Iapplaud the remarks of APA President Carolyn Robinowitz, M.D., in the
March 7 issue regarding proposed legislation permitting psychologists to
prescribe psychotropic medications. For most of my professional life, I have
tried to bridge various divisions within the mental health field, such as that
between "biological" and "psychosocial" approaches to
diagnosis and treatment.
But there are some conceptual and scientific chasms that are not meant to
be bridged, but rather respected for their breadth and depth. One such divide
is that between the medically trained and the nonmedically trained
practitioner. The differences in training between physicians on the one hand
and psychologists on the other do not amount to the popular notion of a"
turf war." Rather, these differences constitute the most
fundamental distinctions that a science of humanity can make. Unfortunately,
efforts to educate our legislators on these matters do not seem to have
yielded dramatic dividends (despite some notable successes on the part of APA
and our district branches).
It is now time to urge that physicians of all specialties oppose any
proposed legislation in their state that would grant prescriptive authority to
psychologists. Sadly, it appears that physicians have already been cut out of
the loop, such as in the recent proposal in Missouri. Fostering respect for
our colleagues in psychology—which I wholly support—does not mean
being co-opted in an ill-advised scheme that threatens the welfare of our