Introduction to Behavioral and Alternative Medicine




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  Introduction to Behavioral and Alternative Medicine

45 hours of CE credit, $750 Add to Cart | View Cart | Checkout

At home learning format based on audiovisual CD lectures and readings. You can start anytime and work with the instructor via e-mail.

Professor: Richard A. Sherman, PhD

Course Concept and Description / Objectives:
Complimentary and alternative (C & A) practices, including those which form the core of “behavioral medicine” are rapidly finding acceptance within the clinical community. Simultaneously, “accepted” practices are falling from favor as they are shown to be ineffective or even counterproductive. Patients now visit as many or more “alternative” providers as traditional providers and are spending billions of dollars on attempts to get care not available from the traditional medical community.  This course is intended to acquaint you with many of those practices which may become the new standard of care in the near future. It is also intended to help you learn to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the claims made by the proponents of these practices so you can more readily separate the real knowledge from the emotional advertising.
Specifically, this course intends to:
            1. Provide you with an introduction to the basic mechanisms and principles of behavioral medicine and its most common techniques.

2. Provide you with a balanced overview of a selection of complimentary and alternative medicine interventions recently and currently practiced in the “West”.

3. Provide information on the underlying psychophysiological mechanisms through which non-specific interventions are likely to produce very real effects.

4. Provide you with practice in and techniques for objectively assessing the validity of claims presented in formats different than usually acceptable to current “Western” science.

5. Provide you with sufficient information on applications of behavioral interventions in nursing so you can decide whether to get additional training to incorporate these techniques into your nursing practice.


    Mosby’s Complementary & Alternative Medicine: A Research-Based Approach; 3rd edition. By Lyn W. Freeman. Published by Mosby of St. Louis Mo. In 2008. ISBN 978-0-323-05346-4.
 Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Rehabilitation Edited by Eric Leskowitz, Published by Elsevier (Churchill Livingston) of Edinburgh and New York. 2003, ISBN 0-443-06599-3.


Format (How we are going to proceed through the course):
This home study course is divided into 28 units. Each unit consists of one of more chapters of reading in the texts, sometimes an audiovisual lecture, review questions to be answered, and an e-mail or phone based discussion with me. The course begins with an introductory audiovisual lecture profusely illustrated by power-point slides.  

When you sign up for the course, you will be given immediate access to the course web site.  After doing the reading for each unit (and attending the audiovisual lecture when provided), you will answer a brief series of essay questions about each topic, e-mail your answers to me, and then we will interact by e-mail or phone about each topic. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions and for me to fill in gray areas and provide additional information on topics of special interest to you.

Format: Home study supported by e-mail chats after each unit is completed. The lecture portion of the course is presented through a series of audiovisual lectures profusely illustrated by power-point slides and movies. The course is accessed from the course web site. The audiovisual lectures are on power point slides. You will hear the instructor’s voice while viewing the power point sides. The lectures are between 1 ½ and 2 ½ hours in length. Reading assignments parallel the lectures. After watching the lecture and reading the assigned supporting files, you will answer a brief series of short essay review questions (which are in the review questions file on the course web site). The answered questions are then e-mailed to the instructor. You and the instructor will discuss each unit via e-mail chat after your answers are assessed. There is no need to complete the discussion with the instructor before proceeding to the succeeding lecture & chapters. It is expected that all review questions will be answered correctly and completely by the student. Any questions answered incorrectly or incompletely must be discussed and/or corrected. You will have at least one real-time meeting with the instructor via a web based program such as “go to meeting” during which you will interact around your new skills.
            Accessibility: Hearing impaired people can view the slides only as virtually all of the material presented in the lectures is typed onto the slides. Visually impaired people can concentrate on the verbal lectures as the slide material is repeated in the lecture accompanying each slide.

Accessing course materials: All course materials are available on the course web site. When you purchase the course, you will be given instructions for accessing the course web site immediately.

