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Mental Health Track

The Occupational Therapy Doctorate, Mental Health Track, is made up of 8 core courses and 4 elective courses for a total of 36 credits. It is designed for students interested in advancing their careers to specialize in mental health.

The AOTA has identified mental health as a key practice area in the 21st century. Students completing this track will have the credentials to teach in most OT and OTA programs.

The courses are offered completely online. Please see below for descriptions courses.

CORE COURSES (8 REQUIRED, DESCRIPTIONS BELOW): OTD701, OTD702, OTD703, OTD704, OTD705, OTD797, OTD798, OTD799
ELECTIVES (CHOOSE 4, DESCRIPTIONS BELOW): PSY550, PSY552, PSY620, PSY654, PSY657, PSY660, PSY662, PSY663, PSY665

Curriculum & Schedules

Code Course Name Credit Hours
OTD701 Utilization of Research in Evidence Based Practice 3

Examination of the research process, statistical analysis, and evidence based practice with applicability to advanced occupational therapy practice. Attention is given to critical research methods, analysis, and ethical aspects of scholarly inquiry. Emphasis on how research contributes to the development of occupational therapy knowledge, improves practice, and enhances the education and professional accountability of occupational therapy practitioners.

OTD702 Application of Occupational Science 3

This course explores advanced clinical applications of the occupational therapy practice framework as well as descriptive, relational, predictive, and prescriptive aspects of occupational science with a focus on application to advanced occupational therapy clinical practice.

OTD703 Community Practice, Program Development, and Entrepreneurship 3

This course discusses the foundation, theoretical framework, and role of occupational therapy in community practice. This course also thoroughly explores the program development process, entrepreneurship, and business fundamentals in occupational therapy.

OTD704 Bioethics 3

This course provides an opportunity for students to assess ethical and legal issues confronting occupational therapy practitioners and other healthcare providers in a variety of practice settings, focusing on the identification and analysis of legal and ethical concepts and principles underlying occupational therapy and health care. The course focuses on ethical concepts, theories, and values applied in ethical decision-making that are related to a variety of ethical dilemmas in health and social settings.

OTD705 Leadership and Advocacy 3

This course explores leadership theory and application to current and future practice. Students also examine advocacy in the occupational therapy profession. Current issues and trends in the occupational therapy field are discussed.

OTD797 Capstone Professional Writing and Proposal 3

Students focus on professional writing skills and clinical reasoning to develop a proposal for their capstone project. Through participation in this course, students will identify relevant issues impacting occupational therapy in their specialty area. A literature review into a specific area of inquiry and a detailed proposal for implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of the capstone project will be completed.

OTD798 Capstone Project Implementation and Evaluation 3

The purpose of this course is to demonstrate advanced skills in evidence-based occupational therapy practice. Students will implement and evaluate a project that reflects an identified area of need. The course is conducted in a seminar format with students working independently, but engaging in online discussions with faculty and students.

OTD799 Capstone Project Dissemination 3

Students further synthesize outcomes of the capstone project and will demonstrate their understanding of advanced occupational therapy concepts. Dissemination of findings from the capstone project will be completed with a focus on demonstrating skills as a clinical scholar.

PSY550 Family Systems 3

This course will focus on family dynamics and family systems. Various family systems theorists such as Minuchin, Satir, and Haley will be reviewed and discussed. Specific attention will be given to issues of substance use within the family, including both working with someone with primary substance use and the effects of substance use on family structure. Students will be given the opportunity to practice various systemic interventions that promote healthy psychological development within the family system. The impact of culture, gender, and sexual identity will be examined.

PSY552 Bullying & Coercive Behavior 3

This course will examine the overwhelming evidence of how this anti-social behavior impacts the youth of today at home, in school, and in the community. Students will investigate the causes and kinds of bullying as well as how parenting styles either contribute to or empower the child against bullying. Strategies for the educator, psychology professional, and parent will be studied.

PSY620 Psychopathology 3

This course provides students with an advanced understanding of relevant nomenclature and psychopathology from a developmental, biological, psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, and family systems perspective. Students will learn how to interpret the system of assessment and understand coding and reporting procedures outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 that are utilized in making a diagnosis of a mental disorder. Students will incorporate relevant research and case studies throughout the course to integrate the various perspectives within a clinical context. Students will also learn how to write a Clinical Write Up based on industry standards.

PSY654 Drugs, Medication and Society 3

This course will help the student understand the most commonly prescribed medications that are used in connection with behavioral health today. Current trends in psychopharmacological intervention will be studied and how such drugs will impact cognition, judgment, emotions, and motivation in the developing brain. In addition to commonly prescribed behavioral health medications, the use and abuse of mood altering chemicals will be discussed along with the nature and process of addictive drug seeking.

PSY657 Counseling and Co-Occurring Disorders 3

This course will enable the student to learn those counseling techniques and skills that are essential for working with clients who suffer from co-occurring disorders such as addiction and mental health problems. Students will develop an understanding of how clients can self-medicate underlying mental health and emotional problems by means of illicit drug use and abuse. With this understanding, the student will learn how to develop effective treatment plans for clients with co-occurring disorders.

PSY660 Social and Cultural Foundations 3

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the various theories, issues and trends of providing counseling in a multi-cultural and diverse society. Foundational knowledge and skills needed to provide mental health counseling services to diverse populations in a culturally diverse manner will be the core structure of this course of study. Such theorists as Monica McGoldrick will be reviewed for impact on current thinking and implications for mental health counseling.

PSY662 Counseling Theories & Practice 3

This course is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the theory and application of contrasting theoretical models of counseling and forming helping relationships. Students will examine the theory and application of various counseling models through lecture, presentations, group discussion, experiential activities, readings and reflection. This course will address the therapeutic process and practical elements of the counseling interaction, and assist students in strengthening their own personal approach to the helping relationship. In addition, it will challenge students to conceptualize their own qualities that support and hinder the therapeutic helping relationship.

PSY663 Career Development: Theory and Practice 3

This course will focus on the dynamic relationship that can exist between a person’s culture and other related and associated issues in the employment arena. Topics will focus on career counseling, occupational development theories, educational planning, market research and vocational assessment tools as well as the use of technology as a tool in career counseling. Case studies will also be utilized.

PSY665 Group Dynamics & Mental Health Counseling 3

This course will focus on the principles of group dynamics and group members’ roles and behaviors, and therapeutic factors of group therapeutic work. Students will talk about group leadership and different facilitation styles and approaches to group counseling. Students will learn specific models and techniques relevant to group treatment for substance use disorders, including use of motivational interviewing. Group counseling theories, orientations and behaviors will be evaluated for effectiveness. Role playing will be utilized to demonstrate appropriate skill development as it relates to mental health group work.