A primary goal of SIAP has been to offer postdoctoral training to licensed psychologists that would meet the American Psychological Association’s requirements of the necessary education for psychologists to be able to prescribe competently and safely. SIAP began offering coursework in psychopharmacology, modeled after the APA recommended course guidelines, in 1999. Faculty for this program is drawn from the pool of national experts in psychopharmacology as well as talented physicians, pharmacists, doctoral-level nurse educators and psychologists in New Mexico. The Southwestern Institute for the Advancement of Psychotherapy/New Mexico State University (SIAP/NMSU) originally offered a certificate of completion as well as professional development credit on transcripts at New Mexico State University. In 2007, this program became a postdoctoral Interdisciplinary Master’s Degree in Psychopharmacology at New Mexico State University, directed through SIAP.
In addition to following the APA recommended training guidelines for prescribing psychologists, the SIAP/NMSU program boasts a very strong unit in pathophysiology and physical assessment. This unit is taught in conjunction with the Family Practice Residency Training Center at Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Students learn how to conduct physical examinations as well as become knowledgeable about pathophysiology and evidence-based treatment with both theoretical and experiential components. This unit is taught once a month for nine months in a health clinic setting (Memorial Medical Center’s Family Practice Residency Training Center) so that the psychologists can practice physical assessment skills within a medical setting.
The SIAP/NMSU program is proud that 18 psychologists from the Netherlands completed this Interdisciplinary Master’s Degree in Psychopharmacology. This program included internet discussions while classes were taught live by SIAP/NMSU faculty who traveled to the Netherlands. The 18 Dutch psychologists came to New Mexico to complete an executive-tract practicum in which they shadowed prescribing psychologists for two weeks as well as worked with local physicians in their practices.
In 2010 the SIAP/NMSU postdoctoral Interdisciplinary Master’s Degree in Psychopharmacology became one of the first programs to meet the APA designation criteria as a program meeting standards for offering psychopharmacology training that will prepare psychologists to consult about, as well as to prescribe, psychotropic medications for their patients. Since the inception of the program, SIAP/NMSU has trained 80 psychologists from New Mexico, around the United States and Canada, as well as 18 psychologists from the Netherlands to prescribe psychotropic medications for their patients.
In September 2012, a full time academic position was established in the APA-accredited Counseling and Educational Psychology Department at New Mexico State University to assume directorship of the postdoctoral Interdisciplinary Master’s Degree in Psychopharmacology. SIAP continues to play an advisory role, as well as to monitor the continuing education component of the Master’s Degree.