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ABPP 2014 Conference & Workshops Registration Now Open!

May 14th-17th in Chicago, IL

APA Site Visitor Training May 13th

 

Here are some responses of those that attended prior ABPP workshops:

♦ "Nice friendly and collegial atmosphere."
"CE presentations are of very high quality with timely, relevant content across a range of areas."
"I was thoroughly impressed with the presenters' ability to deliver an engaging and thought provoking talk."

Register Now and join us in May for the ABPP 2014 Conference & Workshops in Chicago, IL.

ABPP 2014 Annual Attestation Period (October 2013 through March 2014)

 

If you did not complete your attestation during this time, please contact our office at 919-537-8031 or attestation@abpp.org in order to bring your account current.

After April 8th, you will not be able to login to member services if your account is not current.

 

If you have questions, please contact attestation@abpp.org

 

ABPP Mission Statement

The mission of the American Board of Professional Psychology is to increase consumer protection through the examination and certification of psychologists who demonstrate competence in approved specialty areas in professional psychology.

ABPP Value Statement

 

Board Certification through the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) provides peer and public recognition of demonstrated competence in one of its fourteen affiliated specialty areas. Additionally, Board Certification through ABPP provides the professional with increased opportunities for career growth, including employability, mobility, and financial compensation.

 

Twelve Reasons to become Board Certified in Psychology with the American Board of Professional Psychology

 

Message from the President

Executive Officer Update

ABPP Myths

 


Message from the President

 

Randy K. Otto, PhD, ABPP

 

 

 

I have just returned to Tampa after attending the winter meeting of the ABPP Board of Trustees (BOT) in Chapel Hill.  I am energized and optimistic as I prepare to take the reins of the organization from Past-President Greg Lee, who led ABPP so ably for the past two years.  There are many new developments, and established programs and priorities continue to move forward as well.  

 

 

Ongoing Annual Continuing Education Workshop

This May ABPP will hold its 5th annual continuing education program at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in downtown Chicago.  Past programs in Portland, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Boston have been well received and I am confident that the meeting in Chicago will prove no different.  This meeting serves many purposes.  Of course, it provides an array of top-quality continuing education programs that are offered by our own board certified specialists.  This meeting also allows for the constituent ABPP boards to conduct various types of business (ranging from administering oral examinations to holding annual meetings), and we hope that the member boards will make an ongoing effort to establish their presence at this meeting.  Further, this program provides an opportunity for ABPP-certified psychologists to touch base with old friends and meet new ones.  And perhaps most importantly, it is a mechanism for promoting the value and meaning of ABPP certification to those psychologists who attend the workshops, but have not yet made this important step in their professional development.

 

Towards Financial Security

It is important that ABPP be financially secure.  Towards this end I am happy to announce that ABPP is about to make its first deposit into a long-term investment account.  This deposit ($200,000) would not have been possible a few years ago given ABPP’s financial picture.  But through the hard work of Executive Officer David Cox, the Board of Trustees, and a string of dedicated treasurers ABPP is now able to take this important step.  Moreover, ABPP’s financial picture is that much more positive with the ongoing efforts of the American Board of Professional Psychology Foundation-a separate non-profit, charitable organization that is dedicated to supporting ABPP and its mission.

 

Maintenance of Certification

Most of you are quite familiar with ABPP’s efforts over the past few years to put in place a process by which ABPP-certified psychologists can demonstrate Maintenance of Certification (MOC).  The MOC Task Force, which was led by ABPP President-Elect Michael Tansy, continues to make considerable progress in this area and the constituent boards are moving forward as well.  Thus, any psychologists gaining certification from ABPP after January 1, 2015 will need to demonstrate maintenance of certification every ten years.  Psychologists certified before January 1, 2015 will be provided the opportunity to voluntarily undergo this process. You can read more about this process elsewhere in the ABPP newsletter and website.   

 

The Work of the ABPP Board of Trustees and Central Office

I am consistently gratified by the hard work of those who serve as ABPP trustees.  Most are nominated by, and represent constituent boards.  Yet, without exception, the trustees consistently demonstrate their commitment to ABPP as a whole. 

 

ABPP central office has never been more stable or ably staffed.  We are very fortunate in this way.  As a result of the hard work of our staff we have been able to take on many new tasks.  Of particular value is implementation of a new data management system, available to all member boards at no cost.  This system will make more cost and time efficient the time and expense related to managing candidates’ applications and practice samples.  The American Board of Clinical Psychology (one of the busier boards) has begun using this system and I expect other boards to come on-line shortly.  

