Interdisciplinary Masters of Arts in Psychopharmacology for Psychologists
Psychopharmacology is the study of drug-induced changes in mood, sensation, thinking, and behavior. Psychopharmacology focuses primarily on the psychoactive and chemical interactions with the brain.
Post-Doctoral Masters Program in Clinical Psychopharmacology for Psychologists
Offered by the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology and the Department of Special Education at New Mexico State University in collaboration with the Southwestern Institute for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (SIAP). At the present time, if a student desires they can earn an Interdisciplinary Masters degree. Consult your advisor for more information.
Why Should Psychologists Learn About Psychopharmacology If They Live in a State Without a Prescriptive Authority Law?
Adapting to a Changing Healthcare Environment Healthcare is increasingly integrated and more and more psychology jobs are going to be in a primary care setting or otherwise closely involved with the "physical" healthcare system. This program gives students broad medical knowledge and an in-depth understanding of psychotropic medications, critical skills for entry into medical settings and for consultation with primary care providers treating patients in the context of severe shortages of specialized mental health prescribers. The NMSU Psychopharmacology Program now includes content in every class weekend on applied primary care psychology techniques and practices.
Increasing Skills and Expertise A post-doctoral degree in psychopharmacology indicates a long term commitment to your professional growth and development and makes you more competitive in today's job market.
Working Towards Prescriptive Authority Legislation Training psychopharmacology is building the intellectual/professional infrastructure for future passage of prescriptive authority laws in your home State. Having a core group of dedicated psychologists already trained in psychopharmacology greatly increases the chances of a prescriptive authority bill passing through the legislature.
Understanding the Whole Patient Psychopharmacology training enables psychologists to effectively advocate for and educate patients taking psychotropic medications and giving their patients tools for greater self-advocacy with their prescriber. By studying the physiological and pharmacological factors at work in their patients' bodies, the psychologist gains a richer and more comprehensive understanding of their patients, which provides immediate and lasting therapeutic benefits.
Psychopharmacology Training for Practicing Psychologists
New Mexico State University, in collaboration with the Southwestern Institute for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (SIAP), offers an Interdisciplinary Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychopharmacology. The curriculum was first modeled upon the 1998 American Psychological Association (APA) recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Task Force (comprised of experts including psychiatrists, Department of Defense Demonstration Project prescribing psychologists, neuroscientists, pharmacists and nurses.) In addition, the NMSU program adheres to all regulations set forth by the New Mexico Board of Psychologist Examiners and the New Mexico Board of Medical Examiners. The program is dynamic, changing with the field, and was modified according to recommended revisions from the American Psychological Association in 2009. It is currently one of only three programs in the country to receive official designation status from the American Psychological Association
Students receive extensive education in psychopharmacology, physical health assessment techniques, pathophysiology, and psychotropic/psychotherapeutic interventions. The NMSU psychopharmacology curriculum also includes an 80-hour Physical Health Assessment practicum in which the psychologist works with a primary care physician to gain hands-on understanding of disease states and medical intervention. The program helps students set up their second practicum in Psychotropic Medication Management. This experience involves 400 contact hours evaluating and managing psychotropic medications and providing psychotherapy for 100 patients under the supervision of a physician, at practicum sites in the student's home community.
The goal is to provide high quality training regarding psychopharmacology, helping psychologists to work as primary healthcare providers, supporting patients' emotional and physical well-being. The training builds upon the unique expertise of psychologists as clinicians, diagnosticians and researchers in mental health.
Program of Study
The NMSU Clinical Psychopharmacology program utilizes the most current approaches to postgraduate education. In each module didactic material is taught through lectures that are closely tied to assignments (from textbooks and DVDs). Each module also includes an interactive case study presentation by a physician or a prescribing/medical psychologist. The unit in pathophysiology and physical assessment is organized around organ systems and taught through evidence-based medicine methodology in which the normal functioning, identification of disease states, physical assessment and treatment is integrated in the discussion of each organ system. The program is presented in 3-credit courses organized into four major units. Classes meet live one weekend a month over a 25-month period in Las Cruces, NM. The course lectures are also recorded and offered online to meet individual students' schedule and academic learning style. In addition, it is possible to participate in live classes from your home computer and to review archived classes through an online learning system. The live health assessment skills modules are taught at the Family Practice Residency Center at Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces where examining rooms with observation provide for optimal learning of physical assessment skills.
Optional: Prescribing Psychologist Shadowing and Mentoring Experience
Students will have the option to be paired with a NM prescribing psychologist for one or more days of informal real world observation (always with permission of the client) of psychopharmacology practice. If a student is interested in learning about how psychologist use psychopharmacology training in consultative rather than directly prescriptive roles, parallel arrangements can be made with psychologists working in integrated healthcare settings, often near the student's home community.
NMSU Psychopharmacology Alumni have volunteered to be mentors for students as they progress through the training program. Mentors provide feedback and support as well as professional modeling of evolving professional roles.
This program is offered with a blend of both live classroom instruction and online to meet the individual students' schedule, academic background and learning style. Live instruction is offered in Las Cruces, NM where the program is based. In addition, it is possible to participate in live classes from your home computer, and to review archived classes through the online learning management systems of NMSU.
Students often ask how many of the courses they are required to attend in person at the Las Cruces campus. At a minimum, students should plan to attend the first two class weekends and the nine Pathophysiology/Physical Health Assessment weekends. If a student absolutely must miss one of those classes, special arrangements can be made for making up the experiential component of those classes.
Registering for the Program
Please download the form from the application link and scan and email/fax/snail mail it with a copy of your psychology license to the Training Director at the given address below. You will then be contacted regarding the process to apply to the NMSU graduate school.
New Mexico Prescribing Psychologist Regulations and Law Links
Christina Vento, Ph.D., PSYD, ABMP, MACP
Prescribing and Clinical Psychologist
College Associate Professor, New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001
PH: (575) 646-5739
FAX: (575) 646-8035
email - email@example.com