Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2017

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Psychological and Quantitative Foundations

First Advisor

Westefeld, John

First Committee Member

Ali, Saba

Second Committee Member

Nicpon, Megan Foley

Third Committee Member

Liu, William

Fourth Committee Member

Schmidt, Renita


The prescriptive authority for psychologists (RxP) movement contends that psychologists who receive specialized training should attain licensure to prescribe psychotropic medication. The RxP movement has presently culminated in psychologists in the United States prescribing at both the state and federal levels. However, the RxP movement remains contentious, and both supporters and opponents continue to disagree over its validity as a professional movement.

Division 17 of the American Psychological Association, the counseling psychology specialty’s professional organization, has not officially discussed the RxP movement since 1994. Given the developments within the RxP movement since then, this study endeavored to investigate the current perceptions of prescriptive authority among the Executive Board leadership of Division 17. Researchers conducted semi-structured interviews with current and former members of the Executive Board and then used a consensual qualitative research (CQR) methodology to qualitatively generate findings across participants’ responses. Participants shared qualified support of prescriptive authority, despite indicating no interest in prescribing themselves, and they reported that they saw prescriptive practice as consistent with the professional identity of counseling psychology. Participants also suggested that Division 17 could proceed with the RxP movement by developing a Special Task Group (STG) to investigate prescriptive authority among its members. These conclusions indicate that members of the Executive Board are well positioned to lead Division 17 forward in addressing prescriptive authority by creating a STG to further explore the issue for counseling psychology.


Counseling Psychology, Prescribing Psychologists, Prescription Privileges, Prescriptive Authority, Prescriptive Authority for Psychologists Movement, RxP Movement


viii, 172 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 166-172).


Copyright © 2017 Anthony P. Rinaldi