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MED 300 SM 550 – Relaxation Strategies


This online continuing education course for mental health professionals is a foundational course in relaxation theories, methods and strategies. It is provided at the intermediate level of complexity for mental health professionals who are acquiring knowledge and skills to work with and teach clients therapeutic modalities in the behavioral sciences and practices of meditation as well as stress management and guided imagery.  This course provides mental health professionals a comprehensive overview of breath work, concentration and their physiological effects on the central nervous system. Professional mental health practitioners will study anatomy and physiology related to breath work as well as physiology and anatomy of the nervous system.  They will examine various types of breath work, the use of mantras and the elicitation of the relaxation response, with an emphasis on teaching clients to use these therapeutic modalities as therapeutic behavioral treatment interventions in acute settings and over the long-term.  Research outcomes related to meditation and relaxation techniques and their positive effects on mental as well as physical and spiritual wellness are examined. Guided imagery is examined in detail and mental health professionals will learn various methods of its use in clinical practice in-order to work with clients to achieve greater quality outcomes in behavioral health care. The effective use of guided imagery in everyday stress management is also examined.  This course provides a solid intermediary foundation of knowledge for mental health professionals seeking knowledge and skills to become proficient in relaxation modalities with which to expand their professional practices to offer more comprehensive and highly effective, evidence-based interventions to their clients. This course is also particularly designed for mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, social workers who are interested in achieving certifications as a Meditation Instructor and/or a Stress Management Consultant with the AIHCP.

Course Code: MED 300/SM 550. Contact hours of education = 35.

Levels of course complexity: Intermediate

Target Audience: Nurses, Physicians, Psychiatrists, Psychologist, Social Work Professionals, Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Mental Health Specialists, School Counselors, Grief Professionals, Trauma Specialists, Crisis Interventionists, Stress Management Consultants, Thanatologists, Pastoral Counselors, Mental Health Care Coaches, Rehabilitation Specialists, Substance Abuse Counselors, Spiritual Counselors, other Licensed Health Care Professionals and those in the helping and caring professions, as well as professional educators.


The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is an Approved Provider for Continuing Education by the South Carolina Professional Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists and Psycho-Educational Specialists licensing board, Provider # 4637. Access information

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals (The Provider) is approved by the California Board of Registered Nurses, Provider number # CEP 15595 for 35 Contact Hours.

This course, which is approved by the Florida State Board Of Nursing (CE Provider # 50-11975) also has the following Board of Nursing Approvals, for 35 contact hours of CE

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the Arkansas Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the Georgia Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the South Carolina Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Professional Registered Nurses. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the New Mexico Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.

Course Refund & AIHCP Policies: access here

This course is particularly designed for those who would like to apply for Certification as a Certified Meditation Instructor, Certified Stress Management Consultant and/or a Certified Crisis Intervention Consultant, by the American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc.

Instructor/Course Author:  Dominick L. Flarey, Ph.D, RN,BC, CH-C, FACHE

Link to Resume

TEXTBOOKS & CDs: There are three (3) required textbook for this course and one (1) audio.

The Relaxation Response. By, Herbert Benson. New York:Avon Books.1975 ISBN #: 0380006766

Link to Purchase on click here

Beyond the Relaxation Response. By, Herbert Benson. New York:Berkley Books.1984. ISBN #: 0425081834

Link to Purchase on click here

Breathing: The Master Key to Self Healing. (Available in Several Audio Formats.) by Dr. Andrew Weil. Boulder:Sounds True. 1999. ISBN #: 1564557308

Link to Purchase on click here

The Worry Solution: Using Your Healing Mind to Turn Stress and Anxiety into Better Health and Happiness. By: Martin Rossman, M.D. New York: Harmony Books; 2010. : ISBN-10: 0307718247 ISBN-13: 978-0307718242

Link to Purchase on click here

TIME FRAME: You are allotted two years from the date of enrollment, to complete all of the courses in this hypnotherapy program. There are no set time-frames, other than the two year allotted time. If you do not complete the courses within the two-year time-frame, you will be removed from the course and an “incomplete” will be recorded for you in our records. Also, if you would like to complete the courses after this two-year expiration time, you would need to register and pay the course tuition fee again.

GRADING: You must achieve a passing score of at least 70% to complete this course and receive the 35 hours of awarded continuing education credit. There are no letter grades assigned. You will receive notice of your total % score. Those who score below the minimum of 70% will be contacted by the American Academy of Case Management and options for completing additional course work to achieve a passing score, will be presented.

