Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT): Basic Concepts and Principles
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Expires on Aug 23, 2026
Credit Offered
1 CME Credit
1 SW CE Credit
1 COP Credit

Assisted Outpatient Treatment, or “AOT”, is a combined clinical-and-legal tool designed to assist vulnerable individuals with serious mental illness in following treatment plans. In AOT programs, clinicians face the challenge of determining the best course of treatment for each participant. This course explores what AOT is and the purpose it serves within a public mental health system, the impact that serious mental illness (SMI) may have on an AOT participant, and discusses the process for obtaining a civil commitment order within different legal jurisdictions.

This activity was developed in partnership with the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC).

Course Agenda

This course is comprised of several modules:

  • Module 1: Why Implement Assisted Outpatient Treatment
  • Module 2: Basic Concepts of Mental Illness for AOT Stakeholders
  • Module 3: Civil Commitment Law and the Role of the Court in AOT

 For more details on AOT, consider enrolling in Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT): Implementation.

Learning Objectives

  • Summarize the purpose of AOT at an individual and mental health system level
  • Identify the common signs, symptoms, and treatment of serious mental illness
  • Outline the process for obtaining a civil commitment order
  • Describe the basic responsibilities of the court in handling an AOT case

Target Audience

Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Social Workers 

Estimated Duration

Estimated Duration: 1.0 hour 
Program Start Date: April 15, 2020 
Program End Date: August 23, 2026

Instructional Level


How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, CE credit for social workers, or a certificate of participation may do so by completing all sections of the course, including the evaluation. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians), CE certificate (social workers), or certificate of participation (non-physicians) showing the completion date and hours earned.

Continuing Education Credit

In support of improving patient care, the American Psychiatric Association is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.


The APA designates this live event for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  

Social Workers

As a Jointly Accredited Organization, American Psychiatric Association (APA) 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 under this program. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. APA maintains responsibility for this course. Social workers completing this course receive 1.0 social work continuing education credits. 

Continuing education requirements vary from state to state. Many state boards grant reciprocity with national accrediting organizations and other state boards. It is the responsibility of each professional to understand the requirements for license renewal or check with the state or national licensing board and/or professional organization to become more familiar with their policies for acceptable continuing education credit. Social workers and Psychologists should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. 

Faculty and Planner Disclosures


  • Amy Lukes, LCSW, Treatment Advocacy Center. Ms. Lukes has no relevant financial relationships to disclose. 
  • Brian Stettin, JD, Treatment Advocacy Center. Mr. Stetin has no relevant financial relationships to disclose. 
  • Marvin Swartz, MD, Duke University. Disclosure - Consultant and Grant/Research: RTI International.
  • Debra Pinals, MD, University of Michigan. Dr. Pinals has no relevant financial relationships to disclose. 
  • Tristan Gorrindo, MD, American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Gorrindo has no relevant financial relationships to disclose. 
  • Sherin Khan, LCSW, Thresholds. Ms. Khan has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities

The American Psychiatric Association is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities. If you have trouble accessing any of APA’s online resources, please contact us at 202-559-3900 for assistance.

Technical Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using any of the following:

  • The latest and 2nd latest public versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari
  • Internet Explorer 11+

This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Browser: Google Chrome (latest and 2nd latest version), Safari (latest and 2nd latest version), Internet Explorer 11.0+, Firefox (latest and 2nd latest version), or Microsoft Edge (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows versions 8.1+, Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) +, Android (latest and 2nd latest version), or iOS/iPad OS (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: Windows 8.1 or higher; 1 GB (for 32-bit)/2 GB (for 64-bit) or higher RAM; Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher with latest updates installed; Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster) processor; 512 MB or higher RAM; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
For assistance: Contact for questions about this activity | Contact for technical assistance
Funding for SMI Adviser was made possible by Grant No. SM080818 from SAMHSA of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, SAMHSA/HHS or the U.S. Government.
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