School for Social Work
Private practice social work, Psychotherapists, Psychopharmacology, Psychotropic medications, Split treatment, Private practice, Psychiatrists, Nurse practitioners, Physicians, Physicians' assistants, Communication frequency, Perspectives
This study explored how social workers in private practice view the role of psychotropic medications in treatment and handle psychopharmacological issues in practice. It specifically focused on social workers' perspectives on the helpfulness of psychotropic medications and the nature of their communication with prescribing providers. Split treatment has become the standard arrangement for providing both psychotherapy and psychopharmacotherapy to mental health clients, yet there is limited research on issues that social workers encounter in split treatment relationships and how they view them. Fifty-six independently licensed social workers who provided psychotherapy in private practice completed a mixed method survey that asked them to share demographic information about their practices, their perspectives on the helpfulness of psychotropic medications and prescribing providers for their clients, and the nature and frequency of their communication with prescribing providers. The findings indicate that overall, social workers in private practice find psychotropic medications and prescribing providers to be helpful for their clients, but there is a fair amount of variation depending on the type of mental illness being treated and the type of prescribing provider in the split treatment relationship. The findings also indicate that communication between social workers and prescribing providers is insufficient, and is affected by a multitude of barriers that arise in split treatment relationships.
Metcalfe, Rosy L., "Social workers in private practice and psychotropic medications" (2013). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.