Future Challenges to the Field of Professional Psychology

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Future Challenges to the Field of Professional Psychology
As the field of psychology evolves with the changing of times, there are numerous challenges to be taken into consideration. One of the biggest challenges is the role changing from a mental health specialist to that of a primary health care provider and the expanding of that role to include psychopharmacology. “As a specialty profession of mental health care, we deal primarily with the people who self-identify as having psychological problems and who have access to a mental health specialist, which is just a fraction of those who need psychological services” (Levant, 2011). Becoming involved in primary health care will allow psychologists to treat a much larger group of people. Some of those individuals include those who do not have access to mental health treatment or those who do not identify their issue as a psychological one. The potential for this treatment is explained by Levant using the following facts: * “Seven out of nine leading causes of death have significant behavioral components * At least 50% of all visits to primary care medical personnel are for problems with a psychological origin, including those unhealthy lifestyles, such as smoking, chronic illnesses, and those with medical compliance issues * The vast majority of people receiving mental health treatment are cared for by medical professionals with minimal specific training in mental health” This would put psychology professionals working collaboratively with physicians and nurses as they would be able to diagnose and treat individuals with mental health issues and then refer medical issues to physicians.

Including pharmacology with this evolution of the practice will also add to the role of the professional and enable more efficient and effective treatment for the patient. This will allow the professionals to successfully diagnose those individuals and “expertly combine psychological and pharmacological treatments”...
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