WMHCA: Developing new skills in critical thinking and clinical reasoning to enhance your psychotherapy

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1.5 CEs Recorded: Winter, 2024

Adding critical thinking to your repertoire will enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of your psycho-therapeutic treatments. Critical thinking will enable you to make more accurate assessments of your patient’s emotional functioning and capabilities in the present moment. Your patient’s symptoms and problems are the tip of the iceberg. Critical thinking will enable you to assess and treat the whole iceberg. Accurate assessments will naturally inspire you to be much more precise and diverse with your treatment interventions.

Clinical reasoning will help you decide on the most effective treatment at this moment. It can provide you with rapid and accurate assessments of the progress of your treatments throughout every session. Clinical reasoning will enable you to trust your patient’s non conscious emotional processing, your therapeutic process and the underlying Neuro-biology that inspires us to flourish in very creative and novel ways. There are several distinct components of critical thinking and clinical reasoning, each of which can enhance your psychotherapy:

● Objective empirical strategies to gather and analyze client/patient phenomena. ● Discern and evaluate the relevance of that clinical information and data. ● Based on those observations, you can form hypotheses. ● Clinical reasoning then helps you decide on possible interventions to gather more data and to test the hypotheses.

Learning objectives: Participants will be able to 1] Identify clinical strategies to gather data about client/patient. 2] Describe how to evaluate the relevance of the data that has been obtained. 3] Give an example of a hypothesis to explain your clinical observations. 4] Be able to propose interventions to test a clinical hypothesis.


  1. Introductions. (15 min)
  2. Define terms. Explore the concepts of and components of critical thinking and reasoning. (15 min)
  3. Show a video-recording of a session to demonstrate clinical thinking .(10 Min.)
  4. Use the clinical material to illustrate each of the components of clinical thinking.(30 min)
  5. Discussion and questions (20 min)
EPDC CE Hours: 1.5
Presenter: Albert Sheldon, MD

Albert Sheldon, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington, Seattle, has specialized in the research, practice and training of psychotherapy for 35 years. Dr Sheldon practiced as a primary care physician for ten years before completing his training in psychiatry. He received a Bush Medical Fellowship to study psycho-therapeutic processes from a psycho-physiological perspective. In collaboration with his wife, they have discovered and developed a new neuro-biological paradigm that applies the concepts and knowledge of Integration and Neuroscience in psychotherapy: Complex Integration of Multiple Brain Systems. This approach integrates recent research on neuroplasticity, brain development, and therapeutic change. Their book, Complex Integration of Multiple Brain Systems in Therapy, was published by Norton in 2021.