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From The CriticsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book details how pediatricians and psychologists who have training in psychopharmacology can collaborate to better understand and help children. This collaboration is needed in light of managed care health plans and the relatively small number of pediatric psychiatrists.
Purpose: According to the preface, "Since the vast majority of the U.S. has not yet enacted prescriptive authority for psychologists, the book aims to help psychologists with Level 2 or Level 3 training develop collaborative relationships with pediatricians practicing in a state that does not allow psychologists to prescribe medications."
Audience: The intended audience includes psychologists, pediatricians, and other child mental health clinicians as well as nonphysician prescribers such as nurses, physician assistants, and pharmacists. The editor is an associate professor at Monmouth University and has over 20 years of experience.
Features: The book begins by pointing out the need for collaboration between pediatricians and psychologists because of the lack of pediatric psychiatrists and by discussing the history of training psychologists in psychopharmacology. The American Psychological Association has described three levels of education and training for psychologists who are interested in pharmacotherapy. Level 1 involves minimal understanding of psychotropic medications. Level 2 training is designed to enable psychologists to actively collaborate with pediatricians and/or primary care physicians on medication decision-making, but does not include the authority to prescribe. Level 3 training is intended to enable psychologists to independently prescribe psychotropic medication. The second part of the book discusses the experiences of psychologists in specific settings such as in rural areas or on federal reservations, pointing out the importance of being trained in psychopharmacology to help clients and enhance collaboration with physicians. The third part explores collaboration in light of specific disorders such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, behavior disorders, and medical disorders. Finally, the book addresses training issues at the internship and postdoctoral level. The book is easy to read and the figures/tables help clarify concepts. Almost every chapter contains informative case studies that demonstrate how pharmacologically trained psychologists can collaborate effectively with medical professionals whether or not the state offers prescriptive privileges to psychologists.
Assessment: The discussion of prescription privileges for psychologists has been going on for over 20 years and the authors add important insight. The book points out how psychologists trained in psychopharmacology can collaborate with pediatricians to better help children in different settings and diagnostic categories. It is a book that every psychologist interested in prescriptive privileges should read.