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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work Clinical Lecture Series  

CANCELED. Effective March 14: We are scheduling an alternative training on the same day and time via live-stream on topic of how to help people with anxiety during this pandemic. All registrations will be transferred to this training. Details here.

April 13, 2020 12-2pm, Monday


Continuing Education:
2 Hours (details)

Fees: $35.00

**Current UNC-SSW students, staff, faculty, field instructors, and task supervisors** Fee Waived


Ethical psychotherapy involves understanding salient information and context to help our clients navigate the complexity of medication management. This presentation will provide a brief intro to psychopharmacology and the ethics and history of the DSM and its controversies, the role of the FDA and its transformation in the 1990s; legislative issues which increased the influence of the drug companies in academia, research, and clinical practice and examples of academic conflict of interest; the role of Big Pharma in marketing; the funding of ‘grassroots’ patient advocacy groups; off label prescribing; and the disturbing increased use of anti-psychotics in children and the elderly for non-psychotic conditions. Dr. Novik will discuss ethical implications for medical training with clinical examples to illustrate salient points. She will share the guidelines for clinicians and the relevance for non-prescribers and our clients who face the potential consequences of over prescription. Participants will gain tools to have courage to ask pertinent questions about proposed drugs, their risk/benefit profile, side effects, and duration of use as well as the important question, “what other ways are there to deal with symptoms (pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc.) besides drugs?”


Belinda R. Novik, MSCP, MD, Ph.D began her career with joint appointments at Duke Family Medicine and Psychiatry departments where she taught Family Medicine Residents and was head of the behavioral science division. She developed and taught courses in Family Dynamics, Therapeutic Communication, Medical Hypnosis for pain and the maintenance of comfort. She ran a private practice from 1982-2012. She has taught/supervised psychologists, social workers, and psychiatry residents at Duke and UNC. In 2002 she returned to graduate school for a 2 year post-doc master’s degree in Clinical Psychopharmacology. After that, she entered medical school and completed her MD degree in 2008. She is a regular contributing editor of the North Carolina Psychologist, and has published numerous articles on psychopharmacology and other topics.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this program, participants will be able to:

1. Identify at least 2 ethical issues in the complex interplay of the pharmaceutical industry, academia, the FDA, legislation, and marketing to prescribers and consumers.
2. Name and describe at least 3 steps of how a drug is brought to market through the FDA approval process.
3. Describe at least 2 ways in which marketing influences doctors and patients.
4. Engage with at least 2 strategies to help clients to be curious about and brave enough to ask questions about drugs especially regarding the risk/benefit ration, side effects, withdrawal effects, and how to start and stop psychoactive drugs safely and comfortably.


  • Angell, M. M. (2004). The Truth About Drug Companies. NY: Random House.
  • (2012). Prescription Drug User Fee Act. Wash. DC:
  • Frances, A. M. (2012, December 2). DSM 5 in 2018 Distress. Psycology Today.
  • Kirsch, I. (2010). The Emporor’s New Drugs. New York: Basic Books, Random House.
  • Kondro, W. S. (2004, Mar. 2). Drug Company experts advised staff to withhold data about SSRI use in children. Canadian Medical Associan Journal, 783.
  • Moncrieff, J., Cohen, D., & Porter, S. (2013). The psychoactive effects of psychiatric medication: The elephant in the room. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 45(5), 409-415. doi:10.1080/02791072.2013.845328
  • Novik, B. R. (2017). How to Advocate for Yourself in the Healthcare System. The North Carolina Psychologist, 69, no.3. Summer.
  • Novik, B.R., (2018). Stress in America: Coping strategies and the Risk/Benefit of Prescription Drugs. The North Carolina Psychologist, 70, no.1.Winter.
  • Novik, B.R. (2018).Trouble getting off of Antidepressants? You’re not alone. The North Carolina Psychologist, 70, no.3. Summer.
  • Novik, B.R. (2018). Do Antidepressants work? A review of a recent critical analysis. The North Carolina Psychologist, Vol 70, No.4, Fall.
  • (2012). Dollars to Docs. New York, New York: ProPublica.
  • Skaer, T. S. (1998). Trends in the prescribing of antidepressant pharmacotherapy: office-based visits, 1990-1995. Clinical Therapeutics, 20(4):871-84.
  • Thomas, K. a. (2012, July 2). Glaxo agrees to pay 3 billion in fraud settlement. New York Times.