Social Media Use & Body Image Concerns

Social Media Use Increasing Body Image Concerns

You might be checking on what your friends are up to. You might be looking for a way to connect and communicate. Or you might just be looking for some entertainment.

Despite the reasons we engage in social media, researchers at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine say our social media use is predisposing us to body image concerns and the risk of developing an eating disorder (Sidani et al., 2016).

“We’ve long known that exposure to traditional forms of media, such as fashion magazines and television, is associated with the development of disordered eating and body image concerns, likely due to the positive portrayal of ‘thin’ models and celebrities,“ explains Jaime E. Sidani, PhD, MPH, assistant director of Pitt’s Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health. “Social media combines many of the visual aspects of traditional media with the opportunity for social media users to interact and propagate stereotypes that can lead to eating and body image concerns” (Sidani, 2016).

Sampling 1,765 U.S. adults age 19 through 32 in 2014, Dr. Sidani and her colleagues used questionnaires to determine use of 11 of the most popular social media platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine and LinkedIn.

Then they cross-referenced those results with the results of another questionnaire that used established screening tools to assess eating disorder risk, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and other clinical and mental health issues where people have a distorted body image and disordered eating.

Their findings should have us all putting our phones down. The participants who spent the most time on social media throughout the day had 2.2 times the risk of reporting eating and body image concerns, compared to their peers who spent less time on social media. And participants who reported most frequently checking social media throughout the week had 2.6 times the risk, compared with those who checked least frequently (Sidani et al., 2016).

While previous research has shown that people tend to post images online that present themselves in a more positive – rather than realistic – light, thereby exposing others to unrealistic expectations for their appearance, it is also possible, notes Brian A. Primack, MD, PhD, assistant vice chancellor for health and society in Pitt’s Schools of the Health Sciences, that people who have eating and body image concerns might then be turning to social media to connect with groups of people who also have these concerns” (Primack, 2016).

The concern, however, is that despite Instagram banning the hashtags ‘thinspiration’ and ‘thinspo,’ YouTube videos about anorexia nervosa that could be classified as “pro-anorexia” received higher viewer ratings than informative videos highlighting the health consequences of the eating disorder.

For Sidani, the answer is more research. Not just do we need to develop effective interventions to counter social media content that either intentionally or unintentionally increases the risk of eating disorders in users, she notes, we need to follow users over time to answer the cause-and-effect questions surrounding social media use and risk for eating and body image concerns.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

Ethics and Social MediaEthics and Social Media is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that examines the use of Social Networking Services (SNS) on both our personal and professional lives. 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 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 | 2016 | 32 pages | 15 posttest questions

Nutrition and Mental HealthNutrition and Mental Health: Advanced Clinical Concepts is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that examines how what we eat influences how we feel, both physically and mentally. While the role of adequate nutrition in maintaining mental health has been established for some time, just how clinicians go about providing the right nutritional information to the patient at the right time – to not just ensure good mental health, but actually optimize mood – has not been so clear. With myriad diets, weight loss supplements and programs, clients often find themselves reaching for the next best nutritional solution, all the while, unsure how they will feel, or even what to eat to feel better. On the other side of the equation, clinicians so often face not just a client’s emotional, situational, and relational concerns, but concerns that are clearly mired in how the client feels physically, and what impact his/her nutritional health may have on these concerns. For example, research into the role of blood sugar levels has demonstrated a clear crossover with client impulse control. Additionally, the gut microbiome, and its role in serotonin production and regulation has consistently made clear that without good gut health, mitigating anxiety and depression becomes close to impossible.

