In a new report, the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) recommend psychologists have a doctorate in order to have access to high-quality medical research, practice in a safe and secure environment, and be able to participate in clinical settings.
The report, which was published Thursday in the American Journal of Psychiatry, says a doctor of psychology (a.g. psychology or psychology degree) is required to be able:1.
Know the basic tenets of psychology;2.
Practice the science in a manner that is consistent with ethical and professional standards;3.
Be able to practice in an environment that respects and is sensitive to the needs of its members;4.
Be proficient in working in a professional setting;5.
Be prepared to teach a minimum of 12 credit hours in the area of psychology and have experience teaching at least two courses in a discipline;6.
Be willing to make contributions to the advancement of psychology in a collaborative way; and7.
Be a leader in providing educational services to clients and to the public, the APA said in a press release.
The APA’s report, titled “Physician Practice: Practicing in a Safe, Secure, and Ethical Environment,” suggests psychologists can also benefit from an associate’s degree or doctorate.
“Physician psychologists are trained to provide clinical services to patients and to assist in patient-centered care, both of which are essential to the health and well-being of people with mental health problems,” the APAs report says.
“Physicians can use this degree to better understand the complexity of mental illness and its impact on people’s lives and to provide care to those who need it most.
We hope the report helps make this transition to a doctor’s degree easier and less stressful.”
The APAs guidelines also suggest that psychologists should have an advanced degree.
They say that having a doctoral degree should help them:1) Have the right training to help you better understand mental health;2) Practice in a more clinical environment;3) Be able and willing to teach at least 12 credits in a specific discipline;4) Be aware of patient concerns;5) Have a reputation for being knowledgeable and helpful in the field;6) Be trained to conduct clinical research;7) Have an understanding of how to integrate clinical and scientific research;8) Be prepared for clinical work that may require them to perform patient care, such as providing psychosocial or emotional support to clients;9) Be willing and able to provide services to the community, particularly to those with disabilities;10) Be well-trained in the practice of psychology to be effective at providing services to their patients and clients;11) Have demonstrated leadership in providing services and resources to the general public;12) Have experience in teaching at the graduate level;13) Be familiar with current clinical and research guidelines;14) Be qualified to provide mental health services to individuals with mental illness;15) Be knowledgeable about the requirements for licensure and certification, and have a high degree of care and attention to patients;16) Be in good physical and mental health condition;17) Be capable of performing a minimum amount of psychotherapy;18) Be educated in the ethics of psychiatric care;19) Be a member of an organization that provides care to patients, the report said.APA spokeswoman Emily Rios told the Associated Press that the APS and AMA are working together to craft guidelines for psychologists and that the report is a “positive step forward in advancing mental health.”
“Physicians need to be prepared for the transition to medical care as a profession,” Rios said.
“The APS/AMA report is just the first step in that process.
It is critical for the profession to continue to evolve and develop to better prepare for the future.”APA spokesperson Stephanie Zuckerman told ABC News the APSA and AMA have been working together on the guidelines for a while and that “we hope to have it finalized by the end of this year.”