In general, from my discussions with professionals in the field, a Ph.D. usually carries more clout than a Psy.D. (That is often easily determined by looking at the quality of the schools which are offering the degrees!)
I have heard the Psy.D. described as falling between the LCSW and the Ph.D. on the clinical and academic prestige scale. If you are mainly interested in providing counseling, it might be an option. If you want an academic career, however, you might do well to consider the Ph.D. route.
As far as psychologists prescribing medicine, the topic has been discussed in this forum on other threads. Non-physicians have been pushing for prescribing rights for years, and I can't see it happening -- except perhaps in some places where there is a genuine lack of care providers. A psychiatrist who spoke at our medical school said that, in his opinion, psychologists only needed to do one thing to earn the privilege of prescribing medications...
"Graduate from medical school."
My opinion is that if someone wants to develop the broadest possibilities for providing care, psychiatry is the way to go. If you want to be able to prescribe meds, it is >definitely< the way to go. If you are solely interested in counseling, then the other options are viable options and certainly respectable careers!
As far as writing goes, we share an interest in that area, Renee. Many of my favorite authors and poets are (or were) practicing physicians... Danielle Ofri, Jack Coulehan, Arthur Schnitzler, Bernard Lown, William Carlos Williams. Medicine will allow writers to write "on the side" as you put it, just as much as any other profession, and I think it may even provide more fodder for the noggin.
Ofri has a great piece in her book "Singular Intimacies" about how, for her, medicine and writing are intertwined. I can't do it justice, but she discusses how she cannot picture her life without either exercise.
Whatever you decide to do, and however you approach this, I wish you well!
[ Edited by Corpsman-Up on 2005/4/13 15:13 ]