The Golden State of Psychopharmacology
There is a potential mounting crisis for mental health patients needing prescription drugs. Here’s why – there is a serious dearth of psychiatrists (who are certified to prescribe medication) and with the dawn of universal healthcare, medical doctors are becoming increasingly overwhelmed and are unable to spend the necessary time with their patients suffering from mental health issues.
In response, several groups are lobbying for psychologists with post-doctoral training in psychopharmacology (study of how medications treat the mind) to be able to prescribe medication. Proponents argue that there has never been a higher need for psychopharmacology.
Alliant University California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) professor Alan Lincoln, Ph.D., MSCP, BCBA-D is working alongside the American Psychological Association (APA) and California Psychological Association (CPA) on legislation to procure prescriptive rights for these specially trained California psychologists.
“My interest in psychopharmacology was born with my work with autistic children. I realized that I was seeing them more often than any of their other doctors and could best evaluate the long –term effects of their medication,” said Lincoln.
Currently only three states —Illinois, Louisiana, and New Mexico— allow psychopharmacology trained psychologists to prescribe medication. Only four universities in the nation, Alliant among them, have psychopharmacology programs.
Lincoln believes no other class of mental health practitioner is in a better position to evaluate the efficacy of utilizing both behavioral mental health and pharmacological mental health treatments.
Proponents of the legislative measure that would give pharmacology trained psychologists the ability to prescribe medications believe that most patients who are on psychotropic medication are best treated by a combination of medicine and therapy; and that, with prescriptive authority, psychologists will be able to present a holistic approach to helping their patients achieve a state of genuine mental health.
On March 5th, psychologists from around the nation will meet at Alliant’s San Diego campus for the Third Annual Psychopharmacology Mid-winter Conference. The meeting, organized by the California Psychological Association’s Division of Clinical Psychopharmacology and the Society for the Advancement of Pharmacotherapy, will serve as a forum to discuss the issues of serious mental illness, the pharmacotherapeutic options for treatment of these conditions, and future trends in treatment.
For more information about the conference visit: cpapsych.org/events