So if good mental health begins with good nutritional health, where should clinicians start? What advice should they give to a depressed client? An anxious client? A client with impulse control problems? This course will answer these questions and more. Comprised of three sections, the course will begin with an overview of macronutrient intake and mental health, examining recent popular movements such as intermittent fasting, carb cycling and ketogenic diets, and their impact on mental health. In section two, we will look specifically at the role of blood sugar on mental health, and research that implicates blood sugar as both an emotional and behavioral regulator. Gut health, and specifically the gut microbiome, and its influence on mood and behavior will then be explored. Lastly, specific diagnoses and the way they are impacted by specific vitamins and minerals will be considered. Section three will deliver specific tools, you, the clinician, can use with your clients to assess, improve and maximize nutrition to optimize mental health. Course #11-06 | 2017 | 21 pages | 10 posttest questions

Emotional Overeating: Practical Management TechniquesEmotional Overeating: Practical Management Techniques is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE) course that discusses the causes of emotional eating and provides cognitive and behavioral exercises that can help to eliminate the addictive pattern.

Statistics report that Americans are an increasingly overweight population. Among the factors contributing to our struggle to stop tipping the scales is the component of “emotional eating” – or the use of food to attempt to fill emotional needs. Professionals in both the physical and emotional health fields encounter patients with emotional eating problems on a regular basis. Even clients who do not bring this as their presenting problem often have it on their list of unhealthy behaviors that contribute to or are intertwined with their priority concerns. While not an easy task, it is possible to learn methods for dismantling emotional eating habits. The goals of this course are to present information about the causes of emotional eating, and provide a body of cognitive and behavioral exercises that can help to eliminate the addictive pattern. Course #40-26 | 2011 | 44 pages | 30 posttest questions

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 Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); 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 Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

 

The Power of Skepticism – New CE Course

The Power of Skepticism and Critical ThinkingThe Power of Skepticism and Critical Thinking is a new 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that examines how positive skepticism and critical thinking are necessary in clinical practice.

The history of health care abounds with treatments that persisted (although they didn’t work) for many years without ever being seriously challenged. How did this happen? More to the point, how is it that this continues to happen today? At least a part of the answer can be found in a very long list of cognitive errors, fallacies, and biases that seem to be part of human nature. Human beings are endowed with the ability to reason and the need to find connections between things and events. The problem is that we have such a strong need to find connections that we sometimes see them even when they are not there. In health care, arriving at the wrong conclusion can be an error of life and death proportions.

This course defines and illustrates the many ways in which health professionals can fall prey to one or more thinking errors that can result in mistaken diagnoses, clinical errors, and reduced therapeutic success. Also reviewed are the powerful influences of propaganda, quackery, and pseudoscience. The antidote to thinking errors and pseudoscience is adherence to the sound principles of positive skepticism and critical thinking in clinical practice. This course offers the opportunity to uncover one’s own biases and learn new strategies and techniques for applying critical thinking skills. Included are how-to lists for evaluating new treatments, conference speakers, published studies, and internet content. Course #31-14 | 2019 | 56 pages | 20 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

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. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

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 Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); 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 Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Critical Thinking – New CE Course

Critical Thinking in Clinical Practice

Critical Thinking in Clinical Practice is a new 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers strategies and techniques for applying critical thinking skills in clinical practice.

The history of health care abounds with treatments that persisted (although they didn’t work) for many years without ever being seriously challenged. How did this happen? More to the point, how is it that this continues to happen today? At least a part of the answer can be found in a very long list of cognitive errors, fallacies, and biases that seem to be part of human nature. Human beings are endowed with the ability to reason and the need to find connections between things and events. The problem is that we have such a strong need to find connections that we sometimes see them even when they are not there. In health care, arriving at the wrong conclusion can be an error of life and death proportions.

This course defines and illustrates the many ways in which health professionals can fall prey to one or more of a very long list of thinking errors that can result in mistaken diagnoses, clinical errors, and reduced therapeutic success. Also reviewed are the powerful influences of propaganda, quackery, and pseudoscience. The antidote to thinking errors and pseudoscience is adherence to the sound principles of critical thinking in clinical practice. This course offers the opportunity to uncover one’s own biases and learn new strategies and techniques for applying critical thinking skills. Included are how-to lists for evaluating new treatments, conference speakers, published studies, and internet content. Course #31-14 | 2019 | 56 pages | 20 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

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. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

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 Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); 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 Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Can We Slow Aging?

