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Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT): Basic Concepts and Principles

Activity Type:

  • On Demand Plus

Release Date: 4/15/2020

Expiration Date: 4/15/2023

  • AMA PRA Category 1: 1
  • Participation: 1



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.


FREE - $0

Funding for this initiative was made possible (in part) by Grant No. 1H79SM080818-01 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. 

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

Estimated Duration

Estimated Duration: 1.0 hour 
Program Start Date: April 15, 2020 
Program End Date: April 15, 2023

Instructional Level


How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ 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) or certificate of participation (non-physicians) showing the completion date and hours earned.

Continuing Education Credit


The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The APA designates this enduring 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.

Faculty and Planner Disclosures


  • Amy Lukes, Treatment Advocacy Center. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Brian Stettin, JD, Treatmetn Advocacy Center. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Marvin Swartz, MD, Duke University. Disclosure - Consultant and Grant/Resarch: RTI International.
  • Debra Pinals, MD, University of Michigan. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Tristan Gorrindo, MD, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

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.

Hardware/Software Requierments

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using Internet Explorer 8+, Mozilla Firefox 3+, Safari 4+. This website 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, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration

  • Browser: Firefox (latest version), Internet Explorer 8.0+, Safari 7.0+, Microsoft Edge (latest version) or Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows XP+ or Mac OS X 10.4+
  • Flash Player: Adobe Flash Player 10.3+ 
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements

  • Windows PC: 500-MHz Pentium II; Windows XP or higher; 128 MB RAM; Video Card at least 64MB of video memory; Macromedia Flash Player 10.3 or higher; Sound Card at least 16-bit; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh:Mac OS X 10.4+ or higher with latest updates installed; 1.83MHz Intel Core Duo or faster; RAM: 128MB or more; Video Card: at least 64MB of video memory; Sound Card: at least 16-bit; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content

For assistance: Contact for questions about this course | Contact for technical assistance