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Counseling the Criminal Mind

Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

CE Credit: 2 Hours

Target Audience: Psychology CE | Counseling CE | Social Work CE | Marriage & Family Therapy CE | School Psychology CE | Teaching CE

Learning Level: Intermediate

Course Type: Online

Course Abstract

Counseling the Criminal Mind is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that examines the effects of mass incarceration and provides strategies for reducing criminal behavior.

When events such as mass shootings, acts of terrorism, and familicide occur, one question we might ask ourselves is: What goes through the mind of the perpetrator? In attempting to answer this question, this course will explore the many factors that lead to criminal behavior, including traumatic brain injury, genetic predisposition, sibling behavior, exposure to violent video games, excessive television viewing, alcohol abuse, and social cohesion.

We will then explore the psychological effects of the incarceration experience itself, factors that contribute to criminal behavior, and brain-related and environmental approaches to turn around criminal behavior. Lastly, we will present strategies that you can use in session with your clients to help them make effective changes, find a vocation, decrease feelings of shame while increasing feelings of empathy, and practice mindfulness and self-regulation – all aimed at helping clients turn from a life of crime into one of fulfillment, meaning, and productivity.

Course #21-33 | 2019 | 35 pages | 15 posttest questions

Learning Objectives

1. Describe how mass incarceration leads to a cycle of crime and what clinicians can do to break the cycle
2. Identify five factors that may lead to criminal behavior
3. List three biases that exist in the criminal justice system and two priorities for effective rehabilitation
4. Explain the psychological, cognitive, and behavioral effects of incarceration
5. Describe two interventions that help reduce the risk of criminal behavior
6. List three strategies that clinicians can use in session with clients to help reduce criminal behavior

Professional Development Resources, #1046, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 6/12/2019 - 6/12/2022. Social workers completing this course will receive 2 clinical continuing education credits.

Professional Development Resources is also approved by the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling (#BAP346); the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers (#SW-0664 - Note: New York social workers will receive 2 continuing education credits for completing this self-study course); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage & Family Therapist Board (#RCST100501 - Note: Ohio social workers completing this course will receive 2 clinical continuing education credits); the Texas 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)

Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in post-traumatic growth, optimal performance, and wellness. She is licensed to practice in California and Colorado. Claire earned her BS in Kinesiology and worked as a personal trainer for years before becoming a course developer for International Sports Science Association. Claire is always thinking about ways to improve physical fitness and nutrition as a modality for improving mental health. She also writes in her popular blog, Leveraging Adversity on Psychcentral.

Financial: Claire Nana receives author compensation from Professional Development Resources.
: No relevant nonfinancial relationships exist.

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