Can We Slow Aging?

Aging, however undesirable, is a normal and expected part of the human condition. Yet, for those who study aging, there is a new take.

It starts with how the aging process works. As we age, our cells age – a process called cellular senescence – and the result is an accumulation of damaged cells. These cells then release inflammatory factors that act like signals to the immune system to clear the damaged cells – a process which works well when we are young. However, as we age, our cells aren’t cleared as effectively by our immune system, and as they begin to accumulate, they cause low level inflammation and release enzymes that can degrade tissue.

How to reduce the burden of damaged cells has been the question for University of Minnesota Medical School faculty Paul D. Robbins and Laura J. Niedernhofer and Mayo Clinic investigators James L. Kirkland and Tamara Tchkonia.

In a recent study it seems they may have found their answer. Using a natural product called Fisetin, which is found in many fruits and vegetables, on mice towards the end of life, the researchers saw improvements both in health and lifespan (Yousefzadeh et al., 2018).

Robbins and his team now dub Fisetin is a senotherapeutic that, they say, “extends health and lifespan” (Robbins 2018).

“These results suggest that we can extend the period of health, termed healthspan, even towards the end of life” (Robbins, 2018).

This study was also novel in that it used mass cytometry, or CyTOF, technology and applied it for the first time in aging research, which as Robbins notes, helped demonstrate not only that Fisetin works to counteract aging, but just how it works (Robbins, 2018).

What we can ascertain from work like this is something we might have already guessed – eating fruits and vegetables is good for us. What we now know, however, is that it might also help us live longer and healthier.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

Spirituality & AgingSpirituality & Aging is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers an insight into how spirituality influences the lives of elders in our care.

Spirituality and religious beliefs provide coping mechanisms for issues related to aging and have been proven to have a protective factor. Elders with higher levels of spirituality have better mental and physical health, and are less anxious about aging.

This course provides an accessible tool kit for healthcare professionals to use in attending to the spiritual well-being – as well as the physical, social, and emotional needs – of elders in their care. Included are ready-to-use exercises and techniques for promoting spiritual self-awareness in elders, as well as vignettes from the author’s own years of experience. The author makes a clear distinction between spirituality and religion, emphasizing the importance of helping elders come to terms with the numerous losses they experience in later life. Among the tools described are the spiritual inventory, an assessment of spiritual needs, the value of forgiveness and legacy, a discussion of spiritual deterrents, the importance of cultural sensitivity, how to promote spiritual growth in a group setting, and compassion fatigue among healthcare professionals. Course #21-28 | 2019 | 34 pages | 15 posttest questions

Aging: Challenges for CliniciansAging: Challenges for Clinicians is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that provides a review of the aging process, illustrating potential challenges and effective solutions.

Americans are living longer and there are proportionately more older adults than in previous generations due to the post-World War II baby boom. Many Americans are now living into their eighties and beyond. In healthcare, the volume of older people may soon outnumber the supply of healthcare professionals trained in geriatrics.

Aging presents many challenges for people as they encounter new physical and psychosocial issues. It is vital for healthcare professionals to be familiar with the challenges of aging in order to effectively treat the aging population. This course will provide information on the normal process of aging, and point out problems commonly thought to be normal that require medical or psychological evaluation and treatment. Case examples will illustrate scenarios of aging persons who may be at risk but are not aware there is a problem. Use this information for referral as appropriate to ensure the highest level of functioning for your patients. Course #31-01 | 2017 | 54 pages | 20 posttest questions

Nutrition and Mental HealthNutrition and Mental Health: Advanced Clinical Concepts is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that examines how what we eat influences how we feel, both physically and mentally. While the role of adequate nutrition in maintaining mental health has been established for some time, just how clinicians go about providing the right nutritional information to the patient at the right time – to not just ensure good mental health, but actually optimize mood – has not been so clear. With myriad diets, weight loss supplements and programs, clients often find themselves reaching for the next best nutritional solution, all the while, unsure how they will feel, or even what to eat to feel better. On the other side of the equation, clinicians so often face not just a client’s emotional, situational, and relational concerns, but concerns that are clearly mired in how the client feels physically, and what impact his/her nutritional health may have on these concerns. For example, research into the role of blood sugar levels has demonstrated a clear crossover with client impulse control. Additionally, the gut microbiome, and its role in serotonin production and regulation has consistently made clear that without good gut health, mitigating anxiety and depression becomes close to impossible.