Computer and Computer Knowledge Requirements:  Anybody with a modern computer and a bit of basic understanding of computer operation (at the level of being able to send e-mails) can play this course with minimal problems. You must have a computer (a) capable of connecting to the internet and running a typical internet program, (b) containing/running a modern word processor such as Microsoft word or Word Perfect, (c) the capability to play sounds such as music (has speakers and appropriate software which normally come with any modern computer), and (d) a slide viewing program such as Power Point (you can probably get a slide viewing program free off the internet if you don’t have one). Any modern (e.g., built within the last ten years), IBM style computer running Windows 98 and more recent platforms (e.g., XP or Windows 8) should be able to do this. Speed, hard disk size, and RAM are not factors for computers in the above category.
             Dozens of students have used recent Apple products (MACs etc.) for the course however they frequently have more difficulty playing the course materials than PC users do.
If you are using a MAC type of computer, you must have a current version of “quicktime”. If you do not have it, you can download it for free from the web.
You will also need to be able to use the National Library of Medicine’s medical literature sites ( so you can locate citations (and frequently abstracts) for material you will need for your papers. You will also need to be able to access the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s web site ( so you can search for consensus statements about C & A techniques.

Topic Outline / Reading & Listening Assignments:

  1. Introduction – How medical practice changes – the history of C & A practices

                  Audiovisual lecture 1; MS word text file “concepts of disease” (NOTE,
                  this file is a crucial part of the course introduction.)

  1. Evaluating credibility of claims for efficacy of C & A products and practices

                  Audiovisual lecture 2;  Text file “CAM group size”

  1. Potential indirect mechanisms   Freeman chapters 1 – 4; Audiovisual lectures 4-6;

Text file

  1. Relaxation        Freeman chapter 5; Audiovisual lecture 9     


  1. Meditation                  Freeman chapter 6 
  1. Hypnotherapy             Freeman chapter 8  


  1. Imagery                       Freeman chapter 9
  1. Chiropractic                Freeman chapter 10  


  1. Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine   Freeman chapter 11


  1. Homeopathy               Freeman chapter 12   


  1. Massage Therapy        Freeman chapter 13  
  1. Aroma Therapy           Freeman chapter 14


  1. Herbal Therapy           Audiovisual lecture 5; Freeman chapter 15; Read text file

                                                                                       “Ginkgo doesn’t work”

  1. Exercise                       Freeman chapter 16


  1. Spiritual Medicine       Freeman chapter 17  
  1. Therapeutic Touch      Freeman  chapter 18; text file entitled “healing touch”


  1. Trigger Points              Audiovisual lecture 6


  1. Reiki                            Freeman chapter 19


  1. Biofields                     Freeman chapter 20;  Audiovisual lecture 4

      20. Behavioral medicine   Audiovisual lectures 7 - 9;  Freeman chapter 7

21. Ethics of providing CAM                 Audiovisual lecture 10 

22. Future of CAM                                 Freeman chapter 21

When all requirements have been successfully completed, your course completion certificate will be e-mailed to you and BCIA will be informed that you completed the course.


Administrative Information

Schedule: You can start the course whenever wish to within six months of the purchase date and work at your own pace as long as you complete the course within one year of purchase.
Duration of course validity: You must begin the course within six months of the purchase date and complete it within one year of the purchase date. Courses not completed by that time are void and must be repurchased if still available. No refunds are provided for courses not completed within one year of purchase.

CE Credit: Saybrook University is regionally accredited and approved by the state of California to grant degrees. These are continuing education, not university accredited, courses. CE credits are given through (1) the state of California’s Board of Behavioral Sciences (Approval # PCE1895); (2) The National Board of Certified Counselors (Provider # 6270), and (3) the Behavioral Medicine R&T Foundation is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Foundation maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
Saybrook University is regionally accredited and approved to grant degrees by the state of California.

BCIA: This course is accepted by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance for both certification and recertification.

Questions / further information? Contact Dr. Philip Brotman at 212-222-5665.

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