Monthly Archives: September 2013

Statistics, logistics and ballistics

Most of the time, I hate stats. It’s one of my least favorite subjects. Frankly, I think most people would agree. But, it’s a necessary evil in this field. So, I put together a few points of logistical relevance so you don’t have to go ballistic on this stuff!

5 takeaway points for evaluating statistics and drug studies:

1-Even in a double-blind study, reported side effects can tip off the clinician as to whether the subject has received the placebo, or the actual treatment.
2-The placebo effect-is shown when a sugar pill is given to the control group and can lead to positive (and less likely negative) symptoms just simply by receiving something from a clinician. This speaks to the power of the mind.
3-Our mind can work against us, too, with the nocebo effect-setting someone up for possible negative side effects by telling them that “you may get all these side effects, or symptoms: lupus, scleroderma, blurred vision, dry mouth, and left foot paralysis.” It never fails that someone will report left foot paralysis!! As you may know there is not a single drug That’s the power of suggestion!
4-Here’s a great tip when deciding whether to read a study, or not. If your confidence interval is <1.0 it IS statistically significant!! If it includes 1.0, don’t read the study because it is NOT statistically relevant.
5-Risk ratio-is the point estimate used for cohort studies.

Q: What’s the difference between a psychologist, a psychiatrist and a medical psychologist?

Haha, there has to be a joke in there somewhere!!
But, for real, this is a common question I’m asked when I tell people about the psychopharmacology program.

A: The simple answer is:

“not very much” and “a whole lot” …read on.

A: The complicated answer is:

A psychologist has a minimum of the following:

  • BA in clinical psychology, sociology, or related field
  • MA in psychology (can be obtained interim)
  • Supervised by licensed clinician for 1500 pre-doc hours
  • Doctorate in psychology (Either PsyD, or PhD, EdD, etc.)
  • Sup. by licensed psychologist for 1500 post-doc hours
  • Successful passing of the National Exam
    • In the United States that is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, or EPPP
  • Successful passing of the State Ethical Exam
    • In California it is the California Psychology Supplemental Examination, or CPSE
  • Accepted application and initial fee to State of licensure
    • California Board of Psychology, or CA BOP

source: 
Please also refer to my other post discussing the requirements that a licensed psychologist must meet prior to licensure.

A psychiatrist has a minimum of the following:

  • BA in psychology, or a related field
  • MD from medical school completion
  • Residency completion
  • The United States Medical Licensing Examination USMLE is a multi-part professional exam sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME)
  • Passing of the State medical board
  • Accepted application and initial fee to State of licensure

sources: 
-Cloud, J. (2010). Psychology vs. Psychiatry: What’s the Difference, and Which Is Better? Time.  
-http://www.usmle.org/ 

Okay, here is where it gets a bit confusing…

A Medical Psychologist can be a:

1-highly trained and licensed psychologist
WHO CAN PRESCRIBE PSYCHOTROPIC MEDICATIONS: 

OR

2-highly trained and licensed psychologist
WHO CANNOT PRESCRIBE ANY MEDICATIONS 

sources:
upon request.

CONCLUSION:
The lines between psychiatry and medical psychology are becoming blurred. Though, they are admittedly VERY different fields with different qualifications and degrees. It is this author’s belief that the blur happens from a variety of sources: depictions on television and other media outlets, misinformation, miseducation, interpretation and perception. But, the most important blur is occurring due to the nation-wide scarcity of prescribers, in general! You may have noticed the increasing amount of Nurse Practitioners, Physician’s Assistants and dun-dun-dun-dun-duuuuun… Medical Psychologists!

Some people prefer to call a psychologists who can prescribe a “prescribing psychologist” in Louisiana, New Mexico, Guam, Native American territories, and some state and Federal departments (currently the only places said professional can prescribe.) Makes sense, but in Louisiana, many entities, (including the ones who license folks) call a psychologist who can prescribe psychotropic medications a “medical psychologist” even using the suffix “MP.” ex-Jen Chandler, PsyD, MP

Other similar names have popped up over the years, including: psychopharmacologist, pharmacopsychologist, pharmacology psychologist, psychology pharmacologist, prescribing psychologist, RxP, and as discussed medical psychologist. In my opinion, the varying names for this practice may highlight the general disorganization of the field of psychology. Historically, we have not been our own best advocates…

Hope this clears up some misinformation, or confusion. Thanks for reading.

Sharing is caring,
Dr. Jen Chandler

I started this blog because…

I want to hold myself and other  colleagues accountable for learning and implementing the material we are learning in our Post-doc Master of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology so that we will pass the Psychopharmacology Examination for Psychologists (AKA PEP) the first go-round.

Here is a brief introduction to what the heck all that means!

A Post-doc Master of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology is a post-doctoral degree that can only be obtained when the following prerequisites have been met:

  • Licensed clinical psychologist
    • BA in clinical psychology, sociology, or related field
    • MA in psychology (can be obtained interim)
    • Supervised by licensed clinician for 1500 pre-doc hours
    • Doctorate in psychology (Either PsyD, or PhD)
    • Sup. by licensed psychologist for 1500 post-doc hours
    • Successful passing of the National Exam
      • In the United States that is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, or EPPP
    • Successful passing of the State Ethical Exam
      • In California it is the California Psychology Supplemental Examination, or CPSE
    • Accepted application and initial fee to State of licensure
      • California Board of Psychology, or CA BOP
  • Preferred to be actively practicing as a psychologist
  • Time, dedication and money for the course work ahead
  • Passing of the Psychopharmacology Examination for Psychologists, the PEP
    • In Louisiana, it is required to become licensed as a psychologist and medical psychologist, and
    • Consult with a medical doctor, psychiatrist, or medical psychologist for 3 years

I hope this gives you a helpful introduction to the field of medical psychology, prescribing psychology, psychopharmacology, or otherwise known as pharmacopsychology — more on this next time!

Thanks for reading!
Sharing is caring,
Dr. Jen Chandler

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