So if good mental health begins with good nutritional health, where should clinicians start? What advice should they give to a depressed client? An anxious client? A client with impulse control problems? This course will answer these questions and more. Comprised of three sections, the course will begin with an overview of macronutrient intake and mental health, examining recent popular movements such as intermittent fasting, carb cycling and ketogenic diets, and their impact on mental health. In section two, we will look specifically at the role of blood sugar on mental health, and research that implicates blood sugar as both an emotional and behavioral regulator. Gut health, and specifically the gut microbiome, and its influence on mood and behavior will then be explored. Lastly, specific diagnoses and the way they are impacted by specific vitamins and minerals will be considered. Section three will deliver specific tools, you, the clinician, can use with your clients to assess, improve and maximize nutrition to optimize mental health. Course #11-06 | 2017 | 21 pages | 10 posttest questions

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 Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); 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 Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Spirituality & Aging – New CE Course

Spirituality & Aging

Spirituality & Aging is a new 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers an insight into how spirituality influences the lives of elders in our care.

Spirituality and religious beliefs provide coping mechanisms for issues related to aging and have been proven to have a protective factor. Elders with higher levels of spirituality have better mental and physical health, and are less anxious about aging.

This course provides an accessible tool kit for healthcare professionals to use in attending to the spiritual well-being – as well as the physical, social, and emotional needs – of elders in their care. Included are ready-to-use exercises and techniques for promoting spiritual self-awareness in elders, as well as vignettes from the author’s own years of experience. The author makes a clear distinction between spirituality and religion, emphasizing the importance of helping elders come to terms with the numerous losses they experience in later life. Among the tools described are the spiritual inventory, an assessment of spiritual needs, the value of forgiveness and legacy, a discussion of spiritual deterrents, the importance of cultural sensitivity, how to promote spiritual growth in a group setting, and compassion fatigue among healthcare professionals. Course #21-28 | 2019 | 34 pages | 15 posttest questions

Click here to learn more and enroll.

Course Directions

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).

Click here to learn more and enroll.

CE Information

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), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34);  the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Ethics in Nutrition & Dietetics

Ethics in Nutrition & Dietetics

Ethics in Nutrition & Dietetics is a new 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that addresses the ethics of practice in nutrition and dietetics with the latest Code of Ethics from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Ethical practice is a requirement and a duty of all health professionals. We are in a life and death business where mistakes or misjudgments can cause real harm, such as in the case of medical errors. Being an ethical practitioner is your responsibility. Some situations seem clear cut while others are murky and may lead to more than one approach. The practice and business of nutrition and dietetics grow and change but ethical practices remain paramount regardless. Potential situations arise that require a review of what the ethical solution(s) should be. This course includes real-life scenarios so you can utilize the profession’s Code of Ethics to identify these ethical issues and come up with solutions and ways to avoid unethical behaviors.

This course satisfies the requirement of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) that RDNs and DTRs complete a minimum of 1 CPEU of Continuing Professional Education in Ethics (Learning Need Code 1050) during each 5-year recertification cycle in order to recertify. Course #11-23 | 2018 | 12 pages | 10 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

Course Directions

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).

CE Information

Professional Development Resources is a CPE Accredited Provider with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR #PR001). CPE accreditation does not constitute endorsement by CDR of provider programs or materials. Professional Development Resources is also a provider with the Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition (#50-1635) and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within one week of completion).

 

Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness

Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness

According to a report published in the Psychological Science in the Public Interest, despite the availability of effective evidence-based treatment, about 40 percent of individuals with serious mental illness do not receive care, and many who begin an intervention do not complete it (Corrigan et al., 2015).

