The New Jersey Academy of Medical Psychologists, L.L.C. is comprised of psychologists dedicated to improving the mental health care available to the people of New Jersey. This goal will be achieved through patient education, professional education and supporting the legislative changes required to expand the scope of psychological practice for appropriately trained psychologists granting them prescriptive authority.
The New Jersey Academy of Medical Psychologists, L.L.C. welcomes individuals, professionals and organizations that support our goals and objectives.
The New Jersey Academy of Medical Psychologists, L.L.C. is not a PAC.
Questions About Prescriptive Authority for Psychologists
Why are New Jersey psychologists pursuing prescriptive authority?
Traditionally, medications for psychological disorders were prescribed by psychiatrists, medical doctors trained specifically for working with mental health issues. However, the number of psychiatrists is well below the need both nationally and in New Jersey. The brunt of the shortage has fallen on primary care physicians. Many of these physicians receive minimal formal training in working with people with mental disorders, and there is a growing shortage of primary care physicians as well. If we are to meet the needs of those people with mental disorders, we need more mental health providers with the ability to prescribe medications. Psychologists can meet that need.
Do psychologists receive the training they need to prescribe?
After completing a doctoral degree that requires at least five years of graduate work, another year of supervised clinical work, and passing a national licensing exam in psychology is the psychologist even eligible to apply for the additional training they receive to prescribe. This involves completing an additional master's degree, an additional year of supervision, and a second licensing exam.
Once they can prescribe, does the legislation add any additional protections?
Psychologists can only prescribe in collaboration with the patient's physician. If the patient does not have a physician, the psychologist cannot prescribe. In this way, the psychologist can learn about other medications the patient is taking, or issues in the patient's medical history that the patient may not have mentioned but that could make certain medication choices potentially dangerous. Note that psychiatrists are not mandated to make contact and consensus from the patient's primary physician, so this is a higher level of quality control than is true for other professions.