The Center for Professional Development

Certificate in the Biology and Psychopharmacology of Behavioral Health

Fridays, October 10-December 5, 2014
(see session dates below)
Full Certificate Discount Fee: $575 (dependent upon full payment at time of registration; space may be held with a $50 non-refundable fee that will be applied to full payment when attendance is confirmed.)
Standard course fee $125/session
30 CEUs for entire series (Ethics hours where indicated)

* This certificate program is not a formal certification. Bryn Mawr certificate programs provide participants with curricula that support intensive study in specific areas. Completion of program requirements results in a frameable certificate of completion at the final session.


This certificate series is designed to look at the biological component within the context of recovery. Each course within this series will focus on the use of biological information as it applies to behavioral health. Issues associated with psychopharmacology will be presented without sacrificing a holistic approach to recovery. In fact, the final course will specifically look at practices that include shared decision making and working collaboratively with prescribing clinicians. In all courses within this series, biological and pharmacological information is presented in such a way that an extensive background in biology is not a prerequisite.

Overall learning objectives for this series include: 1) recognize the most common medications and associated side effects for medications prescribed for children, adolescents and adults with behavioral health diagnoses; 2) summarize the relationship between brain chemistry and medications that should (and should not) be prescribed for people with a mental illness and an addiction; 3) list three commonly prescribed medications that are abused; 4) discuss medication abuse in the elderly; list three brain structures involved in pathological gambling; 5) List three specific interventions clinicians can practice to help people in recovery with their medications.

Craig Strickland, PhD, is Director of Organizational and Employee Development at Horizon House, Inc., is owner of Biobehavioral Consultation and Education, LLC, and holds an adjunct faculty position at Philadelphia University. He has researched and taught extensively in the areas of the biological etiology of mental illness and substance abuse and psychopharmacology.

Those who complete the full program of five courses within the current Professional Development program year will receive a frameable certificate of completion at the final session. Those who attend fewer than five sessions in the 2014-2015 program year will forfeit the certificate. There are two registration options
(1) Register for the Full Certificate* at $550, by submitting the full fee upon registration; OR
(2)   Register for the eight independent workshops at the standard course fee. Payment for each session must be submitted at least one week prior to class date.

*Registration and pre-payment of the full certificate program fee assumes attendance at all five sessions. Refunds of unused portions of full certificate discount fee will not be granted.

OCTOBER 10, 2014
Basic Psychopharmacology and Non-Traditional Medications
9am-3:30pm - $125 - 6 CEUs
The morning portion of this course is designed to provide a basic overview of commonly prescribed medications used to treat emotional and psychiatric disorders. The primary classes of medication will be discussed including antipsychotic medication, anti-depressants anti-anxiety medications (anxiolytics) and mood stabilizers. Benefits, common side-effects and drug interactions are included in the lecture. The afternoon portion of this course will consider a range of treatment alternatives including both traditional and novel services/programs. As research into etiology and treatment dramatically expands our knowledge about pharmacological choices, a relatively new field of alternative medicine including herbal medications is rapidly growing. Some non-herbal treatments designed to lessen the symptoms of anxiety and depression are discussed. The benefits and side-effects of these treatments will be compared to traditional pharmacological agents such as the SSRIs and benzodiazepines.

OCTOBER 24, 2014
Co-Occurring Disorders and Pharmacology

9am-3:30pm - $125 - 6 CEUs
This course takes a look at best practice as it applies to prescribing, or not prescribing, psychotropic medications for the person in recovery who has both a mental illness and substance abuse (MISA) diagnosis. Each medication class will be discussed in terms of benefits and side effects and, whenever possible, recommendations of one medication type over another for the “dually-diagnosed” individual. Introductory material relating to the neuroanatomy and physiology of the central nervous system will also be presented and linked to why some medications should be prescribed and why others should be avoided for this population. Case studies will be used to illustrate some of the concepts presented.

NOVEMBER 7, 2014
Prescription Drug Abuse

9am-3:30pm - $125 - 6 CEUs
More and more data reveals street drugs are not the only area of concern regarding substance abuse and addiction. This course focuses on the abuse of commonly prescribed medications including opioids, benzodiazepines and steroids. Presented material will focus on demographic information and trends in prescription drug use. Regarding specific medication, neural mechanisms of action, methods of ingesting drugs and signs and symptoms of drug use and intoxication will be discussed. Treatments and interventions for some medications are included in the course.

NOVEMBER 21, 2014
Current Developments and Special Topics

9am-3:30pm - $125 - 6 CEUs
With the advent of sophisticated research tools and technology, contemporary psycho-pharmacological research and practice is being driven by what we know about the etiology of mental health symptoms as well as what we know about how medications work in the brain. The morning portion of this workshop looks at specific medications developed to "normalize" altered brain chemistry that results in symptoms. The afternoon portion of this workshop will focus on some special topics including the neurobiology and treatment of gambling, medication abuse in the elderly and personality characteristics, the brain and drug use.

DECEMBER 5, 2014
Psychopharmacology and Recovery: How We Can Help
9am-3:30pm - $125 - 6 CEUs (incl. 3 ethics hours)
Psychopharmacology can be a powerful tool within the context of personal recovery. However, the person taking the medicationsmay take a passive role regarding these medications. This workshop is designed to look at the practice of psychopharmacology and how it can be seen as a wellness tool e.g. how a person in recovery “can get off the bench and can get in the game” regarding their treatment with psychotropic medications. This course focuses on ways behavioral health staff can help people in recovery become active partners in their treatment. Several ethical and best practice issues regarding the use of and research involving medication will be included in this session.