“The prejudice and discrimination of mental illness is as disabling as the illness itself. It undermines people attaining their personal goals and dissuades them from pursuing effective treatments,” explains Patrick W. Corrigan of the Illinois Institute of Technology (Corrigan, 2015).

Stigma, notes Corrigan, is seen not just in the attitudes we hold toward those with mental illness, but also in the policies that affect them – from poor funding for research and services compared to other illnesses to “widespread, inaccurate, and sensational media depictions that link mental illness with violence” (Corrigan, 2015).

Public stigma, as witnessed in the pervasive stereotypes we hold toward those with mental illness, causes them to drop out of treatment early or avoid it entirely for fear of being categorized as violent, unpredictable, or dangerous.

Stigma also influences the structures designed to offer care to the mentally ill. The fact that mental health is not covered by insurance to the same extent as medical care, and the fact that mental illness research is not funded at the same levels as medial research are just two examples, notes Corrigan (Corrigan, 2015).

What Corrigan’s report advocates for is that we approach mental illness differently. By addressing stigma through showing another face of mental illness – the personal stories of recovery, hope, and humanity of those with mental illness – we take a step toward overcoming the most insidious – and often overlooked – barrier to care.

In time, Corrigan hopes, stigma will also be addressed on a larger level – through enhanced support systems, public policy, and actual systems of care – and will no longer be a reason that those who need mental health care will avoid it.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Course:

stigma of mental illnessOvercoming the Stigma of Mental Illness is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that explores the stigmas around mental illness and provides effective strategies to overcome them.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines mental illness stigma as “a range of negative attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors about mental and substance use disorders.” Mental health and substance use disorders are prevalent and among the most highly stigmatized health conditions in the United States, and they remain barriers to full participation in society in areas as basic as education, housing, and employment.

This course will explore the stigmas surrounding mental illness and provide effective strategies clinicians can use to create a therapeutic environment where clients can evaluate their attitudes, beliefs, and fears about mental illness, and ultimately find ways to overcome them. We will explore the ways in which mental illness stigmas shape our beliefs, decisions, and lives. We will then look at specific stigmas about mental illness, from the fear of being seen as crazy to the fear of losing cognitive function and the ways in which we seek to avoid these fears. We will then look at targeted strategies that, you, the clinician, can use to create a therapeutic alliance where change and healing can overcome the client’s fears. Lastly, we will look at the specific exercises you can use in session with your clients to help them address and overcome their biases and stigmas about mental illness. Course #21-24 | 2018 | 35 pages | 15 posttest questions

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials and CE test. 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 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 Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Healthy Living Improves Executive Function

Healthy Living Improves Executive Function

Living a healthy lifestyle will likely help you live longer. But new research suggests living a healthier lifestyle could also increase executive function, which is the ability to exert self-control, set and meet goals, resist temptation, and solve problems.

If you stop and think about it, it makes sense. Resisting donuts and opting for kale, after all, takes a fair amount of self-control – as does getting up early to exercise.

Over time, suggests researchers, these behaviors reinforce one another in a sort of positive feedback loop.

Using data collected from 4,555 adults through the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, researchers analyzed the relationship between physical activity and executive function, adjusting for other variables such as age, gender, education, wealth and illness, and found evidence that the relationship between the two is bidirectional (Allan et al., 2016).

Specifically, individuals with poor executive function showed subsequent decreases in their rates of participation in physical activity and older adults who engaged in sports and other physical activities tended to retain high levels of executive function over time (Allen et al., 2016).

While this study focused on physical activity and its relationship to executive function, the researchers noted that a positive feedback loop between executive function and eating nutritious foods is quite plausible. Similarly, it is likely that negative feedback loops also exist, where unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking or drinking too much alcohol will be both a result of and a predictor of declining executive function (Allan et al., 2016).

This might help explain why executive function typically declines with age, as older people may become more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors like remaining sedentary and less likely to maintain healthy but effortful behaviors like taking prescribed medication regularly.

