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"Can a Psychologist Prescribe Medicines? Exploring My Role as a Prescribing Psychologist in Las Cruces, NM"

Dr. Elaine Foster at her desk with diplomas in the background
Dr. Elaine Foster, prescribing psychologist

Welcome, to my new PsyConOps website ! I decided to start by introducing myself by asking a question that I'm often asked, "Can a psychologist prescribe psychiatric medication?" First, a quick snapshot of my practice. I'm a bilingual prescribing psychologist practicing in southern New Mexico. I've lived in Las Cruces off and on since 2011 and worked as an adjunct professor at NMSU. After falling in love with the Organ Mountains, I decided to make New Mexico my home. I also established my practice here in Mesilla, after serving in the Air Force for 21 years as a prescribing psychologist. Why Mesilla? Take a look at my office pictures and I think you'll understand why.

People often ask me, "What is a prescribing psychologist? Can they really prescribe medicines? And, How are they different from any other mental health provider?"

In order to explain what makes a prescribing psychologist different, let's start by asking you to imagine a psychologist who does therapy but who, as a prescribing psychologist, can also write prescriptions for psychiatric medications. That means if you're seeing me, say for depression, and after so many months you're not feeling sufficiently better, you don't have to be referred to another mental health professional if you decide to add a medicine to improve your mood.

When you visit the same prescribing psychologist for talk therapy and psychiatric medications, there's no need to retell your history to a whole new provider, there are no separate appointments for therapy and medications. And if that wasn't enough to convince you, there's one more perk. When the diagnosis is "fuzzy", like - "Is it ADHD or Austism Spectrum?", I can also administer psychological testing to clarify. This allows for a more holistic, efficient and personalized approach to treatment.

There's an even more important reason you might consider seeing a prescribing psychologist, it involves the type of relationship we are known for creating. As prescribing psychologists, we work as collaborators with our clients which means we consider your preferences, goals, and concerns and don't just "tell you" what to do. Because we first train as psychologists, we are used to listening to your priorities and move from there. I'm still surprised when people expect me to take an authoritarian "medicalized" approach to their care. They say, "You're the doctor, aren't you supposed to TELL me what to take?"

They seem surprised when I take the time and effort to discuss their options so they can feel greater ownership in the process. In practice, the role of a prescribing psychologist is about more than just writing prescriptions. It's about fostering a therapeutic relationship built on trust, empathy, and respect.

So how can I help you? If you'd like to speak with me about your individual circumstances, please feel free to complete my "Phone Call Request Form" and we can schedule a short but free consult to see if I can help. This form is HIPAA compliant and confidential.

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