Clinical Psychopharmacology: Definition & Degrees

Clinical Psychopharmacology

Clinical Psychopharmacology is the branch of neuroscience that studies the use of medications to treat mental disorders. The American Psychological Association notes that Clinical Psychopharmacology involves the application of pharmacological principles, scientific data and clinical practices to individual psychopathology and problems across a range of populations. It blends the scientific study of behavior, its biological basis and the interaction of medication with physiology to produce short and long term therapeutic changes in the treatment of mental disorders.

A History of Clinical Psychopharmacology at The Chicago School

The history of Clinical Psychopharmacology is quite old, dating back to diverse cultures from many different geographic locations including, Africa, China, India, America (i.e., Native American), and Europe. More recently, advances in psychopharmacology occurred in serendipitous fashion through attempts to treat other medical conditions during the 1950′s and early 1960′s. This led to the development of the antipsychotics, lithium, antidepressants and anxiolytics, resulting in the formal development of the field.

Presently, as psychologists find themselves working collaboratively with physicians to address the mental needs of their clients, many states are taking steps to extend prescriptive authority to licensed psychologists that have received appropriate training. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology aspires to provide practitioners with the highest quality of training in the field of Clinical Psychopharmacology. The MS in Clinical Psychopharmacology program is aligned with the didactic curriculum of the 2009 American Psychological Association (APA) Recommended Postdoctoral Education and Training Program in Psychopharmacology. The MS in Clinical Psychopharmacology program is also aligned with the curriculum requirements for prescriptive authority in the Illinois Clinical Psychologist Licensing Act and the New Mexico RxP Law – House Bill 170.

Why pursue a degree in Clinical Psychopharmacology?

Clinical Psychopharmacology allows psychologists to provide their patients with a broader continuum of care. There is a critical need for training prescribing psychologists to help address the nation’s health care disparities in inner-city and rural areas. In many instances, patients do not have access to mental health services and may need to wait weeks for an appointment. For example, in Illinois, there are over 50 counties with no inpatient psychiatric facilities. Additionally, clinical psychopharmacology allows psychologists to prevent and reduce patient over-medication.

Which campuses offer degrees in Clinical Psychopharmacology?

The Chicago School offers an M.S. Clinical Psychopharmacology program that is designed for the working professional and is therefore offered exclusively online. The degree takes approximately two years to complete and allows students to become part of The Chicago School’s strong network of training sites within Illinois and New Mexico.

Degrees in Clinical Psychopharmacology offered at The Chicago School

What jobs can you get with a Master in Clinical Psychopharmacology?

Clinical Psychopharmacology provides psychologists with a proficiency in clinical or health service psychology.

In addition to the settings in which clinical psychologists work, prescribing psychologists work in a variety of clinical settings, including but not limited to:

  • Community mental health centers
  • Correctional facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Medical centers
  • Private practices
  • Active duty military
  • University clinics