Introduction to Clinical Psychopharmacology
ICP-600 Introduction to Clinical Psychopharmacology
This course in a nutshell:
Discussion topics: Identify clusters of symptoms relating to DSM diagnostic criteria
Skills: You’ll learn how to develop systematic treatment plans and make referrals for medication evaluation based on factors related to psychopharmacology.
(Pre-requisite: Assessment of Psychological Disorders, APD-400, or equivalent.)
Introduction to Clinical Psychopharmacology (ICP-600) offers course materials focusing on important elements of psychopharmacology applied to the treatment of mental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).
This course is designed to offer 60 hours of online education combining reading, demonstration videos, case studies, and practice exercises. ICP-600 provides essential information on new medications and treatment options; the latest research on side effects, and contraindications; efficacy of all major medications prescribed for mental health disorders; and the effects of withdrawing from psychopharmacological medications.
Students will learn to evaluate their scope of practice related to client’s symptoms, identify clusters of symptoms and a speculative diagnosis, recognize need for referral for medication evaluation, and deepen their understanding on the use of psychotropic medication for disorders classified in the DSM. The following disorders will be featured:
Bipolar Disorder, Depressive Disorders, Disruptive Child and Adolescent Behavior; Eating Disorders and Obesity; Substance Disorders; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Anxiety Disorders Panic (Disorder, PTSD, and Social Anxiety); Psychotic Disorders; Personality Disorders; Substance-Related Disorders, and other miscellaneous disorders.
Course topics cover:
• General information applicable to mental health therapists from a variety of backgrounds
• Assessment protocol to include the 9 domains of the mental status exam
• Specific indicators when a referral for medication may be indicated
• Facts about drug interactions and side effects
• Information on how medications affect adults, children, and adolescents
• Red flags that may indicate a referral for re-evaluation
• Cultural difference regarding medical treatments
• Strategies on how to discontinue medication safely when needed.
Information presented in this course is meant to be used by counsellors and therapists as reference material only. Any clinical conclusions arrived upon as the result of an assessment should be labeled as a ‘speculative diagnosis’ in written reports, case notes, or when communicating with clients or other professionals.
A speculative diagnosis is not intended to substitute for a clinical diagnosis, which can only be determined by registered mental health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, or physicians. However the ability to arrive at a speculative diagnosis gives all counselors a framework in which to evaluate whether or not the client’s presenting issues fall within the counsellor’s scope of practice. According to the Canadian Professional Counselling Association, it is essential for counselors and therapists to recognize and operate only within the scope of one’s training.
Portfolio of job skills
Upon graduation from the Diploma of Applied Psychology and Counselling, students may include the following skills as part of their Professional Portfolio:
1. The ability to assess and evaluate symptoms of mental disorders as classified in the DSM.
2. The understanding of basic elements of psychopharmacology applicable to mental disorders in the DSM such as:
- Specific indicators on when a referral for medication may be indicated
- Facts about drug interactions and side effects
- Information on how medications affect adults, children, and adolescents
- Red flags that may indicate a referral for re-evaluation
- Cultural difference regarding medical treatments.
- Strategies on how to discontinue medication safely when needed.
3. Ability to conduct a clinical assessment and mental status exam to obtain information about the presenting problem, the client’s family, cultural and relational history, psychiatric and/or medical problems, predominant affect, crisis and suicide risk level.
4. Ability to evaluate and apply information obtained from the client’s bio, psycho-social history, current level of functioning, and mental status exam to arrive at a speculative diagnosis.
5. Ability to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) to:
- Identify clusters of symptoms.
- Speculate on possible diagnostic conclusions
- Gain information about research relating to diagnostic categories
- Understand dual diagnoses and the overlap between diagnostic categories.
6. Ability to use clinical terms and language found in the DSM when writing reports or communicating with mental health professionals.
7. Ability to determine if the client’s presenting problem lies within the therapist’s scope of practice.
8. Ability to identify symptoms and make appropriate requests medication evaluations; and professional correspondence with referral contacts and outside resources.
(The skill set covered in this course comprises core competences required for membership in most professional counseling associations.)