The shortage of medical doctors involved in the practice of psychiatrist was part of the reason psychologists in Guam were granted the right recently to prescribe psychotropic medications, George Kallingal, Ph.D., a Guam psychologist, told The National Psychologist.
Only five psychiatrists serve the island which consists of 160,000 residents and a million tourists a year. Guam is a popular destination for Japanese honeymooners.
The new law requires that psychologists work under the supervision of psychiatrists in prescribing and administering drugs.
Kallingal said there was also a history of close collaboration between psychology and psychiatry in Guam. There are currently eight clinical psychologists on the island, he added.
He said the Guam Association of Clinical Psychologists is looking at several training models to gain the knowledge required before full prescribing authority is granted. Kallingal said once an education plan is adopted, psychologists in Guam should have the required training to prescribe drugs under the direction of medical doctors.