It seems that the more human development changes, the more there is a demand to understand the role of pharmaceuticals in daily life with regard to mental health. In the article, The Mental Heath Practitioner and psychopharmacology, "a growing challenge for mental health counselors is to understand the potential benefits and limitations of many different types of drugs" (Dickinson & Kaut, 2009 p. 204-205). Incorporating a thorough treatment plan, which might include the use of prescription drugs (Anderson & King, 2004).
Recommending or Prescribing Medication
It is imperative for today’s mental health counselors to understand their boundaries and roles when it comes to pharmacology and the patient. Having a clear and concise understanding of the benefits as well as the risk is an asset to the client, the prescribing professional, and the client (Anderson & King, 2004).
Counseling professionals that only have reached the master’s level of education do not possess the adequate training or knowledge to suggest medications to clients. This is why it is imperative for a licensed professional administer. A counselor may collaborate with a prescribing professional since he or she has an understanding of circumstances behind the recommendation.
Consulting with clients as well as various medical professionals are in the client’s best interest particularly when a psychoanalyst feels that his or her condition stems from biological factors. Ethically a well-trained counselor will recognize the need for medications and will recommend him or her to visit an appropriate physician to responsibly write the correct dosage, and amount of times that it is needed to be administered.
Counselor’s Role in Educating Clients about Medication
Psychology is a self-educated trade, because not every client is in need of the same therapy. That said, this is why Dickinson and Kaut have proposed that there needs to be specialized training in pharmacology and done so on a case-by-case basis (2007). There needs to be continual upkeep with regards to pharmacology and mental health, as well as a clear understanding of its implications to the client (Anderson & King, 2004). A counselor’s role is to "understand(s) prescription medication (or other psychoactive drugs/substances) in order to capably address client concerns or therapeutic issues" (Dickinson & Kaut, 2009 p. 216). Any therapist is capable of providing clients with the necessary information about treatment and prescription drugs and its possible side effects. In some cases, medical personal can disregard some explanation therefor it is left to the counselor to answer questions about possible side effects from a certain drug because the client will be seen more frequently by the mental health professional than he or she would be by his or her issuing physician (Dickinson & Kaut, 2009).
Appropriate Referral Source
A client can be referred to any medical professional with prescribing rights, usually a primary care physician will allow a patient to come in and under the advisement of a counselor be open to write a script for medications. If someone needs a specialization drug for example an anti-seizing medication, a neurologist might need to be called in for a consult. The right avenue of approach needs to be determined by the client’s issues (Borresen, Gunn, & Ruddy, 2008). Another road that should be considered is the collaboration with all of the clients medical professionals and have a clear "past history or contextual circumstances" (Kaut & Dickinson, 2007, p. 218). Counselors might relay ethical information to a physician to provide adequate pharmacological treatment. The ultimate goal is for the client’s best interest to be considered by both the physician and the mental health professional.
"Health care professionals must receive training in how to work together productively" and "must work toward developing interdisciplinary relationships" (Borresen, Gunn, & Ruddy, 2008 p. 123). The role of a mental health counselor is critical when communicating with any prescribing professional since it "maximizes client outcomes where integrative therapies are involved" (Dickinson & Kaut, 2009 p. 218). Because the psychotherapist is in contact with the patient, he or she has the opportunity to join forces with others in the medical profession and be their eyes and ears to the appropriate professionals. As the treatment continues the mental health counselor re-assesses both the effects of treatment. Overall, the focus is on the client’s best interest (Anderson & King, 2004).
Based on the readings and information provided by scholars it is imperative for psychologists to communicate with both the client as well as the prescribing physician. Ethical and legal reasons are for the safety of the patient, thus resulting in trained professionals to administer any drugs felt required by a psychologist. This is for the patient’s safety and concern. A clinician will be in more contact with a patient so he or she will be able to ascertain if there are any complications arising from the medications. Clinicians can educate and train those who require medications so he or she is aware of possible side effects. Lastly, it is vital for the referral to work appropriately there could be a history that a physician could be unaware of that is needed to be know that a patient could not tell him of. Maximizing the client is the outcome of any therapist and if it has to be done with the use of pharmaceuticals, then a client should be accepting to that option.