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Prescribing Together

A Relational Guide to Psychopharmacology

Warren A. Kinghorn, M.D., Th.D., and Abraham M. Nussbaum, M.D., M.T.S.

  • 2021
  • 296 Pages
  • ISBN 978-1-61537-288-1
  • Item #37288

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What if, rather than acting only as dispensers of medication, mental health clinicians and primary care clinicians treating mental disorders were also collaborators with patients in the prescribing relationship? It's a simple but profound shift in how to think about approaching psychopharmacology, and in Prescribing Together, Warren Kinghorn and Abraham Nussbaum argue that this sort of human-to-human relationship-building is critical to prescribing more effectively and to achieving health equity.

While many other books have focused on what to prescribe for given conditions, this volume is more concerned with how to prescribe: how to talk to patients about medications, how to understand the cultural and social factors that affect how both clinicians and patients relate to medication, and how to build trust in the relationship.

Each chapter offers a practical introduction to at least one key concept or skill, from cultural formation and structural competency to medication concordance and deprescribing. Profiles, rich in personal anecdotes, of a diverse group of accomplished clinicians serve as an engaging, real-life foundation for evidence-based strategies for building strong alliances in the context of 13 mental disorder categories, including:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Neurocognitive disorders
  • Borderline personality disorder

In drawing a contrast between a dispenser and a collaborator model, Prescribing Together encourages clinicians not just to look at their patients, but to look with them at their lived experience, to understand their stories and interpersonal and social contexts—all with the aim of returning agency to patients and empowering them to set meaningful goals and to be active particpants in their own flourishing.


  • About the Authors
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Introduction: From Dispensers to Collaborators
  • Chapter 2. Relationship Matters
  • Chapter 3. Prescribing Alliances
  • Chapter 4. Peak Performance: Prescribing in the Context of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Chapter 5. Visions and Voices: Prescribing in the Context of Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders
  • Chapter 6. Stabilization Forces: Prescribing in the Context of Bipolar Disorder
  • Chapter 7. Frayed Edges: Prescribing in the Context of Depressive and Anxiety Disorders
  • Chapter 8. Unwelcome Strangers: Prescribing in the Context of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders
  • Chapter 9. Building Peace: Prescribing in the Context of Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders
  • Chapter 10. When the Body Speaks: Prescribing in the Context of Somatic Distress
  • Chapter 11. Befriending the Body: Prescribing in the Context of Eating Disorders
  • Chapter 12. Getting Clean: Prescribing in the Context of Substance Use Disorders
  • Chapter 13. Knowing and Being Known: Prescribing in the Context of Neurocognitive Disorders
  • Chapter 14. Strong Emotions: Prescribing in the Context of Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Epilogue: From Fixing to Attending
  • Appendix: Alliance Measures

About the Authors

Warren A. Kinghorn, M.D., Th.D., is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center; Esther Colliflower Associate Professor of the Practice of Pastoral and Moral Theology and Co-Director of the Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative at Duke Divinity School; and Staff Psychiatrist at Durham VA Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

Abraham M. Nussbaum, M.D., M.T.S., is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Assistant Dean of Graduate Medical Education at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Chief Education Officer at Denver Health in Denver, Colorado.

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