, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 167-175
Date: 09 Jan 2014

Teaching Psychopharmacology: Two Trainees’ Perspectives

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To describe our experience of learning clinical psychopharmacology during residency, in order to assist educators planning psychopharmacology curricula.


We describe how psychopharmacology teaching was structured in our program, dividing our experience into two phases, early residency (PGY-I and PGY-II) and late residency (PGY-III and PGY-IV). We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various teaching strategies, and make recommendations for improvement.


Our educational needs differed substantially in early and late phases of training. We identified areas deserving additional focus, including dealing with special populations, practical treatment dilemmas systems issues and ethics. Learning to manage both patient-psychopharmacologist and mentor-trainee relationships was crucial to our growth as psychopharmacologists.


A developmental approach that takes into account residents’ skill levels and prior experiences is important in implementing psychopharmacology didactics, patient assignments and supervision. We recommend presentingprinciples of clinical psychopharmacology in practical, appropriately contextualized formats, and with gradually increasing complexity.