COURSE EVALUATION: upon submitting your responses to the examination questions, you are required to complete the online course evaluation. Course evaluations are accessed from the online classroom. A course evaluation must be completed in order to receive the CE course certificate.


* Examination Access: there is link to take you right to the online examination program where you can print out your examination and work with it. All examinations are formatted as “open book” tests. When you are ready, you can access the exam program at anytime and click in your responses to the questions. Full information is provided in the online classrooms.

Student Resource Center: there is a link for access to a web page “Student Resource Center.” The Resource Center provides for easy access to all of our policies/procedures and additional information regarding applying for certification. We also have many links to many outside reference sites, such as online libraries that you may freely access.

* Online Evaluation: there is a link in the classroom where you may access the course evaluation. All students completing a course, must, without exception, complete the course evaluation.

* Faculty Access Information: you will have access to your instructor’s online resume/biography, as well as your instructor’s specific contact information.

* Additional Learning Materials: some faculty have prepared additional “readings” and /or brief lecture notes to enhance your experience. All of these are available in the online classrooms


COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Discuss common diseases/conditions that are related to stress and be able to incorporate this knowledge in your overall assessment skills when evaluating clients in clinical mental health practices.
  1. Discuss the “flight-fight” response in the body and how to assess its presence from a physical and psychological perspective when assessing a client in clinical practice.
  2. Describe the anatomy/physiology of the brain and nervous system related to the “flight-fight” response.
  3. Explain how to best describe the “flight-fight” response to clients you are working with to enhance their understanding of this physiological response to their stress
  4. Discuss the physiology of neurotransmitters and the role they play in modulating stress and anxiety.
  1. Discuss the physiology of the parasympathetic nervous system and how you can teach clients to use the relaxation response to active this part of the parasympathetic nervous system to induce a physiological relaxation.
  2. Describe the elicitation of the relaxation response and how mental health professionals can teach their clients to correctly elicit this response as a therapeutic modality.
  3. Describe what is meant by hypertension and define its pathological effects on the body.
  4. Describe the condition of chronic arousal of the flight-fight response and how mental health professionals can educate their clients on the signs and symptoms of this chronic arousal and counter it with proper application of the relaxation response and appropriate breath work.
  1. Explain how biofeedback works to reduce stress in working with clients in a mental health practice and learn to discuss with clients the benefits to them of working with biofeedback.
  2. Compare the various levels of brain waves and their effect on consciousness and relation to stress, relaxation and meditation.
  3. Explain the concept and practice of meditation and its evidence-based quality outcomes for clients seeking mental health care.
  4. Discuss the physiological effects of meditation on the body, mind, and spirit and teach clients these physiological outcomes to enhance their understanding of the overall and holistic benefits of meditation.
  1. Discuss how meditation leads to relaxation and stress reduction, and prepare mental health care professionals to in turn teach their clients these important principles when teaching meditation methods.
  2. Compare the differences between meditation, hypnosis and the relaxation response.
  3. Discuss the potential for altered states of consciousness that occur in meditation practice, and instruct mental health professionals how to instruct their clients to deal effectively, safely and therapeutically with altered states and brain wave pattern changes.
  4. Discuss the central factors that lead to elicitation of the relaxation response and instruct clients in the various methods that can be used to elicit the response.
  5. Critique research studies related to the relaxation response and its effect on blood pressure.
  6. Discuss potential difficulties for elicitation of the relaxation response and how mental health professionals can instruct their clients to properly overcome such difficulties.
  1. Discuss the use of mantras in meditation practice and how to teach clients to use them in their ongoing meditation and relaxation modalities and stress reduction practices.
  2. Explain how practices of meditation relate to various world religions and prepare mental health professionals to respond to client’s questions regarding meditation practices, religion and spirituality.
  1. Discuss the “faith factor,” and how it may influence a client’s response to the process and outcomes of undertaking relaxation strategies including meditation practices and other related processes.
  2. Explain placebo and how it has been used in studies related to meditation and other related and similar relaxation modalities.
  1. Discuss issues of “trust” and “belief” and how they impact provider/patient relationships and assess their impact on your own relationships with your clients as you work with them in teaching relaxation strategy applications and modalities.
  2. Critique outcome studies related to mental states and emotions in disease states, and prepare to share these outcomes to peers and clients as a meditation instructor or stress management consultant.
  3. Discuss how one can have more conscious control over elicitation of relaxation and be able to teach clients techniques to use their conscious control for more effective elicitation of the relaxation response.
  1. Explain “prana” and what it means in relation to meditation and teach clients its meaning to enhance their understanding of breath work and the overall dynamics of relaxation strategies on the body/mind/spirit.
  2. Discuss and demonstrate proper breath from a physical standpoint and prepare the mental health professional to in turn teach their clients how to perform effective breath work from a physical/mechanical perspective.
  3. Explain outcomes related to breath work and spirituality and be prepared to review these with clients in the clinical setting.
  4. Discuss possible dangers and pitfalls of excessive use of breathing strategies and prepare the mental health professional in teaching and assisting their clients in having a solid understanding of the need to avoid excessive use of these strategies.
  1. Describe the manifestations of an over-active sympathetic nervous system and be able to instruct clients as to the manifestation and how to rapidly take control over this phenomenon.
  2. Explain “bellows breath” and how it is used/elicited and prepare the mental health professional to teach clients to use this breath technique as a therapeutic modality.
  3. Compare and discuss worry, stress and anxiety and prepare to identify in clinical practice which one or ones the client is dealing with.
  4. Discuss how worry, anxiety and stress effect brain and body physiology and be able to identify outward manifestations in client behaviors and presentations.
  1. Discuss how worry, anxiety and stress effect our thinking and behavior and be able to incorporate such findings in the clinical assessment of clients.
  2. Discuss guided imagery, how it works and why it works, and how it is used as a therapeutic modality in professional behavioral health care.
  3. Explain and discuss positive worry and how to use it when working with clients in clinical practice.
  4. Discuss the Worry Solution Model and how it is applied in clinical practice.
  1. Utilize guided imagery techniques for mastering worry and stress and prepare to use them as a highly therapeutic behavioral health care intervention in clinical practice.
  2. Plan how to incorporate guided imagery into meditation practices with clients and teach clients to use self- guided imagery in their own on-going meditation and stress management, relaxation strategies programs.


