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The Power of Skepticism and Critical Thinking

Leo Christie, PhD

Course Abstract

The Power of Skepticism and Critical Thinking is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) 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

Learning Objectives

1. Identify five core elements of critical thinking
2. List three reasons skepticism and critical thinking are essential in health and mental health care
3. Summarize heuristics, fallacies, and biases that can reduce the effectiveness of health care treatment
4. Specify seven characteristics of strong critical thinkers
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
CE INFORMATION

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 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 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 (Note: New York counselors, marriage & family therapists, and social workers will receive 3 continuing education credits for completing this self-study course); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501 - Note: Ohio MFTs completing this course will receive 3 clinical continuing education credits); 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).

COURSE DIRECTIONS

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.

Disclosure:
Financial
: Receives a salary from Professional Development Resources, Inc.

Nonfinancial
: No relevant nonfinancial relationships exist. 


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