  

Re-Energizing the ABPP Website and Newsletter

I think it important that ABPP use whatever resources it has available to maximize communication with board certified specialists, psychologists contemplating board certification, and the public.  That is why I plan to place a greater emphasis on the ABPP website, newsletter, and other forms of media during the next two years.  Our new newsletter editor, Katherine Jones, has a number of good ideas, including continuing to offer newsletter articles for continuing education credit, and appointing an associate editor to manage ABPP’s social media presence.  And remember, there is always room for newsletter submissions from board certified psychologists.    

 

One thing I always do when I get publications from my alma maters is review the section in which alumni report that they have been up to.  So, one new newsletter feature I am excited to see develop is a section in which specialists can share news about their professional accomplishments (books, articles, appointments, and the like).  Please start thinking about what great things you are doing that you want to share with the rest of us-and the rest of psychology.

 

Hearing From You

As I suggested above, the ABPP trustees and central office staff work hard and are committed to making ABPP better.  I know that many of you have thoughts about how we can do and be better, as well.  That is, how we can better serve psychology, board certified specialists, and the public.  Please write or call with your ideas, comments, opinions, questions or suggestions (rotto@usf.edu; 813-974-9296).

 

Finally, Growing ABPP

My primary goal during my tenure as President of the ABPP Board of Trustees is to grow this organization.  Over the past few years ABPP has seen an increase in the number of applicants, candidates, and board certified psychologists as a result of the hard work of many.  This is a trend it is important to continue. 

 

When I came into office I made the simple pledge to myself that, at every professional presentation I offer during the next two years, I will make a special effort to reference ABPP, its value to me, and its value to the public and psychologists who have yet to seek board certification—quickly followed by an invitation to meet with anyone who wants to talk about these matters in more detail.  Last week I gave a 3-hour presentation on informed consent in medical settings to staff psychologists at a local medical center.  And, as a result of my pledge, I have a lunch appointment with two young, energetic rehabilitation psychology postdoctoral fellows in about 30 minutes, so that is all for now.  I will keep you informed of my progress.

 

 


  Executive Officer Update

David R. Cox, PhD, ABPP 

We continue to be blessed by an outstanding staff that is committed, hard-working and loyal.  They do a great job.  They are working very hard, and quite honestly, we need to be looking very clearly at the future and how we will staff Central Office.  ABPP has a new board, with another in review this year, has been putting on the workshop series and is handling an increasing number of applications.  Other than changing the EO position to full time, we have not added any staff since prior to 2006.  I believe we all have ideas about what could be done well, perhaps better, through Central Office.  I know I do, and I have visions of increased Central Office ability to assist our specialty boards; all of that takes resources.  We need to be considering issues of importance and addressing how they will be staffed as well as financed.  I hope we seriously look at these issues as we progress and grow; there is much more that Central Office can do if we establish the means to do it.  Central Office has undertaken some activities that help in this regard, in that they either assist a specialty board in a way that does not overly task Central Office and/or generate revenue that would otherwise not have been generated.  Two examples follow:

 

The ABPP Verification Process

 

Please note, and share this information widely, that there is no charge for an ABPP psychologist to obtain verification of status.  The charge for verification is only made to agencies such as managed care entities seeking verification.  We get hundreds, no thousands, of these each year.  Those organizations typically want a notification from us that a person is ABPP or not, and may want more information than we provide on the public directory.  This is something that many organizations charge for. Thus, we implemented the charge.  In 2012, we will bring in roughly $30,000 from this activity.  This is an income stream that did not exist 18 months ago.

 

Continuing Education Registration and Certificates

 

Central Office was engaged by the American Board of Rehabilitation Psychology to build an on line registration process for its conference, and the subsequent year was asked to build an online CE survey/certificate processing system.  We did that and it proved to be a “win-win”.  ABRP had an easy, online registration and CE Certificate processing system, but less than they would have paid to outsource it and thereby kept the funds “in-house”.  ABPP Central Office made a few thousand dollars in doing this, and in the process learned some additional things that will help us all in similar future endeavors.  We are happy to talk with specialty boards and academies about serving in this capacity.

