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Continuing Education Credit Information

Educational Objectives
Target Audience and Instructional Level
Instructor Credentials
Number of CE credits
Educational activities not offered for CE credits


The following are educational objectives of the eight CriticalThinkRx program modules:

Module 1: Why a Critical Curriculum on Psychotropic Medications?

  1. describe CriticalThinkRx curriculum rationale and objectives
  2. describe project background and source of funding
  3. describe contents selection process and program orientation
  4. assess the significance of the case studies presented and the implications to course learner’s own practice
  5. assess the significance of the “Critical questions to ask yourself about your client’s medication” to course learner’s own practice

Module 2: Increasing Use of Psychotropics: Public Health Concerns

  1. identify recent trends in the prescription of stimulant, antidepressant, antipsychotic, and anticonvulsant medications to children and adolescents
  2. identify gaps between empirically-based evidence and current practices revealed in epidemiological studies of prescription patterns
  3. articulate rationale for off-label use of medications
  4. articulate experts’ concern about off-label use of medications and polypharmacy
  5. explain special concerns about prescriptions to specific populations such as preschoolers and youths in foster care
  6. describe instances of behavioural toxicity of psychotropic medications

Module 3: The Drug Approval Process

  1. describe distinct FDA mandates regarding prescription drugs
  2. identify controversies related to recent FDA laws concerning prescription drugs
  3. identify the main phases of the FDA drug approval process and define their key objectives
  4. identify limitations of clinical trials in establishing whether psychotropic drugs are safe and efficacious to treat a given condition
  5. assess conflicts of interest created by pharmaceutical companies’ funding of most clinical trials
  6. describe consequences of inadequate post-marketing surveillance of new drugs on the market

Module 4: Pharmaceutical Industry Influences on Prescribing

  1. define “medicalization” and “disease mongering” and identify their possible impact on prescription of psychotropic drugs to youths
  2. identify specific marketing strategies targeting all stakeholders in the mental health system, and used by pharmaceutical companies to expand markets for their products
  3. identify lower and upper ranges of estimates of total annual promotional spending by the US pharmaceutical industry
  4. Define “ghostwriting” and assess known impacts on the quality and integrity of information in scientific journals

Module 5: Specific Drug Classes: Use, Efficacy, and Safety

  1. Name specific psychotropic drugs that are approved by the FDA for use with children and adolescents, and identify their specific indication(s).
  2. Name specific psychotropic drugs that re not approved by the FDA for use with children and adolescents
  3. Explain “black box” warnings issued for specific classes of psychotropic drugs used with children and adolescents
  4. Identify adverse effects associated with each of these specific drug classes
  5. Assess implications of class-action litigation against drug makers concerning “hidden” data on adverse effects and off-label marketing

Module 6: Non-Medical Practitioners and Psychotropic Medications

  1. identify specific legal constraints on non-medical professionals related to prescription medications
  2. assess legislative trends concerning psychologists and prescriptive authority
  3. describe ethical and legal issues related to the use of psychotropic medications in children
  4. define “competence” and recommended training requirements as they relate to practicing with medicated clients
  5. enumerate accepted standards for obtaining valid informed consent, and list what constitutes “adequate” information
  6. recognize key legislation related to clients’ rights and professionals’ obligation to obtain informed consent
  7. assess current views on children’s rights to autonomy, self-determination, and confidentiality, as well as on their capacity to consent
  8. discuss possible impacts of psychotropic medication on children’s sense of self
  9. explain a practitioner’s ethical responsibility when referring children for medication, encouraging medication compliance, and monitoring treatment-emergent effects

Module 7: Medication Management: Professional Roles and Best Practices

  1. identify and define the five major roles of non-medical practitioners in relation to the medication of clients
  2. explain the differences between traditional, interdisciplinary, and transformational collaboration between professionals
  3. explain the partnership model of practice with clients
  4. apply “best practices” in assessments, referrals, medication monitoring, and court affidavits

Module 8: Psychosocial Interventions for Childhood Problems

  1. describe evidence-based practice as a process and a philosophy of closing gaps between research and practice, respecting client preferences, and minimizing harm
  2. identify emotions and behavior common across several DSM diagnostic categories of childhood problems , and identify ways to view childhood problems with less reliance on DSM diagnostic labels
  3. describe effects of traumatic experiences on children’s development and self-regulation
evaluate appropriate psychosocial interventions for various childhood problems based on research evidence



This CE program is aimed principally at non-medical practitioners in mental health and child welfare, including counsellors, psychologists, social workers, as well as attorneys and judges. Other professionals, including teachers, clergy, and others, may also benefit. This CE program will also benefit physicians (both primary-care and specialty).

The instructional levels are Introductory and Intermediate.


This CE program is presently offered free of charge, as a community service of the School of Social Work, Florida International University.
The CE program is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Attorneys General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program.

To maintain this website, update the contents of the program, and pay the required costs to the requisite professional organizations, a nominal administrative fee might eventually be charged to future course learners who wish to obtain approved CE credits.



The contents of CriticalThinkRx were determined by rigorous assessment, including systematic literature review, expert faculty assessment, new scientific knowledge, and activity feedback.

CriticalThinkRx was conceived by David Cohen, Ph.D., and designed by David Cohen and Inge Sengelman, M.S.W. The contents of the CE program were reviewed by expert consultants in counselling, law, psychiatry, psychology, and social work. Their credentials are available here.



This program is approved by The Florida Bar for 14 C.L.E.R. (2 ethics and 12 mental illness awareness). Course # 8052-8, exp. 3/29/2010.

This program is approved by the Florida Board of Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists, and Licensed Mental Health Counselors (Provider # 50-738, exp. 3/31/2011), for 12 C.E. credits.

The School of Social Work, Florida International University, is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor C.E. programs for psychologists. The School of Social Work maintains responsibility for this program and its contents. This program is worth 12 C.E. credits.

Social Workers
This program is approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Provider # 886502126) for 12 C.E. contact hours. Also approved by the Florida Board of Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists and Licensed Mental Health Counselors (Provider # 50-738, exp. 3/31/2011).

A course learner can obtain a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 12 C.E. credits. C.E. credits are provided to course learners who: (1) register and activate their account, (2) obtain a score of 80% or better on a multiple-question test (about 10-18 questions per test), and (3) fill out an online evaluation for every two modules.

A Certificate of Completion/Certicate of C.E. Credits will be given for each two modules (one test) successfully completed (3 C.E. credits). By successfully completing all eight modules (four tests), a course learner may obtain the maximum of 12 C.E. credits.

CE credit information last updated January 2009.


Educational activities not offered for CE credits

No information available. Please visit later for updated schedule information.


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