In 1998, Senate Bill 983 (Polanco) was signed into California law. One of the provisions of this bill added section 2914.3(b) to the Business and Professions Code. This section of law requires the Board of Psychology to "...develop guidelines for the basic education and training of psychologists whose practices include patients with medical conditions and patients with mental and emotional disorders who may require psychopharmacological treatment and whose management may require collaboration with physicians and other licensed prescribers."
In compliance with the requirements of this statute, the board hereby adopts the following guidelines:
A program of didactic courses to prepare psychologists mentioned in section 2914.3(a) of the Business and Professions Code should be an organized program of instruction. The program should have appropriate faculty and facilities for the didactic training and should be from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning. Finally, the program should include, at a minimum, one course from each of the following core content areas:
- I. Neurosciences
- II. Pharmacology and Psychopharmacology
- III. Physiology and Pathophysiology
- IV. Physical and Laboratory Assessment
- V. Clinical Pharmacotherapeutics
While suggesting coursework to meet basic educational academic requirements, we recognize that: training in collaborative consultation with physicians, including indicators for referral; educational consultation with patients and families, including information on drugs that are commonly abused and potential therapeutic uses; risks, benefits and treatment alternatives to medication, and indications for physician referral are an implicit part of the practice of psychology.