 

APA Recognition of ABPP

 

The American Psychological Association will begin accepting applications from organizations that board certify psychologists as it begins a process for recognition of those organizations.  I have already completed a draft of this application, and received some informal feedback.  The process is not unlike what Florida did a few years back.  I anticipate the ABPP will be ready to proceed with this as soon as APA is; they will not accept applications for review until their Spring 2013 meeting of the CRSPPP.  I have some edits to make and will have the application ready to go; I anticipate no difficulty with this process.

 

 ABPP Strategic Planning Update: Part II

 

I want to use the bulk of the EO Report as a means of remembering, reflecting, and perhaps dreaming - looking back, reviewing some ABPP accepted priorities and laying out some potential for future direction.  In 2007, under the presidential guidance of Al Finch, the ABPP Board of Trustees participated in strategic planning.  That review of our organization led to some fundamental changes that, in turn, led to engagement in activities that has helped ABPP establish a more firm footing in our profession than it has previously held.  Those changes required vision and courage on the part of the ABPP leadership, and a level of trust in the BOT representatives to make decisions that are in the best interest of the specialty boards, ABPP and the profession as a whole.  The steps that have been taken are commendable, and present a positive trend in the world of board certification in professional psychology; yet there continue to be challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Some of the Strategic Plan Priorities established in 2007, and brief comments regarding our organization status in respect to them, follows in Bold Italic, with commentary added:

 

Increase the number of ABPP specialists

 

As one can see in the chart below, overall ABPP numbers have grown about 5% since this time in 2008.  Note that the 2012 numbers are dynamic, as we may be receiving some attestations from individuals who are late and are therefore not yet included in the total. There are likely some surprises, however, when you look at the numbers by specialty board.  I have highlighted those specialty boards that have shown growth.  I think that over time, continued observation of these numbers, and any trend in them, need to a topic of review and consideration with respect to the long term organizational structure of ABPP.  These can be seen as both challenges and opportunities, yet are worthy of thoughtful consideration.

 

Specialty Board         # as of 10/2008                       # as of 11/20/2012                   Change               % of 2008

 

ABCCAP

113

 

 

144

 

31

 

127.4336

ABCHP

 

117

 

 

156

 

39

 

133.3333

ABCN

 

642

 

 

797

 

155

 

124.1433

ABCP

 

1373

   

1284

 

-89

 

93.51784

ABCBP

 

111

 

 

128

 

17

 

115.3153

ABCoP

 

207

   

192

 

-15

 

92.75362

ABCFP

 

121

   

115

 

-6

 

95.04132

ABFP

 

236

 

 

262

 

26

 

111.0169

ABGP

 

43

   

41

 

-2

 

95.34884

ABOBCP

48

   

44

 

-4

 

91.66667

ABPPSP

 

0

   

55

 

55

 

       NA

ABAPsa

 

119

   

106

 

-13

 

89.07563

ABRP

 

131

 

 

148

 

17

 

112.9771

ABSP

 

117

   

86

 

-31

 

73.50427

                   

Totals

 

3378

   

3558

 

180

 

105.329

 

 

Early Entry Option

 

I believe that the ABPP Early Entry Program continues to be a strength for us.  At this time of reporting in 2011, ABPP had received 234 Early Entry applications; this year we have received 323 Early Entry Applications year-to-date.  To those of you spreading the word on this: Thank you and keep it up!

 

Government In-roads

 

 This is an area in which I believe we can do better.  For example, the Department of Veterans Affairs, as the single largest employer of psychologists in the nation, employs roughly the same number of psychologists as are board certified by ABPP.  The VA system has in place financial incentives to become ABPP board certified.  We need to target VA psychologists and be much more active in our recruitment of them.  Similarly, psychologists employed in the military and Public Health Service are other high-visibility individuals for whom external incentives (raises, bonuses) are already in place should they become ABPP board certified.

 

Hospital/Healthcare Systems

 

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, many are stating that the importance of board certification of psychologists will become increasingly important (e.g., Rozensky, 2011).  Although I tend to agree, and hope this is correct, the rapidity with which this effects a change in behavior among individual psychologists is something we will have to wait to see.  If there is a significant push toward requiring, or even strongly encouraging, board certification we may have to seriously consider organizational changes within our own structure in order to accommodate a significant and rapid increase in applications.  This may be true in any event, given the rise in Early Entry Applications we saw this year.

