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J Clin Psychiatry. 1991 Jan;52(1):4-8.

The "deep structure" of clinical medicine and prescribing privileges for psychologists.

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Department of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass.


Clinical medicine in general and psychiatry in particular have their roots in the Hippocratic tradition. It is this tradition that defines the "deep structure" of the medical profession. Although the field of clinical psychology has a similar "surface structure" to that of psychiatry and general medicine, it has evolved from a wholly different set of deep structural antecedents. These issues relate directly to the question of "prescribing privileges" for psychologists. The addition of course work in psychopharmacology to the psychology curriculum would not alter the deep structure of the profession nor would it equip psychologists to prescribe psychotropic medication. There are, however, ways in which the disciplines of medicine and psychology can cooperate in the education of clinicians.

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