First Early Entry Program Participant

Andrew S. Berry, PhD, PsyD, ABPP, FAACP                                                                           

Clinical Psychology

Q. Where did you first hear about the Early Entry Program?
I was browsing the ABPP website, and came across the EEP by accident. I liked what I saw, felt confident enough to at least apply, and so I did.
Q. In regards to the application and fee: was this process easy to understand?
This was surprisingly easy. There was always someone on hand, either at the ABPP home office, or an ABPP diplomate to consult with and answers always came quickly to my questions. 
Q. In regards to submitting the required items (banking): was this process streamlined? And how was it beneficial to you.
This was a very easy, organized, and well thought out process. Having a central coordinator to send the practice samples to, as well as to email with questions was beneficial in that it took the mystery and anxiety out of much of the process. 
Q. What was the most difficult part of being an Applicant (prior to becoming a candidate)?
For me it was self-generated worrying about not knowing what to expect. I always thought of the ABPP as having for more examinees fail than pass, and this was simply not the case. There is no real mystique to the process as I thought there would be. It’s quite comprehensible, and in the end it compels one to want to be a better clinician. And I hope to attain ABPP certification in additional areas.
Q. What advice would you give other students and pre-licensed individuals about the program?
I have been saying to all my colleagues how worthwhile the process has been. I have been saying that it is challenging, yet not insurmountable. I tell them the oral exam, while rigorous, is doable, and that while I felt challenged by the questions and compelled to consider things I had not, that I was not being grilled by the examination team. They were trying to get me to “show my stuff” as a clinician, and to get me to be better than I am. Every ABPP diplomate I have encountered has been very kind, and generous in this process. I thank them all, and am grateful.
Q. What did you learn about yourself and your practice while doing board certification?
I learned that I have what it takes to become a board certified clinical psychologist. I learned how to make my practice better with specific cutting edge techniques I was unaware of, and I learned that the whole meaning of ABPP certification, at least to me, is to make candidates want to reach higher and be better clinicians.
Q. What have you found most valuable or rewarding about board certification (e.g., salary increase, referrals, colleagues, increased self esteem, learning, something else)?
Becoming board certified certainly helped my confidence. Senior colleagues noticed how eager I was to achieve it, and many remarked how fast I was able to make it happen. I was licensed in NY state to practice in September of 2008, and became board certified in May of 2009, eight months later. In addition, many insurance companies specifically ask if one is board certified when one signs up to be a provider.
 Q. What was the most challenging/interesting/surprising aspect of the board certification process?
I would say the oral exam was the most challenging/interesting/surprising aspect of ABPP certification because of its rigor. I felt compelled to look honestly at my clinical abilities, and was pleasantly surprised how my examiners made me want to rise to the occasion and become a better clinician. I was also pleasantly surprised about how mysterious ABPP certification is NOT. Steps to certification are clearly mapped out for all applicants, and there is always someone on hand to answer any and all questions, and to help lower one's anxiety.
Q. What advice would you give to a candidate for board certification in clinical psychology?
I would say ask questions often, and take the time to look at the clearly specified steps required to become board certified. These are clearly spelled out on the ABPP website, and there are ABPP diplomates on hand to answer questions. Candidates need to know these are helpful, kind, and generous professionals with only one goal in mind: to advocate for candidates in helping them become better doctors. I, for one, am grateful to them.
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