Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Date of Graduation

Fall 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Eric W. Cowan

Debbie C. Sturm


This paper examines questions about the safety and efficacy of psychotropic medication, and looks at how these questions should impact the field of counseling. The paper first looks at increasing rates of use of psychotropic medication, and establishes that nearly every clinical mental health counselor will work with clients who are taking or considering taking such medication. The paper next examines the scientific literature and establishes that there is a legitimate basis for questions to be raised about the safety and efficacy of these medications. The paper goes on to establish that there is a foundation in ethical codes and counseling competencies for counselors to engage in critical discussion of these medications with clients and in other areas of their professional work. And finally, this paper produces a framework for professional counselors regarding how to work with clients around this issue, and for counselor educators regarding how to address this issue in training programs.