Helping you become all that you are capable of becoming!



Gerontology Training Program

for Mental Health Professionals


A Training Resource

By Jim Messina, Ph.D., CCMHC, NCC, DCMHS-T

Introduction to Gerontology Training for Mental Health Professionals
The following is a planned program of training for Mental Health Professionals who lack either academic or experiential experience in treating geriatric clients/patients. This model currently is utilizing the Evidence Based Materials located on this website authored by me over the last few years. I have worked with old adults all of my career, especially in private practice,as well as in hosptial, nursing home, assisted living and independent living facilties. My hope is that you will utilize these materials to the fullest, to be as competent you can be in working with your geriatric clients/patients.
If you need any help be free to contact me.
Jim Messina, Ph.D., CCMHC, NCC, DCMHS-T
Licensed Psychologist

Unit 1: Overview of the field of Gerontology 

Text: Gerontology: A Training Resource
1. History of Need for Geriatric Behavioral Health Services
2. Mental Health Disorders Common in Aging Population
3. All about Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia
4. Evidence Based Treatment of Geriatric Clients
5. Wellness Programming For Seniors
6. Caregiver Information
7. Legacy Work for Aging Adults and their Caregivers A Reminiscence Therapy Strategy
8. Gerontology Case Studies
9. Videos of Working with Aging Adults
10. Gerontology Training for Mental Health Professionals

Unit 2: Clinical Assessment and Treatment Planning

Text: Clinical Treatment Tools

1. Initial Clinical Assessment

2. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Factors

3. Clinical Assessment Instruments

4. Clinician Worksheets and Handouts

5. Clinical Treatment Apps that Work

6. Independent Living Skills Training

7. Treatment Manuals for Treatment Planning and Evidence Based Practices

8. Tips for Clinical Progress Notes and Case Conference Presentations


Unit 3 Evidence Based Practices for Mental Health Disorders

Text: Evidence Based Practices for Mental Health Professionals: An Online Book

1. Clinical Assessment and Treatment Planning

2. Importance of Use of Evidence Based Practices

3. Autism Spectrum Disorder (optional due to age)

4. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (optional due to age)

5. Bipolar Disorder

6. Depressive Disorders

7. Anxiety Disorders

8. Phobias

9. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

10. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

11. Anorexia

12. Bulimia

13. Alcohol Use Disorder

14. Substance Use Disorders


Unit 4: Motivational Interviewing

Text: Motivational Interviewing-A Training Resource
1. Overview of Motivational Interviewing
2. Learning the Motivational Interviewing Speak
3. Putting Motivational Interviewing into Action
4. ESBT: Eclectic Structural Brief Therapy A Motivational Interviewing Friendly Model of therapeutic intervention
5. Motivational Interviewing Videos
6. Motivational Interviewing Online Resources
7. Motivational Interviewing Scholarly References

Unit 5: Opioid, Heroin and Fentynal Epidemic

Text: Dealing with the Opioid and Heroine Epidemc - A Training Resource

1. Background on Opioid and Heroin Epidemic

2. Medication Assisted Treatment for this Epidemic

3. Guidelines for Prescription of Opioids

4. Holistic Approaches to Pain Management and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders including Opioids & Heroin


Unit 6: Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Text:Treatment for Alcohol & Substance Use Disorders - A Training Resource

1. Commonly Abused Substances

2. Evidence Based Practices in Treating Alcohol Use Disorders

3. Evience Based Practices in Treating Substance Use Disorders

4. Assessing Alcohol and/or Substance Use Disorders and Comorbidities

5  Co-morbidity of Substance Use & Mental Health Disorders

6. Tools to Assist Recovery from Alcohol and/or Substance Use Disorders

7. The SEA's Model of Recovery from Alcohol and/or Substance Use Disorders'

8. Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) for Alcohol and Substance Use Diorders


Unit 7: Preventing and Intervening in Suicide

Text: Suicide Intervention and Prevention Strategies - A Traing Resource

1. Assessment of Suicidal Ideation, Intent and Behavior

2. Interpersonal Psychological Theory (IPT) of Suicidal Behavior

3. Initial Engagement in Treating Suicide

4. Brief Cognitive Behavior Therapy (BCBT) for Suicide Intervention & Prevention

5. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

6. Resoruces for Suicide Intervention

7. References

Link: :

Unit 8: Collaborative Integrated Behavioral Health Services for Seniors

Text: Behavioral Medicine for Mental Health Professionals - A Training Resource

1. Affordable Care Act (ACA) Implications for Clinical Mental Health Professionals

2. Background on Behavioral Medicine

3. Integrate Primary Care Tools

4. Wellness Programming

5. Integrated Medicine Case Studies

7. Lectures on Behavioral Medicine

8. Behavioral Medicine Introductory Bibliography

9. Internet Resources on Behavioral Medicine

10. Research into Behavioral Medicine


Unit 9: Neuroscience behind Working with Aging Adults

Text: Introduction to Neuroscience for Mental Health Professionals

1. Neurobiological Terminology

2. Basics of Neuroscience

3. Neuroscience of Mental Health Disorders

4. Lectures on Neuroscience

5. Short Course on TBI for Mental Health Professionals

6. Treating the Whole Person: Evidence Based Practices to Treat Co-morbidities of PTSD & mTBI


Unit 10: Mindfulness

Text: Mindfulness & Neurobiological Tools for Healing - A Training Resource

1. Neurobiology of Improving One's Mental Health

2. Mindfulness Introduction

3. The Wheel of Awareness: A Unique Model Mindfulness Meditation

4. Tools for Mindfulness, Meditation, Stress Management and Sleep Enhancement

5. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) - A Neurobiological Approach

6. Pain Management - A Neurobiological Approach

7. Improving Your Sleep Using Mindfulness and Other Neurobiological Tools

8. Be a Neurobiological Therapist

9. Additional Neurobiological Tools


Unit 11: Handling Loss

Text: Tools for Handling Loss 
1. The Loss Experience in Dysfunctional Families
2. Stages of the Loss Process
3. Dealing with Denial
4. Handling Bargaining Behaviors
5. Handling Anger from Loss
6. Handling Despair in Loss
7. Accepting Change from Loss
8. Letting Go of Grief and Loss
9. Death: The Last Act of Life
10: Sharing Your Legacy 

Unit 12: Spirituality Needs of Elderly

Text: Victorious Living - Spiritual Foundation for Healthy Living and Coping
1. Introduction
2. Spirituality and Religious Practices in Recoverry from Behavioral Health Issues
3. Witness to Impact and Power of Spiritual Readings in One's Life
4. Role of Prayer in Victorious Living
5. Letting Go Over to God's Control
6. Spiritual Support for ANGER Workout