The up side, however, is that the longer one can maintain high executive function, the longer and more easily that person can stave off behavior that will be detrimental to their health. Dr. Julia Allan explains, “People who make a change to their health behavior, like participating in physical activity, eating less processed food, or consuming more fruits and vegetables, can see an improvement in their brain function over time and increase their chances of remaining healthy as they age” (Allan, 2016).

With the world’s population of elderly folks to hit 1.5 billion by 2050, the connection between executive function – and specifically how it is mediated by and helps to mediate our health – could have major implications.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

Executive Functioning in AdultsExecutive Functioning in Adults is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that provides strategies to help adults overcome executive functioning deficits.

As human beings, we have a built-in capacity to accomplish goals and meet challenges through the use of high-level cognitive functions called “executive functioning” skills. These are the skills that help us to decide which activities and tasks we will pay attention to and which ones we will choose to ignore or postpone.

Executive skills allow us to organize our thinking and behavior over extended periods of time and override immediate demands in favor of longer-term goals. These skills are critical in planning and organizing activities, sustaining attention, and persisting until a task is completed. Individuals who do not have well developed executive functioning skills tend to have difficulty starting and attending to tasks, redirecting themselves when a plan is not working, and exercising emotional control and flexibility. This course offers a wide variety of strategies to help adults overcome such difficulties and function more effectively. Course #31-08 | 2018 | 61 pages | 20 posttest questions

Executive Functioning: Teaching Children Organizational SkillsExecutive Functioning: Teaching Children Organizational Skills is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that will enumerate and illustrate multiple strategies and tools for helping children overcome executive functioning deficits and improve their self-esteem and organizational abilities.

Executive functioning skills represent a key set of mental assets that help connect past experience with present action. They are fundamental to performing activities such as planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space. Conversely, executive functioning deficits can significantly disrupt an individual’s ability to perform even simple tasks effectively. Although children with executive functioning difficulties may be at a disadvantage at home and at school, adults can employ many different strategies to help them succeed. Included are techniques for planning and prioritizing, managing emotions, improving communication, developing stress tolerance, building time management skills, increasing sustained attention, and boosting working memory. Course #40-42 | 2017 | 76 pages | 25 posttest questions

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Practical GuideAlzheimer’s Disease: A Practical Guide is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers healthcare professionals a basic foundation in Alzheimer’s disease prevention, diagnosis, and risk management.

This course will present practical information to aid healthcare professionals as they interact with clients who are diagnosed with any of the many types of dementia. We will review what is normal in the aging process, and what is not; diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease; testing cognition and gene testing; risk factors; and clinical research. We will then discuss the struggle caregivers face and provide strategies for how best to support them.

The next section will provide practical guidance for caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease, including daily care activities, keeping the person safe, and unwanted behaviors. Next we will review prevention and compensation strategies to help people protect their cognitive health as they age, including modifiable risk factors that have the potential to reduce the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease. A final section on protecting our elders from scams and how to find reputable resources for information is included. Course #31-12 | 2018 | 56 pages | 20 posttest questions

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials and CE test. 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 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 Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Using Humor to Find Happiness

Happiness

It’s easy to get stuck on the numbers on the scale when we want to lose weight, but numbers do not tell the whole story: It’s much more than weight we need to lose.

We need to lose self-recrimination. We need to lose self-shaming. We need to lose our attachment to weight as the single measure of self-worth.

But just how do we do that?

One way, say researchers from the University of Granada Mind, Brain and Behavior Research Center, is to use a little humor.

Individuals who frequently use self-deprecating humor – aimed at gaining the approval of others through self-mockery – say Jorge Torres Marín and his team, exhibit greater levels of psychological well-being (Marín et al., 2018).

Moreover, Marín notes that a greater tendency to employ self-deprecating humor is indicative of high scores in psychological well-being dimensions such as happiness and, to a lesser extent, sociability (Marín et al., 2018).

