Therapeutic Goals and Challenges of Working with Young Adults with Emerging Serious Mental Illness



Live Interactive Webinar | September 27, 2021, 1 - 4:15 p.m. ET
Instructor: Lisa Youngling Howard, M.D. 
Level: Intermediate
CEs: 3 CEs are available for $5 fee
Review CE accreditation and approvals for this course.  

This course offers an opportunity to learn more about the treatment of young adults who are struggling with an emerging mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder or schizophrenia. We will begin by describing the fundamentals of diagnostic assessment for clients who are first presenting with symptoms of mania or psychosis. We will also discuss the principles of psychopharmacologic treatment of mania/hypomania, bipolar depression and psychosis. The course will then move into a discussion of the therapeutic work with clients as they navigate their illness. We will explore the advantages and disadvantages of a diagnosis, how to talk with clients about their psychotic symptoms and develop a shared vocabulary around them, how to navigate feelings of shame and stigma related to having a mental illness and how to work with clients to support them in the often frustrating process of medication treatment. We will use clinical vignettes to illustrate the nuance and tremendous impact that this work can have for treatment adherence and long-term prognosis and to describe the psychotherapeutic challenges of working with these clients. Participants will deeply explore the nature of this work and engage with one another, as well as the course material, in thinking about how to support young adults as they navigate and integrate a serious mental illness into their identity.

Target Audience: 

Social workers and other social service providers

Course Delivery Method, Format and Instructor Interaction :

Live interactive webinar with discussion. Login information will be emailed immediately after registration to the email address entered during registration. Attendees are visible to one another in Zoom Meeting and are encouraged to be active participants with their camera and/or microphone in order take part in discussion.

System Requirements:

Attendees will need access to a computer with working camera and microphone. All courses are offered using Zoom conferencing software. 

Registration Fees and Deadlines:

Early registration by July 8, 2021: $65
Regular registration by September 26, 2021: $75

CEs: 3 CEs are available for $5 fee 

Learning Objectives:

  1. List four psychotherapeutic challenges in working with clients with emerging serious mental illness
  2. Describe three factors that are important in the diagnostic assessment of a first episode of psychosis
  3. Describe the basic principles of psychopharmacologic treatment of bipolar disorder and primary psychotic disorders
  4. List the psychotherapeutic goals of the treatment of clients with a first-episode of psychosis


  • 1 - 1:50 p.m. ET: Diagnostic evaluation
  • 1:50 - 2:20 p.m. ET: Principles of psychopharmacologic treatment
  • 2:20 - 2:30 p.m. ET: Break
  • 2:30 - 3:15 p.m. ET: Psychotherapeutic goals
  • 3:15 - 3:45 p.m. ET: Psychotherapeutic challenges
  • 3:45  - 4:15 p.m. ET: Additional reflections/discussion/questions

About the Instructor:

Dr. Lisa Youngling Howard is a board-certified psychiatrist with over 20 years of experience as a therapist and psychopharmacologist. Youngling Howard earned her B.A. from Swarthmore College and her M.D. from Cornell Medical College before completing her psychiatry residency at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School. She works as the supervising psychiatrist at Smith College Counseling Services and also works at Gould Farm, a residential treatment program for people with serious and persistent mental illness. Youngling Howard specializes in the treatment of young adults and has a particular interest in emerging mental illness.

Completion Requirements for Live Interactive Webinars

Live, interactive webinars are synchronous, virtual courses held in Zoom Meeting. To receive a CE certificate, you must attend the entirety of the webinar. Partial credit will not be awarded to those who attend only a portion of the training. Participant attendance is tracked through Zoom. To earn CE credit, participants must also complete an evaluation. A link to the online evaluation will be emailed to participants within 24 hours of the conclusion of the course. It is attendee’s responsibility to contact their state licensing board/certification boards to determine eligibility to meet continuing education requirements. Receiving CEs is contingent on attendance and completion of the evaluation.

How Will a CE Certificate Be Awarded?

Upon completing the webinar evaluation, participants will be emailed their online certificate​ within 30 days of webinar completion​. ​Participants should save and/or print ​the certificate upon receipt for ​their records.

Continuing Education Credits and Approvals

Continuing Education (CE) credits offered vary by course. This course only offers the CE credits listed below.  It is the attendees' responsibility to contact their licensing board to determine eligibility to meet continuing education requirements.

Social Work
  • Smith College School for Social Work, #1755, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Smith College School for Social Work maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 11/19/2020-11/19-2021. Social workers completing this course receive 3 continuing education credits.
  • Smith College School for Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and is therefore authorized to provide CEs as a postsecondary institution accredited by CSWE in many states. Courses offered through the School’s Program of Professional Education are awarded continuing education credits in accordance with Continuing Education Regulation 258, CMR, 31.00 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 
  • Smith College School for Social Work is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0169.


  • Co-sponsored training events for psychology CE credit with Smith College School for Social Work. Amego Prepare​ is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Amego Prepare maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Due to changes in continuing education requirements for NY licensed psychologists, APA CE Sponsor credits may not be accepted for re-licensure at this time. Please check the NY Psychology Board regulations for CE requirements currently in effect.

SSW Professional Education Policies

Further information on policies and CE accreditation can be found here.

Contact SSW Professional Education


Lilly Hall
23 West Street,
Northampton, MA 01060 | 413-585-7970

Director of Professional Education

Pronouns: she/her
E: or
P: 413-585-4198