encourage clients to schedule a final session to evaluate our work before they terminate. It was not until I read about it in The New York Times that I learned the term ghosting – and I’m glad to discover that such a suitable term for this troubling phenomenon has entered the public lexicon.

Interestingly, when clients open up about how much it hurts to be ghosted, they can often recall several stories in which they have ghosted others. Many times, they don’t realize that they have ghosted others until I ask. Even more relevant, such experiences often relate to primary formative relationships. These earlier experiences are usually more meaningful and worthy of exploration than trying to over-analyze the motivations of a random “match” on Tinder who seemed great until he or she became a ghost.

Our society shies away from endings. They are awkward and uncomfortable and it is easier than ever to avoid them all together. The same client who speaks of how much it hurts to be ghosted will describe skipping a friend’s going-away party, or convincing an employer to not plan a departure celebration so that they can move to a new job without saying a proper goodbye to co-workers that have been a significant part of their lives for years.

Each ending is an excellent opportunity for emotional growth. The passive-aggressive act of ghosting represents a missed emotional opportunity. Concluding a relationship with the respect it deserves demonstrates the ability to own and articulate an independent decision. Therapists who are willing to emphasize endings with clients are using the clinical relationship to help clients practice more adaptive relational patterns while simultaneously attending to important ethical obligations.

Click here to learn more.

Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8 is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that addresses a wide variety of ethics and risk management topics, written by experts in the field. Course #30-99 | 2017 | 49 pages | 20 posttest questions

Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

 

 

What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?

15 Aug

Course excerpt from Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8

Emotional Support AnimalMost people enjoy dogs and find great pleasure in having them around. All of that is fine, but there is a growing trend among those who want to be with their dogs that should be of particular concern for therapists.

Therapists are frequently being asked by their patients to attest to their need for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) for mental health purposes, which allows that animal to be present in what previously would have been a restricted environment.

Theoretically, the presence of the ESA has positive psychological impact on the owner and reduces the impact of a diagnosed psychological disability from which the owner suffers. In order for an ESA to be classified as such, a mental health professional must write a letter stating that presence of the pet mitigates symptoms of that disability.

Most mental health professionals do not know the complexity of this area of regulation. Yet, many seem more than happy to certify their patients as being in need of an ESA. Under the law, ESAs are not the same as psychiatric service animals and they do not require the training that is necessary to certify an animal as an American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant service animal.

However, ESA status does allow the animals to be in otherwise restricted areas such as aircrafts and housing that otherwise prohibit pets. The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA, 14 CFR 382, 2003) specifically requires airlines to allow service animals and ESAs to accompany their handlers in the main cabin of an aircraft at no charge.

While appropriate documentation from a therapist does not allow the ESA access everywhere, it requires waiving a no-pet rule and also any related damage deposit in housing that does not otherwise allow pets. This is because, under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) (42 U.S.C. 3601), an emotional support animal is viewed as a “reasonable accommodation” in a housing unit that has a “no pets” rule for its residents and the imposition of a fee would be contrary to the purpose of the law (https://www.animallaw.info/article/faqs-emotional-support-animals).

Given this information, we make the following suggestions to therapists who may find themselves in the situation where a client is requesting an ESA support letter:

  • Such an activity is considered extra-therapeutic and is similar to providing disability statements for clients. Consequently, it is not without administrative risk and can significantly complicate therapy if not handled properly. This complication includes the development of role conflicts and related conflicts of interest that place the therapist’s job as a treating professional in conflict with the role as evaluator.
  • The APA’s Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists consider extra-office practices, like writing an ESA letter, to be forensic-like activities because they are providing administrative information to others to assist them in addressing the patient’s psychological condition for a non-clinical purpose. Therefore, this is arguably not a clinical activity and frequently has nothing to do with treatment.
  • Be mindful in writing ESA-support letters. It is a crime to fraudulently certify an animal as a service dog or an emotional service animal, putting the therapist who does so in potential legal trouble. Further, should the special accommodations recommended in the letter written by the therapist become a matter of legal dispute, they may be called upon to justify statements in a deposition or in open court.


The research evidence is limited. Very few controlled empirical studies support the conclusion that the presence of animals impacts loneliness and is actually longitudinally therapeutic. In fact, the empirical research on this topic is inconsistent and is clearly in the early stages of development (Ensminger and Thomas, 2013). While patients might want their animals to travel with them, and even feel that they need the animal to feel safe or better, there is questionable evidence that this does anything therapeutically.