1. Anatomy/physiology related to stress responses on the central nervous system.
2. Neurotransmitters and hormones that influence flight-fight reactions.
3. The relaxation response and how to teach clients to elicit it
4. Disease states linked to chronic stress and how mental health professionals can incorporate it into their assessments
5. Bodily response measurements in flight-fight reactions for client assessments
6. Elements for eliciting the relaxation response for teaching clients
7. Cellular physiology related to stress and the relaxation response
8. Hypertension and its pathologic consequences
9. Organs of the body targeted and effected by stress for client assessment
10. Types/classifications of hypertension
11. Anatomy/physiology of the brain related to flight-fight response
12. Chronic stress and disease as related to client assessments and health prevention
13. Sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system and assessment of symptoms and presentations by clients
14. Biofeedback as a therapeutic intervention in stress reduction management
15. Brain wave activity and measurements for client assessment and evaluation of relaxation strategies
16. Physiological responses to meditation as outcomes evaluators in clinical practice
17. Hypnosis and trance states
19. Autogenic training modalities for use in clinical practice
20. Research studies related to meditation and disease states
21. Effects of meditation on drug users and implications in client therapies
22. Meditation and states of consciousness and their use in clinical practices
23. Mantras and their therapeutic use in clinical practice with clients
24. Feelings/emotions elicited by meditation practices
25. Meditation and religious practices as a holistic model of relaxation therapies
26. The “faith factor” and its effects on disease states
27. Body testing during meditation as an evaluation tool for outcomes evaluations
28. Psychogenic epidemics
29. The “faith factor” and its effects on terminal illnesses
30. The placebo effect as an evaluation tool in clinical practice
31. Bellows breath as an effective therapeutic modality in relaxation therapies
32. Effective breathing strategies that are evidence-based for use in practice
33. Autonomic nervous system control and how to teach clients conscious control
34. Meditation and spiritual awareness
35. Aggravating factors of various disease states and health prevention with relaxation strategies
36. Prana and energy health care
37. Overuse of breath work strategies and how to avoid this phenomenon
38. Breath work and physiologic changes for client assessments/evaluations
39. Evaluation of breath work strategies
40. Comparisons of worry, stress and anxiety for client assessments
41. Physiological responses to worry, stress and anxiety for client assessments and evaluations of therapeutic interventions
42. Behavioral responses to worry, stress and anxiety
43. Neurophysiology and anatomy related to stress, worry and anxiety
44. Guided imagery techniques and models to be used in client practices as evidence-based therapeutic modalities with clients
45. The Worry Solution Model for meditation and stress management and how to use it with clients
46. Guided Imagery in clinical practice and how to effectively utilize it with clients in clinical practice