Special Course Offerings

Images depicting psychopharmacology

Online Summer Course
May 22-August 12, 2017

COUN 6230: Psychopharmacology
3 credit hours (graduate)
Instructor: Dr. Margaret Bloom

Online format offers flexibility to accelerate or follow the weekly deadlines to help you schedule your course completion. 


  • advanced master's degree students in counseling
  • doctoral level counselor education or counseling psychology students
  • practicing mental health professionals who need current information.

Tuition and Application
Registration for the summer session begins March 23, 2017.

Non-Marquette students must complete a Graduate School Application to register for the course. Students should indicate TEMPORARY STATUS on their application. A graduate transcript is required.

The application fee is waived for all TEMPORARY applications for this course.   

Call the Graduate School (800) 793-6450 for assistance regarding this process.

Course Description
This course is a solid introduction to psychopharmacology for counseling professionals. The focus will be on understanding drug mechanisms and drug actions for drugs used in the treatment for mental disorders, the efficacy and risks of specific classes of drugs and the roles of the non-prescribing mental health professional in combination treatment of mental disorders. Numerous case examples demonstrating appropriate psychopharmacologic management and strategies for working with the prescriber will be presented.

Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Bloom, margaret.bloom@marquette.edu is an Emeritus Professor of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology at Marquette University with an expertise in clinical mental health counseling and assessment and diagnosis. In addition to this course in psychopharmacology, Dr. Bloom and her husband Dr. Alan Bloom present nationally two-day seminars on DSM-5 and ICD-10 diagnosis of mental disorders and Psychopharmacology for Mental Health Professionals.

Departmental Accreditation
Marquette University master’s degree programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling are CACREP accredited and the Counseling Psychology doctoral program is APA accredited.

Why Take This Course?
A majority of clients with mental disorders will also be prescribed psychotropic medication as part of an evidence-based combination treatment. The APA and ACA Ethical Standards require psychologists and counselors to provide safe treatment and to do no harm. Our ethical codes advise that the therapist provides a clear description of what the client can expect from various therapeutic regimes. Unintentional harm, through not being able to describe the drug treatment, by not knowing about the client’s medications or not following up on a client’s report of a serious side effect, is indeed unethical and potentially malpractice. 

II. Course Learning Objectives
At the successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    • Understand the terms and abbreviations that are used for prescribing and recording medications.
    • Define basic pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic principles underlying the administration, action and excretion of drugs.
    • Understand the neuroanatomical and neurotransmitter systems underlying mental disorders.
    • Describe the major categories of psychotropic medications and the commonly used drugs within each of these categories.
    • Identify specific drugs for each commonly encountered DSM-5 Mental disorder; their actions, side effects, and cautions.
    • Describe the roles of the non-prescribing mental health professional with clients who are receiving psychotropic medications including managing adherence, psycho-education, monitoring and referring.
    • Collaborate with professionals who are psychopharmacological prescribers on client treatment.
    • Discuss the combined treatment of psychotherapy and psychotropic medications in actual client cases.

III. Course Format and Procedures 
This is an asynchronous, web-based course delivered on the web-based, course management system, D2L over the 12 weeks of summer session 7. The course is organized by weeks (learning units) with two or more weeks forming a module. Each module (learning unit) will be completed sequentially and spaced over the summer session. Class work each week includes reading assignments, a power point slide presentation and a specific learning activity or assignment.

Learning activities will include online discussions, exams, written assignments, and a client treatment case study.  Each week will have a learning activity that must be completed by the Friday of each week. Students who wish to accelerate may work sequentially through the material and complete assignments at their own pace, except for on-line discussion activities which must be posted on the week scheduled.  

COPS 6410 Course Topics

Week 1

Combination Treatment for Mental Disorders
The role of the non-prescribing mental health professional with clients: Part I


Week 2

Pharmacology Basics

      • Medical Terminology
      • Pharmacodynamics
      • Pharmacokinetics

Week 3

Biological Bases of  Behavior

      • Neuroanatomical structures
      • Neurotransmitter pathways

Week 4 

Neurobiology of Depression, Antidepressant Medications


Week 5

Biological Theories of Schizophrenia
Antipsychotic medications


Week 6

Medications used for Bipolar Disorders Schizoaffective Disorders


Week 7

Medications used for Anxiety, OCD, and Stress and Trauma Disorders
Medications for Sleep Disruption and Disorders


Week 8

Substance Use Disorders

      • Prescription Drug Abuse
      • Pharmacological Approaches to Treatment

Week 9

Medications Used to Improve Cognition: Children and Older Adults

      • Medications to treat ADHD
      • Medications for Cognitive Decline

Week 10

Herbaceuticals, Marijuana
Social Institutions and Drugs


Week 11

The Role of the Non-Prescribing Mental Health Professional, Part II

      • Monitoring for Safety and Drug Effects
      • Collaborating with the Prescribing Professional
      • Psychoeducation on Medication for Clients and Families

Week 12

Evidence-Based Combination Treatment 


For more information, please contact Coreen Bukowski at 414-288-5730 or by email at coreen.bukowski@marquette.edu.