Psychological knowledge is important to psychiatrists, both because of the psychological concepts central to some fields, such as normal human development, and because of the psychological procedures widely used in both the assessment and treatment of patients. Psychology is taught to trainee psychiatrists as part of their preparation for the MRCPsych examination, mainly through the teaching for the Preliminary Test of the examination which covers the ‘sciences basic to psychiatry’. In practice, the content of the test covers basic psychopathology and the neurosciences, as well as the behavioural and social sciences. While the Royal College of Psychiatrists does not itself produce a detailed syllabus for the examination, the Association of University Teachers of Psychiatry (AUTP) has prepared guidelines for students and teachers for these subjects. Since the Royal College has ‘commended’ these guidelines and published them (Bulletin, April 1982, 6, 54–56) they have a semi-official status.
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