Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Clinical Psychology Competencies

pp 1127-1156

Pharmacological Adjuncts

  • William J. BurnsAffiliated withNova Southeastern University
  • , Jose ReyAffiliated withNova Southeastern University
  • , Kayreen A. BurnsAffiliated withBarry University


There is a broadly accepted list of basic competencies that are expected of a licensed clinical psychologist. In the case of a clinical psychologist with advanced training in Clinical Psychopharmacology (CPP), who is engaged in prescribing or consulting about medications, there is also a list of acceptable basic competencies. In order that psychologists may achieve basic competency in psychopharmacology, they need to begin with a solid core of academic learning and clinical practicum in psychopharmacology that will motivate them to continue to progress in competency as they engage in this specialized field of patient care. To progress from basic to expert competency, most clinicians trained in CPP will need years of experience. The route to expert competency is made more complex by the added burden of combining two disciplines effectively. Since there is no national board exam for diplomate status in CPP, the competencies of an expert need to be defined informally by colleagues in the field. There is no doubt that experts are appearing among the small group of men and women who were first to enter this career. The knowledge and experience that drive the transition from basic to expert competence reaches beyond an academic program. It must be nurtured by the experiences that these professionals encounter in their practice and especially by the input of other competent practioners who provide professional models for this new generation of prescribing and consulting psychopharmacologists.