Should psychologists should have prescription privileges? The main question of this issue is the level of training and education needed for psychologists to have prescription privileges. Both sides of the issue agree that psychologists would need more training beyond their doctorate but the sides disagree on the level and extent of the training needed. Another issue is whether or not people will receive better and more efficient mental health care if psychologists have prescription privileges.
Psychologists have been trained by the United States military to prescribe medication and there were no known issues. The most specific example of this is the demonstration program by the United States Department of Defense. In 1991 the United States Department of Defense started a four-year program to determine if psychologists could be trained to prescribe medication. Some graduates from the military demonstration program moved on to become prescribing psychologists in different branches of the military. New Mexico is the first state to permit psychologists to prescribe medication. Many psychologists in medical schools and government agencies unofficially write prescriptions. Psychologists have been writing unofficial prescriptions for decades and their training was self- taught. Psychologists have been successfully trained to prescribe medication and the demonstration program from the United States department of defense, is validation for this point. It would be more cost-effective to see one health care professional versus two.
It is this writer’s opinion psychologists should be granted the right to prescribe medications. The examples presented suggest that it is highly plausible, and cost effective to train psychologists to prescribe medication. Although physicians prescribe medications they do not specialize in mental health issues. Could this possibly explain why so many people are over medicated for mental health issues? A psychologist can provide therapy and prescriptions for medication to ensure that people are receiving the highest level of mental health care.
Halgin, R. (2009). Taking sides: Clashing views in abnormal psychology (5th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.