Across the country, psychiatrists and psychologists are engaged in a bruising battle. Two professions normally focused on respecting emotions and listening are instead hurling barbs, accusing each other of caring more about money and turf than patients.

The issue: giving psychologists the authority to prescribe drugs.

I usually side on psychiatrists on this one. If you look at the history of this issue (which dates back to the late 1980’s, it’s as much about a turf war as it is about providing patients with the best care. Clinical psychologists have seen their rates and market decrease significantly during the 1990’s, as others have come in and taken over much of the practice of psychotherapy.

The hypocrasy, however, comes when psychiatrists claim that 400 hours of training and education isn’t enough to earn prescription privileges. How many hours of psychotherapy does the average psychiatrist receive before doing psychotherapy (in comparison to psychologists’ five+ years)? How many hours of mental health training do general physicians — who prescribe the majority of antidepressants and antianxiety medications today — receive??

There’s enough double-talk on both side of this issue to make one’s head spin!