Treating therapists have an important role in recommending that a patient has an ESA if that recommendation is part of a treatment plan. However, the therapist must remember that the recommendation for an ESA could result in a permanent state of affairs that could carry potential legal consequences if that certification becomes disputed and the animal is no longer clinically necessary.

The easiest way to avoid the dilemma of being asked to provide an ESA support letter is to clarify the limited evaluative activities the therapist is willing to perform as part of the initial informed consent. This type of clarification at the outset of treatment can go a long way in reducing problems that stem from patient requests for extra-therapeutic services.

Whether one agrees with the author’s conclusion that these types of evaluations are forensic, one must agree with the conclusion that separating the treatment issues from those that are administrative in nature avoids any potential role conflict and is in the best interests of the therapy. Remember, this is an official disability determination and not simply something designed to make the client happy.

Click here to learn more.

Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8 is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that addresses a wide variety of ethics and risk management topics, written by experts in the field. Course #30-99 | 2017 | 49 pages | 20 posttest questions

Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

 

Autism: Clues to the Mystery Quiz

11 Aug

Autism Spectrum Disorder: Clues to the Mystery Quiz from Health IQ

Autism remains a mystery to doctors and parents. To learn more about the mysteries behind autism, test your knowledge with this interactive quiz…

Autism: Clues to the Mystery QuizAutism spectrum disorders (ASD) have been studied thoroughly and yet there are still numerous mysteries to these types of behavioral disorders. To make matters worse, there are several contradicting study results that only confuse the public more about ASD. For instance, a study released in 1997 claimed that the measles vaccine was linked to autism. This study has since been disproven across nine separate research reports. Thus, it’s easy to see why behavioral disorders like ASD are such a mystery to doctors and parents.

There is a lot more about ASD that we don’t know than we do, but it’s still important to understand as much as you can about ASD so that you can detect it early. We know that ASD can be diagnosed as early as age two and that screenings at a young age can help identify any behavioral disorders early on.

We have also learned a great deal about teaching parents to properly manage children that do have ASD. In fact, there are many training courses that parents can take to help better understand how to properly work with a child that has ASD. Even though there are no current cures for ASD, in many instances, proper management, behavioral therapy, and medication can all help mitigate the severity of the disorder.

Understanding ASD, its causes, and treatment are all important tools to help you work with a child who suffers from autism. If you’d like to learn more about the mysteries behind ASD, you can test your knowledge by taking the interactive quiz below.

About Health IQ

HealthIQ’s mission is to improve the health of the world. In pursuit of this mission, they’ve created over 2,000 quizzes and worked with innovative insurance companies to create financial rewards for health-conscious people. To date, Health IQ has helped thousand triathletes, vegans, runners, and other health conscious people secure billions in life insurance coverage, and they hope to expand to other financial rewards in the near future.

Health IQ’s Learn About Life Campaign:

Learn About Life is an educational campaign that aims to increase the world’s health & wealth literacy levels. To accomplish this task, Health IQ has partnered with a select group of nonprofits and bloggers to produce and promote thousands of health & wealth quizzes. If you’re a nonprofit or blogger and want to learn about how you can support this campaign, email teamiq@healthiq.com with subject line “Learn About Life…I’m In”

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

Applied Behavior Analysis for Autism is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that provides evidence-based behavioral interventions for the minimally verbal child with autism. The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) currently seems to be holding steady at one in 68 children (or 1.46 percent). The communication challenges of these children are widely known and require specialized early interventions to overcome them. This course presents evidence-based strategies that can enable students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and others who are verbally limited, to become more effective communicators. The focus will be on the minimally verbal child, the child who has a very small repertoire of spoken words or fixed phrases that are used communicatively. Included are: an overview of autism spectrum disorder, an introduction to the science of applied behavior analysis, the use of manding in communication training, techniques for direct instruction programming, and inter-professional collaboration strategies. Major points are illustrated throughout by case studies from actual practice. Course #21-15 | 2017 | 43 pages | 15 posttest questions

Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence-Based Screening and Assessment is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that summarizes proven approaches to screening, assessing and diagnosing ASD in children and young adults. Epidemiological studies indicate a progressively rising prevalence trend in the number of individuals identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) over the past decade. Yet, compared with general population estimates, children and youth with mild to moderate symptoms of ASD remain an underidentified and underserved population in our schools and communities. The DSM-5 conceptualizations of autism require professionals in clinical, school, and private practice settings to update their knowledge about the spectrum. In addition, professionals should be prepared to recognize the presence of risk factors and/or early warning signs of ASD and be familiar with screening and assessment tools in order to ensure that individuals with ASD are being identified and provided with the appropriate programs and services. The objectives of this course are to identify DSM-5 diagnostic changes in the ASD diagnostic criteria, summarize the empirically-based screening and assessment methodology in ASD, and describe a comprehensive developmental approach for assessing children, adolescents, and young adults with ASD. Course#30-94 | 2017 | 49 pages | 20 posttest questions

Autism: The New Spectrum of Diagnostics, Treatment & Nutrition is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews diagnostic changes in autism as well as treatment options and nutrition interventions – both theoretical and applied. The first section traces the history of the diagnostic concept of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), culminating in the revised criteria of the 2013 version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5, with specific focus on the shift from five subtypes to a single spectrum diagnosis. It also aims to provide epidemiological prevalence estimates, identify factors that may play a role in causing ASD, and list the components of a core assessment battery. It also includes brief descriptions of some of the major intervention models that have some empirical support. Section two describes common GI problems and feeding difficulties in autism, exploring the empirical data and/or lack thereof regarding any links between GI disorders and autism. Sections on feeding difficulties offer interventions and behavior change techniques. A final section on nutritional considerations discusses evaluation of nutritional status, supplementation, and dietary modifications with an objective look at the science and theory behind a variety of nutrition interventions. Other theoretical interventions are also reviewed. Course #40-41 | 2017 | 62 pages | 25 posttest questions

Autism Movement Therapy is a 2-hour video-based online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that teaches professionals how to combine movement and music with positive behavior support strategies to assist individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism Movement Therapy® is an emerging therapy that combines movement and music with positive behavior support strategies to assist individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in meeting and achieving their speech and language, social and academic goals. Its purpose is to connect left and right hemisphere brain functioning by combining patterning, visual movement calculation, audile receptive processing, rhythm and sequencing into a “whole brain” cognitive thinking approach that can significantly improve behavioral, emotional, academic, social, and speech and language skills. This course is presented in two parts. Part 1 summarizes what is known about the brain functioning of individuals with ASD and illustrates how participation in dance, music and the arts can render the brain more amenable to learning social and language skills. Part 2 is a documentary created by Joanne Lara – Generation A: Portraits of Autism and the Arts, which spotlights – from a strikingly positive perspective – the challenges and accomplishments of eight individuals with ASD. Course #20-82 | 2014 | 106 minute video | 14 posttest questions

Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

 

 

Enjoy 25% Off CE for our 25th Anniversary!

10 Aug

25th Anniversary CE Sale @pdresources.org

25th Anniversary CE Sale!After 25 years of providing CE, we are so excited to celebrate our Silver Anniversary with you!

We couldn’t have made it here without you, and so please enjoy 25% OFF ALL COURSES!

Like any big event, we’re celebrating for a whole week. :-) Celebration ends Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

Your 25% discount should automatically apply at checkout, but if for any reason it doesn’t – just enter promo code Silver and click “update” to add. Offer valid on future orders only.

Ethics   Risk
OCD
Suicide Prevention
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Anxiety in Children
Ethics
Preventing Medical Errors
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Gender Identity
Nutrition and Addiction
Clinical Supervision
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Ethics for OTs
Improving Social Skills
ABA for Autism
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E-Therapy
Codependency
Mindfulness
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Nutrition for Eating Disorders
Ethics for RDNs
Nutrition and Mental Health
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Active Listening
Effects of Digital Media
Cyberbullying
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Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); 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; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Brokercompliant (all courses are reported within one week of completion).

 
 

New Ethics & Risk Management CE Course

09 Aug

New Online CE Course @pdresources.org

Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8 is a new 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that addresses a wide variety of really interesting ethics and risk management topics, written by experts in the field. Topics include:

Can Confidentiality be Maintained in Group Therapy? – Discusses ethical issues involved in conducting group psychotherapy.

