New Jersey Psychiatric Association

A District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association

Protecting New Jersey Patients
Oppose A2170

Why Seek RxP

What are the reasons for psychologists to seek prescribing authority (RxP)?
Organizations state:

Society for the Science of Clinical Psychology

  • “Applied psychologists as a group cannot survive in today’s competitive, over-supplied, care-managed mental health field. Lacking prescribing authority, we are progressively being driven from the arena. RxP [prescribing privileges] is a matter of economic survival for our profession.” [Underlining is  added for emphasis.] Society for the Science of Clinical Psychology Task Force Statement on Prescribing Privileges (RxP), Clinical Science, 200

Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Psychology (Excerpts from PowerPoint Presentations)

“The biggest issue today confronting American Psychology is the fight for the right to prescribe drugs” (Albee, 1995) *

In PowerPoint presentation by Robert E. McGrath, PhD

* Note: George W Albee, PHD (1921-2006), a renown psychologist, was staunchly against prescribing privileges for psychologists. See "Nevertheless, there is a warning!" at bottom of page.

1. Designing the Future of Professional Practice

  • “Sources of Concern: Managed care, Competition, Healthcare reorganization, Devaluing of psychological service
  • “Correlates of managed care involvement: longer working hours, larger caseloads, less participation in supervision, greater stress, higher rates of premature termination, reduced flexibility, greater pressure to compromise quality of care”
  • “Shift to Master Level” [Master level psychologists and social workers are doing more of the psychotherapy, and thus there is less for doctoral level psychologists.]
  • “Devaluing of Psychological Services: 1996-2005: Proportion [of patients] receiving ADPs doubled (5.8-10.1%)” and  “Proportion receiving psychotherapy declined (31.5-19.8%)”
  • “Challenges and Obstacles” “Competition from master’s [sic] level providers”
  • “Benefits to Psychology: An area where competition is restricted, Taps into an existing funding stream, Dramatic increase in number of opportunities, Dramatic increase in potential to affect the system”

Robert E. McGrath, Ph, D, Fairleigh Dickinson University, PowerPoint Presentation

2. RxP: Is This the Right Move?

Arguments for Psychologists Prescribing

  • For applied psychology to survive, it is necessary that it’s domain becomes comprehensive mental health care
  • If psychologists could prescribe, psychiatry as a profession would be destroyed by the better medical care offered by psychologists (DeLeon, 1993) [Underlining is added for emphasis.]

Robert E. McGrath, Ph, D, Fairleigh Dickinson University, PowerPoint Presentation

3. Prescription Authority

  • What are the factors contributing to push for prescription authority? Practicing psychology as psychotherapy delivery, Oversupply of psychotherapists and the expansion of insurance reimbursement, Managed care, Drug company interests."
  • “Benefits to Psychology: Enhanced status, Increased support for psychosocial research, The only complete mental health provider”

Robert E. McGrath, PHD, Fairleigh Dickinson University, PowerPoint Presentation"

Articles state:

A Solution for a Crisis in Psychology

"There is another motive too, a little more guild-related, to which I (as a Psychologist) will admit to. The profession of Psychology is in and has been in a crisis of identity for some time. . . . the rise of managed care and the continuing introduction of new and ever more useful psychiatric medications in the 80's and 90's resulted in less funding for and less access to psychotherapy. At the same time, a host of masters level professions (lead by Social Work) started becoming psychotherapists too - and Social Workers are willing to work for even less money than Psychologists. . . Psychology is thus today squeezed between Psychiatry (prescription privileges) and Social Work (cheap therapy) and fighting for ground. Among other purposes, prescription privileges will help Psychologists to have a place to go." [Underlining is added for emphasis.]

"The new New Mexico law is the first beachhead in a turf battle between mental health care professions. Having lost professional ground to Social Workers who showed merit as psychotherapists, Psychologists have been using the same tactics on the medical profession, and have now won a significant battle."

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. Updated: Apr 10th 2002

Differentiate Psychologists from Other Non-Physicians in Primary Care

"The authority to prescribe could differentiate psychologists from other non-physicians in primary care, achieving a significant step for the growth of our profession." [Underlining is added for emphasis.]

Tulkin, S. R. (2012). "Prescribing psychologists in integrated primary care: introduction to the special section." J Clin Psychol Med Settings 19(4): 418-419.

"RxP Will Be a Positive Step towards Achieving Parity between Psychologists and Psychiatrists"

"RxP will ultimately result in parity for psychologists in terms of reimbursement and professional opportunity. There now exists a significant gap in terms of insurance reimbursement and pay schedules in federal, State and university settings between psychiatrists and psychologists for doing similar work."  [Underlining is added for emphasis.]