While the effects of self-deprecating humor on well-being may differ depending on where the research takes place, and be influenced by cultural norms, Marín suggests that new studies focus on analyzing potential cultural differences in the use of this kind of humor.

The psychology of humor, however, fits within a well-founded, accurate theoretical body of knowledge that allows for different behavioral tendencies related to the everyday use of humor to be explored – such as the affiliative use of humor, which is aimed at strengthening social relationships, or self-enhancing humor, which entails maintaining a humorous outlook in potentially stressful and adverse situations.

While these types of humor have consistently been linked to indicators of positive psychological well-being such as happiness, satisfaction with life, and hope, Marín and his team maintain that their data revealed the existence of a curvilinear relationship between prosocial humor and personality dimensions such as kindness and honesty (Marín et al., 2018).

Eliminating self-defeating behaviors isn’t easy, however, the process is made much easier when we can laugh a little – at ourselves.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

Finding Happiness: Positive Interventions in TherapyFinding Happiness: Positive Interventions in Therapy is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE) course that explores the concept of happiness, from common myths to the overriding factors that directly increase our feelings of contentment. We will start with a discussion on why you, the clinician, need to know about happiness and how this information can help in your work with clients. We will then uncover mistakes we make when trying to attain happiness and look carefully at the actions we take and the beliefs that do not just obfuscate our happiness efforts, but often leave us less happy. Next, we will explore the ways in which our mindset influences our feelings of happiness and the many ways we can fundamentally change our levels of well-being, not just immediately, but for many years to come. The final section of this course contains exercises you can use with clients to cultivate and sustain a lifelong habit of happiness. Course #40-45 | 2018 | 57 pages | 25 posttest questions

Beyond Calories & Exercise: Eliminating Self-Defeating BehaviorsBeyond Calories & Exercise: Eliminating Self-Defeating Behaviors is a 5-hour online continuing education (CE) course that “walks” readers through the process of replacing their self-defeating weight issues with healthy, positive, and productive life-style behaviors. It moves beyond the “burn more calories than you consume” concept to encompass the emotional aspects of eating and of gaining and losing weight. Through 16 included exercises, you will learn how to identify your self-defeating behaviors (SDBs), analyze and understand them, and then replace them with life-giving actions that lead to permanent behavioral change. Course #50-10 | 2013 | 49 pages | 35 posttest questions

The Use of Humor in TherapyThe Use of Humor in Therapy is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that reviews the risks and benefits of using humor in therapy and the relevant historical controversies of this proposal. Should therapists and counselors use humor as a therapeutic technique? If so, should they be formally trained in those procedures before their implementation? The paucity of rigorous empirical research on the effectiveness of this form of clinical intervention is exceeded only by the absence of any training for those practitioners interested in applying humor techniques. In this course a representative sample of its many advocates’ recommendations to incorporate humor in the practice of psychological therapies is reviewed. Therapeutic humor is defined, the role of therapists’ personal qualities is discussed, and possible reasons for the profession’s past resistance to promoting humor in therapy are described. Research perspectives for the evaluation of humor training are presented with illustrative examples of important empirical questions still needing to be answered. Closeout Course #21-02 | 2015 | 24 pages | 14 posttest questions

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. 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 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 Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

How Do We Motivate Children to Learn?

How Do We Motivate Children to Learn?

Left unchecked, challenges such as learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, behavior disorders, and executive functioning deficits can cause children to develop the idea that they are not capable of success in school, precipitating a downward spiral of poor self-esteem and – eventually – school failure.

So how do we avoid this outcome and motivate children to learn?

One way, is to employ a little empathy.

According to the Finnish First Steps study currently ongoing at the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Jyväskylä and the University of Turku, empathetic teachers enhance children’s motivation and academic skills, such as reading, writing and arithmetic skills and create a positive atmosphere that safeguards and increases children’s motivation for learning (Siekkinen et al., 2015).

“We are currently studying to what extent the teacher-pupil relationship in the upper comprehensive school, i.e. in grades 7-9, can be linked to Finland’s excellent reading scores in the Programme for International Student Assessment, PISA,” explains Martti Siekkinen of the University of Eastern Finland (Siekkinen, 2015).

