Prescribing Psychologist

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Illinois Psychologists Answering the Crisis in Mental Health Care

The Illinois Psychological Association is making substantial headway with a bill authorizing appropriately trained Psychologists to prescribe. They understand the role that Psychologists can play in expanding access to mental health care.



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2 thoughts on “Illinois Psychologists Answering the Crisis in Mental Health Care

  1. I am a psychiatrist. Prior to medical school, I had earned my Ph.D. in Biopsychology. I did 3 years of post-doctoral research, and published several dozen scientific papers the fields of psychopharmacology and neuroendocrinology. At medical school, I was recruited by the university to teach psychopharmacology. I passed the exam to be accepted into the Society for Clinical Psychopharmacology. I feel qualified to say that I know something about the brain and how drugs affect it and the rest of the body. Here is the dirty little secret I have learned… that is, many, if not most, psychiatrists I have evaluated are inept at prescribing psychotropic drugs. They just don’t know enough about it. How in god’s name are psychologists going to do this with a year or two of extra training?

    Moreover, as psychologists themselves have been so successful in disseminating, mild and moderate mental illnesses, such as depression, really don’t need medication. On the other hand, severe disorders rarely respond to just “a medication”. Those patients require thorough evaluations of hormonal status, nutrition, metabolic function, sleep function, consideration of other somatic conditions they may have, other drugs they are prescribed that can have adverse effects. Thus, it is difficult for me to understand what it is that psychologists think they are going to accomplish by having the ability to write for prozac, or venlafaxine, or some other medication. Astonishing arrogance and greed is driving this pursuit. I find it both disgraceful and disingenuous.

    • In some respects I would agree. Most of the national organizations now representing psychologists are determined to have training requirements that position them to primarily serve patients in traditional medical settings.

      This allows psychologists to rise above the myriad of ‘therapists’ and ‘counselors’, and thereby create a professional identity as ‘medical’ service providers. And of course this ultimately may enable them to bill services at higher rates.

      I think the most effective psychologist prescribers have been those who chose the route of becoming nurse practitioners. Fighting legislative battles in each state to expand scope of practice seems impractical for the profession as a whole.

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