Medical Psychology refers to a growing specialty area of clinical psychological practice in which clinical psychologists, who have undergone specialized education and training at the post-doctoral level, integrate somatic and / or psychotherapeutic modalities into the management of mental illness. Medical Psychology is a specialty trained at the post doctoral level and designed to deliver advanced diagnostic and clinical interventions in Medical and Healthcare Facilities utilizing the knowledge and skills of clinical psychology, health psychology, behavioral medicine, psychopharmacology and basic medical science. In the United States, two states (Louisiana and New Mexico) and within the Department of Defense, medical psychology also includes the prescription of medications in the care and management of patients. In the United States, New Mexico and Louisiana, and all branches of the U.S. uniformed services currently authorize medical psychologists to prescribe medications. In Louisiana, the term of medical psychologist refers, in statute, specifically to those psychologists licensed by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners and who are authorized and licensed to prescribe medications. The term mirrors precisely the terminology of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It is important to note that the Division 38 of the American Psychological Association and The Academy of Medical Psychology does not agree or recognize that the term medical psychologist has, as a prerequisite, the ability, certification, or licensure to prescribe medications in the care and management of patients nor should the term be equated with having prescriptive authority. (http://www.health-psych.org/MedPsych.cfm) (http://www.amphome.org/MedPsychDef.pdf)
Behavioral Medicine (related to Behavioral Health, Clinical Health Psychology and Psychosomatic Medicine) is a related branch of clinical practice in which psychologists emphasize the biopsychosocial approach to medicine, a model which recognizes the importance of addressing the interaction between physical, psychological and social factors in both the prevention and management of disease. Practitioners of behavioral medicine differ from medical psychologists in that they focus on the scientific application of behavioral interventions to a wide variety of medical conditions (e.g., asthma, gastrointestinal illnesses, cardiac conditions, spinal cord and brain injuries, chronic pain, headaches, and addictive illness).
Medical psychology, as defined by most medical dictionaries is defined as "the branch of psychology concerned with the application of psychological principles to the practice of medicine". Other similar definitions include: "the application of clinical psychology or clinical health psychology, usually in hospital, medical, or health care settings" and "the study and application of psychological factors related to any and all aspects of physical health, illness, and its treatment at the individual, groups, and systems level"
The Academy of Medical Psychology defines medical psychology as a specialty trained at the post doctoral level and designed to deliver advanced diagnostic and clinical interventions in Medical and Healthcare Facilities utilizing the knowledge and skills of clinical psychology, health psychology, behavioral medicine, psychopharmacology and basic medical science. (http://www.amphome.org/MedPsychDef.pdf)
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