"It is time for psychologists to assert themselves and be seen as independent primary care givers in all settings." [Underlining is added for emphasis.]


"Maintaining Our Professional Identity"

"Prescriptive authority will strengthen our professional identity. It will make a clear distinction between our doctral training and that of Master's [sic] level psychotherapists." "Should the Governor [Schwarzenegger] integrate our boards the change will dramatically affect our professional identity and allow those with much less training and competence to broaden their scopes of practice to include areas that they are not competent to practice in. There will effectively be no perceived difference between psychologists, MFTs and LCSWs. Is this in the best interests of Calfornians seeking mental health care? Adding prescriptive authority to our armanetarium will highlight the fact that our expertise is unique and advanced amongst mental health professionals and enhance our role as primary care professionals."  [Underlining is added for emphasis.]

Reeves, II, PhD, John Prescriptive Authority (RxP) Will Benefit All California Psychologists and the Patients We Serve

* Note: ". . . allow those with much less training and competence to broaden their scopes of practice to include areas that they are not competent to practice in." This is a very interesting  statement by a doctoral level psychologist arguing that there is a difference in training and competency between doctoral level psychologists and masters level psychologists. Aren't a group of doctoral level psychologists with less training and competency than physicians seeking to expand their scope of practice in order to practice as if they were physicians?


Want to Go Beyond Prescribing Psychotropics

"Given recent initiatives to provide health psychology services within the primary care arena, the authors introduce a new role in the scope of psychology's prescribing activities. They propose that psycho-pharmacological agents are not the only medications psychologists should be trained to prescribe and psychopharmacology training should include course work and supervision related to treatment within a primary care patient setting in addition to a traditional psychiatric one."  [Underlining is added for emphasis.]

Earles, J. E., L. C. James, et al. (2006). "Prescribing non-psycho-pharmacological agents: a new potential role for psychologists in primary care settings and specialty clinics." J Clin Psychol 62(10): 1213-1220.

Summary of Reasons

  • economic need
  • survival                                                                                                 
  • compensate for the loss of market share to others that do psychotherapy - social workers and master level psychologists
  • enter a market (an area of care that includes pharmacology) where "competition is restricted" compared to the very competitive psychotherapy market
  • become independent primary care providers in all healthcare settings
  • differentiate psychologists from other non-physician primary care providers
  • gain financial parity with psychiatrists
  • improve professional identity

Nevertheless, there is a warning!

“If we . . . succeed in getting prescription privileges we will have sold our soul to the devil!”  Albee, G “"Just say no to psychotropic drugs!" (2002) J Clin Psychol 58(6): 635-648.


NJPA Experience in Louisiana
and New Mexico

Click here to learn more

Congressman Patrick Kennedy Opposes Psychologist Prescription Privileges

Speaking to the psychiatric physicians of the American Psychiatric Association Assembly Meeting November 9, 2013

Click on arrow below to listen to former Congressman Kennedy.

“Only someone with a medical degree and training, like all of you, can make those diagnoses and prescribe the necessary medications for people with a brain-related illness.”

Association Inquiries:

Patricia DeCotiis, Esq.
Executive Director
New Jersey Psychiatric Association
New Jersey Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
208 Lenox Ave #198
Westfield, NJ 07090
Phone: 908-588-3540

Media Inquiries:

Matt Stanton
Phone: 973-699-3115 (cell)

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Latest News

Don’t let psychologists prescribe drugs

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Dr. Consuelo Cagande: Don’t let psychologists prescribe drugs

During the last state legislative session, New Jersey psychologists aggressively lobbied for a bill that would grant them the authority to write prescriptions for any drug in the Physician Desk Reference. Under the proposed legislation, non-physician psychologists with a master’s degree and 400 hours of training would be able to write prescriptions for some of the most powerful psychotropic medications available on the market today.

Read the full article from Asbury Park Press on April 13, 2016 by clicking here.

N.J. bills allowing psychologists to prescribe medications would harm patients

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As a licensed medical doctor and practicing psychiatrist in New Jersey, I am very concerned that the state Legislature is considering bills A2892 and S1864. This legislation would allow psychologists to prescribe medications; it would, in effect, confer a license to practice medicine without a medical education.

Read the full article on by clicking here.

Only medical doctors should be allowed to prescribe medication

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Newly appointed executive director of NJ Psychiatric Association says proposed legislation will endanger patients

Read the full article on by clicking here

News on A2892/S1864

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TRENTON — Psychiatrists in New Jersey have launched an online campaign they hope will torpedo “risky” legislation that gives psychologists the authority to write prescriptions.

The New Jersey Psychiatric Association unveiled a new website,, that explains why the state legislature, the governor and the public should oppose the bill that passed the Assembly in June. To view the full article on click here.