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The Power of Skepticism and Critical Thinking

Leo Christie, PhD

CE Credit: 3 Hours

Target Audience: Psychology CE | Counseling CE | Speech-Language Pathology CEUs | Social Work CE | Occupational Therapy CEUs | Marriage & Family Therapy CE | School Psychology CE | Teaching CE

Learning Level: Introductory

Course Type: Online

Course Abstract

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

Human beings are endowed with the ability to reason and the need to find connections between things and events. Unfortunately, the need to find connections can be so strong, practitioners and patients can sometimes convince themselves that there are links between treatment plans and patient outcomes, even if there is a lack of evidence to support them. In health care, arriving at the wrong conclusion can be an error of life and death proportions.

These “deductive malfunctions” and other fallacies, heuristics, and biases, are described, discussed, and illustrated in this course. The author begins by defining the concept of ‘critical thinking,’ and follows with a discussion on why practitioners must take an objective approach when evaluating patients, analyzing treatment plans, assessing the effectiveness of interventions, and challenging their own beliefs.

The factors (such as cognitive error, fallacies, assumptions, blind sports, pseudoscience, and quackery) that challenge one’s ability to think critically are highlighted. The author examines strategies for developing critical thinking skills across all ages and provides a review of assessment tools that can be used to gauge the quality of critical thinking before teaching begins and as a measure of progress throughout the training.

The final section of the course provides methods and techniques for cultivating and applying a critical thinking mindset. ‘How-To’ lists for evaluating new treatments, the scientific quality of conference speakers, published studies, and internet content are included.


Section 1: What Is Critical Thinking?
Section 2: Why Do We Need Critical Thinking?
Section 3: Challenges to Critical Thinking
Section 4: Can Critical Thinking Be Learned?
Section 5: Measuring Critical Thinking
Section 6: Cultivating a Critical Thinking Mindset
Summary and Conclusions
Further Information

Course #31-52 | 2024 | 57 pages | 20 posttest questions

Learning Objectives

1. Specify seven characteristics of strong critical thinkers
2. List three reasons skepticism and critical thinking are essential in health and mental health care
3. Summarize ten heuristics, fallacies, and biases that can reduce the effectiveness of health care treatment
4. Describe the six key interconnected concepts essential to promoting the development of clinical reasoning during clinical education
5. Name six assessment instruments that are used to measure critical thinking skills
6. Describe four strategies that can be used to cultivate a critical thinking mindset

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Arizona Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners; 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), licensed marriage and family therapists (#MFT-0100), and licensed social workers (#SW-0664); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage & Family Therapist 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 (#50-1635 - all courses are reported within two business days of completion).


This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. The course is text-based (reading) and the CE test is open-book (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).

Successful completion of this course involves passing an online test (80% required, 3 chances to take) and we ask that you also complete a brief course evaluation. Click here to learn more.

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

About the Author(s)

Leo Christie, PhD, LMFT, is a Florida-licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Florida State University. Past President of the Florida Council on Family Relations, Dr. Christie is a past CEO of Professional Development Resources, a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to deliver continuing education credit courses to healthcare professionals throughout the United States. He has more than 20 years' experience in private practice with a specialty in child behavior disorders and as an instructor for over 500 live continuing education seminars for healthcare professionals.

: Receives a salary from Professional Development Resources, Inc.

: No relevant nonfinancial relationships exist. 

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