A Short Course on Encryption and Cloud Storage – Provides answers to common questions about encryption, cloud storage, confidentiality, and HIPAA.

Retiring Ethically – Reviews the professional aspects of preparing for retirement and the various tasks and challenges involved.

Coping with Disruptions in Practice Due to Death or Disability – Shares two stories of a practice lost to sudden death, and the steps you can take to prepare for unexpected disruptions.

Informed Consent: Ethical Challenges and Opportunities – Provides an overview of the ethical obligations related to informed consent and outlines three ethical challenges.

Ethical Practice and the Challenge of Vicarious Trauma – Examines how vicarious exposure to traumatic material can dramatically impact clinicians both personally and professionally.

Competence for Execution: the Ethical Binds – Summarizes the complex issues involved in determining if a person is competent for execution.

Sorting through Professional Liability Insurance for Needed Coverage – Offers guidance and considerations for choosing between Occurrence Form Coverage and Claims Made Coverage.
Closing a Practice: Practical, Ethical and Clinical Dimensions – Reviews the tasks and challenges involved in terminating a psychotherapy practice.

Is it Ethics or Law? – Discusses the similarities and differences between ethics and law, and what to do when they conflict.

21st Century Changes Ethics for Private Practice – Shares personal experiences dealing with security breaches and offers guidelines for using technology in your own practice.

Ethical Considerations for Clinical Supervisors – Examines the impact of supervision on supervisees and their clients, including competence, clinical oversight, and informed consent.

Correcting vs. Altering Records – Discusses the importance of keeping good treatment records and offers guidance for what to do (and not to do) when needing to make a correction to your records.

Ethical Considerations for Media Presentations – Offers considerations to keep in mind when using the media for professional purposes (the article focuses on radio and television, but can also be applied to the internet).

‘Ghosting’ May Create Ethics Issue – Discusses the passive-aggressive strategy of “ghosting” and offers guidance for what to do when it happens to you, the therapist.

Reducing Risk in Treating Divorcing Families – Provides an overview of several risk management practices for therapists who work with divorced or divorcing families, particularly the children of divorcing families.

Who Let that Doggie on the Airplane? – Examines the growing trend of Emotional Support Animals (ESA) and what to do when you are asked to provide an ESA support letter.

Informed Consent: Records and Fees – Highlights areas of the treatment relationship and issues related to informed consent in the areas of providing records when requested and in establishing fees.

Cloud-Based File-Sharing Can be HIPAA Secure – Shares several options for storing and sharing information securely through the cloud, so therapists no longer have to rely on the burdensome methods of faxing or sending patient documents via proprietary networks.

Social Media and Ethics – Offers guidance to help clinicians engage in meaningful self-reflection prior to engaging in social media for the purpose of preventing ethical breaches.

Therapists Must Keep Pace as Technology Changes Practice – Discusses the change in the method of creating and maintaining patient files, evidenced by the increased use of electronic records, and the areas of concern involved.

Ethical Ways to Counteract Negative Reviews Online – Explains how to manage your online reputation, including what you can ethically do if you receive a negative review – real or not.

The Wounded Psychologist: Adverse Effects from a Licensing Complaint – Explains why licensing boards were created, how licensing board complaints are dealt with, and the negative effects of complaints on clinicians.

Disclosures for Forensic Evaluations – Discusses the requirements for disclosure in forensic evaluations.

Reimbursement Diagnoses may be Co-Morbid 
– Reviews the ethical, legal and professional challenges of balancing concern for diagnostic work with insurance reimbursement issues.

Giving Professional Commentary on Public Figures – Offers advice on what you can or shouldn’t say when asked to comment on public figures.

Managing Risk with Alcohol-Abusing Clients – Provides guidance on developing a dual-purposed informed consent agreement with working with special populations such as alcoholics or those characterized by high risk (e.g., suicidal or borderline personality disorder) behaviors.

Direct Secure Messaging is Best Electronic Option for Mental Health Records – Discusses use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs), concerns about the potential unrestricted flow of Protected Health Information (PHI), and how Direct Secure Messaging (DSM) can help.

Course #30-99 | 2017 | 49 pages | 20 posttest questions


Click here to learn more.

Ethics & Risk Management: Expert Tips 8 is an online course that provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).