Building an Entire Psychological Practice on Psychotherapy Sessions May Not be as Common in the Future

As health care in America changes, so must the practice of psychology. The good news, as explained by a panel of psychologists Saturday, is that the evolution of practice can lead to more opportunities for the profession and practicing psychologists.

Building an entire practice–and career–on 50-minute psychotherapy sessions, paid by fee-for-service, may not be as common in the future health care landscape, said Dr. Peter Sheras, chair of APA’s Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice, at the session, “Clinical Practice in America Today.”

Some people may be wondering, “Is clinical practice going away?” said Sheras. “The good news is that it’s not. There’s more interest in psychological issues than ever. Our challenge is to have psychologists provide those services.”

And for psychologists to get a seat at the table, that means taking part in the health care changes.

“We have to embrace a practice model that is more consistent with how health care is practiced in the rest of this country or we risk being a marginalized profession in the future,” said Dr. Katherine Nordal, APA executive director for professional practice.

Psychologists have opportunities to look at new populations, new fields and new places where psychologists can use their training and expertise. Evidence-based practice, treatment guidelines and outcomes measurements are a few requirements for the future of the practice.

CAPP, Nordal, the APA Practice Organization staff and other groups are already tackling many of the challenges. Legal and regulatory advocacy, public relations efforts, policy research and collaborations with related health care organizations are just a few of the things being done now to protect and advance the future of practitioners.

“APAPO can provide framework, but it’s the boots on the ground, involvement of members who keep psychology at the table,” said Dr. Pauline Wallin, a CAPP member.

“It’s up to every one of us to be a defender of our profession,” Sheras said.

by Angel Brownawell

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