Division of Clinical Psychopharmacology
We mark with sadness the passing of Helene Feldman, a staunch supporter of Prescriptive Authority. Helene was a former president of CPA and a founding member of Division V. She and her husband Avner, a physician, never flinched from their support for prescriptive authority for properly trained psychologists. Please help us carry on Dr. Feldman’s legacy by contributing to the mission of Division V by contributing to the RxP support fund.
Expanded Access to Comprehensive Mental Health Care
The Board of Division V invites you to use the materials found under the tab "Resources for Psychologists" to improve your professional competence in psychopharmacology. Although some materials are available to all CPA members, others are restricted to Division V members only. (Feel free to ask any member of our board for additional materials you may find useful!)
By joining Division V, you can make a difference in helping to expand safe access to comprehensive mental health care for all Californians and by helping to move the mission of prescriptive authority forward. We welcome our new members! Click here to join now.
Our Purposes and Objectives
- Expand access to comprehensive mental health care for Californians.
- Obtain and maintain prescriptive authority for properly trained psychologists in CPA and throughout the State of California.
- Encourage the dissemination of information within the field of psychology regarding pharmacotherapy and related therapies; to discuss problems of common interest, and to foster friendship and collaboration among psychologists.
- Assist in maintaining a high level of professional competence among practicing psychologists through on-going training programs, and by consulting with colleges and universities in the development of clinical psychopharmacology curricula.
- Work with CPA's legislative team in consultation with the State Legislature and the Board of Psychology regarding prescriptive authority, the training of psychologists in clinical psychopharmacology, the scope of practice of psychologists trained in clinical psychopharmacology and safe patient care.
- Collaborate with other Divisions and Chapters of CPA to further the interests in clinical psychopharmacology.
Prescriptive Authority for California Psychologists
The most important goal of Division V is to obtain prescriptive authority (RxP) for appropriately trained California psychologists who want to add this skill to their therapeutic armamentarium and therefore, to expand access to care. There are many forces fighting against us in this state, and it will require many hours and many, many, MANY dollars to accomplish this goal. You can help by making a donation to the California RxP Fund, which is a fund set up exclusively for helping to bring prescriptive authority legislation to California.
History of the RxP Movement: It has been almost thirty years since the first legislation to "study the feasibility" of prescriptive authority for psychologists was presented to a state lawmaking body. This happened in Hawaii in 1985. As of 2009, 88 state and territorial bills had been introduced, but only in Louisiana and New Mexico can psychologists prescribe (Fox, et al., 2009). Psychologists can also prescribe in the military, Indian Health Services, and in Guam.
Recent developments in other states: Psychologists finally have another reason to celebrate. In 2013, bills in Illinois and New Jersey have passed in one branch of the state legislature by a substantial margin and are heading on to the next step. One can never count one's legislative votes before they are garnered, but those who have been watching the politics of prescriptive authority for psychologists feel the time is ripe at last. Appropriately trained psychologists will soon be allowed to fill the gaps in the health care shortage by doing what they know how to do safely.
Hawaii's bill to address lack of mental health treatment can be found at this link.
Health Beat: A New Prescription for Better Mental Health Care
Honolulu Civil Beat
Medical doctors are able to write prescriptions for psychological diagnoses. Why shouldn't properly trained psychologists be able to prescribe drugs ...
Current California Scope of Practice: The scope of practice for California psychologists includes "Appropriate collaboration or consultation with physicians or other prescribers to include the assessment of the need for additional treatment that may include medication or other medical evaluation and treatment and the patient's mental capacity to consent to additional treatment to enhance both the physical and the mental status of the persons being treated." (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes.xhtml) This means that a psychologist may discuss medication with a prescriber for a patient that both health care professionals are treating. Depending on the psychologist's level of expertise in psychopharmacology and the prescriber's request for details, specific medications and dosages may be recommended to the prescriber. In consulting on medications, as in all things, the Ethics Code forbids psychologists to practice outside of the boundaries of their competence.
Fox, R.E., DeLeon, P.H., Newman, R., Sammons, M.T., Dunivin, D.L., Backer, D.C. (2009). Prescriptive authority and psychology: A status report. American Psychologist, 64(4), 257-268.