Siekkinen goes on to say that the first years of the lower comprehensive school, i.e. grades 1-3, are a critical period during which the child needs to have a safe relationship with his or her teacher. The teacher’s empathetic attitude not only protects children’s image of themselves as learners, but also against social exclusion by their fellow pupils (Siekkinen et al., 2015).

Previous research has also shown that the interaction between the teacher and the pupil is more important for learning outcomes than structural factors such as educational materials and class sizes. Furthermore, earlier studies have found the teacher-pupil interaction to be a significant factor during the early school years – and one that plays an important role in later years, when the academic challenges become greater and the protective teacher-pupil interaction can be less intensive.

While empathy is just one way to motivate children to learn, laying the groundwork for a child’s attitude toward learning is an indispensable process with effects that ripple outward – and surpass present outcomes.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

Motivating Children to LearnMotivating Children to Learn is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that provides strategies and activities to help children overcome their academic and social challenges.

This course describes the various challenges that can sidetrack children in their developmental and educational processes, leaving them with a sense of discouragement and helplessness. Such challenges include learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, behavior disorders, and executive functioning deficits. Left unchecked, these difficulties can cause children to develop the idea that they are not capable of success in school, precipitating a downward spiral of poor self-esteem and – eventually – school failure.

The good news is that much better outcomes can result when parents, teachers, and therapists engage children in strategies and activities that help them overcome their discouragement and develop their innate intelligence and strengths, resulting in a growth mindset and a love of learning. Detailed in this course are multiple strategies and techniques that can lead to these positive outcomes. Course #40-44 | 2018 | 77 pages | 25 posttest questions

School Refusal Behavior: Children Who Can’t or Won’t Go to SchoolSchool Refusal Behavior: Children Who Can’t or Won’t Go to School is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE) course that breaks down the distinction between truancy and school refusal and examines a number of psychological disorders that may be causing – or comorbid with – school refusal.
 
School refusal is a problem that is stressful for children, for their families, and for school personnel. Failing to attend school has significant long and short-term effects on children’s social, emotional, and educational development. School refusal is often the result of, or associated with, comorbid disorders such as anxiety or depression. Careful assessment, treatment planning, interventions, and management of school refusal are critical to attainment of the goal of a successful return to school as quickly as possible. Interventions may include educational support, cognitive therapy, behavior modification, parent/teacher interventions, and pharmacotherapy.
 
This course will break down the distinction between truancy and school refusal and will examine a number of psychological disorders that may be causing – or comorbid with – school refusal, including separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, social phobia, panic attacks, major depression, dysthymia, ADHD, and oppositional defiant disorder. Completing the course will assist you in performing a functional analysis of school refusal to determine the motivation and particular reinforcement systems that support the behavior. Specific intervention strategies will be reviewed, with a focus on tailoring and adapting standard approaches to specific situations. Participants will be given the opportunity to review several case studies and develop a sample intervention plan for cases of school refusal. Course #40-29 | 2011 | 49 pages | 30 posttest questions
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Improving Social Skills in Children & AdolescentsImproving Social Skills in Children & Adolescents is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that discusses the social skills children and adolescents will need to develop to be successful in school and beyond. It will demonstrate the challenges and difficulties that arise from a deficit of these crucial skills, as well as the benefits and advantages that can come about with well-developed social skills.
This course will also provide practical tools that teachers and therapists can employ to guide children to overcome their difficulties in the social realm and gain social competence. While there are hundreds of important social skills for students to learn, we can organize them into skill areas to make it easier to identify and determine appropriate interventions. This course is divided into 10 chapters, each detailing various aspects of social skills that children, teens, and adults must master to have normative, healthy relationships with the people they encounter every day. This course provides tools and suggestions that, with practice and support, can assist them in managing their social skills deficits to function in society and nurture relationships with the peers and adults in their lives. Course #40-40 | 2016 | 62 pages | 35 posttest questions

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. 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 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 Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!