 

Diversity Issues

 

The ABPP Diversity Committee has done some good work the past couple of years, and continues to move us in a direction of increased diversity.  That committee has some proposals on the agenda at this meeting that are quite worthy of strong consideration for support. 

 

Affiliation with other Organizations

 

We continue to do a good job in this arena, both directly and indirectly.  Our liaison relationships include APA (numerous boards/committees – e.g., BPA,BEA, CAPP), ASPPB, CoS, and others.  We have actively engaged in adding APPIC to this list.  I had the pleasure of giving invited presentations at the APPIC meeting twice in the recent past, and have been told to expect to return for the next APPIC meeting.  We have also added the CCTC to our list of liaisons.  Finally, it should not go unnoticed that the last 7 of the last 10 APA presidential elections have resulted in selecting an ABPP psychologist. 

 

Specialty Conferences: ABPP and non-ABPP

 

ABPP has established a workshop series that has been met with enthusiasm.  While we continue to grow this in regard to its financial success, the trend is quite positive.  Equally important is the fact that those in attendance consistently rate the presentations as being among the highest quality, and presenters have consistently reported that those in attendance are highly interested, learned and make for good interaction.

 

ABPP continues to be visible at APA Convention, APA State Leadership Conference, the VA Leadership Conference, and some specialty board-related conferences.  We annually sponsor the VA Leadership Conference as well as the National Multicultural Summit conference (every other year), and have been a sponsor for Education and Training related conferences periodically as appropriate also.

 

Increased Visibility/Marketing

 

Public: this is an area in which we could grow.  Ideas are welcomed.

Professionals: continued professional presence, as in the conferences above, as well as increased focus on groups such as the VA and other “incentivized” groups may be worthwhile.

 

Restructure/Reorganization

 

We hired a full-time Executive Officer; I believe that has been a good move, but have my bias!  I continue to be proud to represent ABPP and am enthusiastic in interactions with other organizations and professionals. 

 

Centralize functions of SBs and Academies through CO as appropriate and able

 

This area is one in which we continue to grow.  We are having a brief presentation at the 2012 BOT meeting regarding some consultation in deploying and implementing some tools that may be useful in increasing the accessibility of information, collaborative working and other related areas.  Growing interest in CO centralization has led to establishment of online registration and CE processing for one specialty board conference, and we would hope that can increase in the future.  To do that, and other tasks that might be done, we will need to consider increasing the human (and financial) resources for CO.  We have added the workshop series to the CO tasks without the addition of staff, but would be hard pressed to increase the CO workload.  This area for growth is one of challenge and opportunity to which I think ABPP must attend in relation to how we desire the organization to grow. The BOT recently approved a plan to retain and outside consultant to work with CO to investigate some potential collaboration tools for use by CO and the specialty boards, as well as committees.

 

Board of Trustees


With regard to consolidating board representation of smaller Specialty Boards (SBs), no action has taken place.  There has been recognition of a desire to attempt to continue to assist smaller SBs in their efforts to grow and work efficiently.

 

Consider increased Academy representation

 

The Board-Academy workgroup has put in numerous hours toward establishing draft agreements between the boards and academies, some boards and academies have merged and others are working on the issue.  This is another area that the BOT will be addressing at this meeting.

 

Sub-Specialties: Develop cross-cutting Sub-specialties through inter-SB cooperation

 

We anticipate receipt of the first application for an ABPP subspecialty, that of pediatric neuropsychology, in the very near future, if not at the December 2012 meeting. See Dr. Lee’s President’s Message in this issue for a bit more on this.

 

 

References

Rozensky, R. H. (2011). The institution of the institutional practice of psychology: Health care reform and psychology’s future workforce.  American Psychologist, 66, 797-808.

 

 

 


 

ABPP Myths

 

Christine Maguth Nezu, PhD, ABPP

 

Myth 1. ABPP is a Largely Academic and Elitist Organization.


Myth-busting facts.  The mission of ABPP is to board certify individuals in various psychology specialties.  As such, board-certified specialists are first and foremost, competent professionals who are responsible for the delivery of best practices of their specialty. It is true that, In addition to their commitment to providing competent services to the public, some psychologists who hold leadership positions on the various ABPP boards and academies also hold leadership positions in various clinical training or academic institutions.  However, this is not elitist, rather, simply attests to their active participation in the growth and improvement of the field.  Board-certified specialists are individuals who are interested in promoting competent practice, at all levels of experience, from the full range of professional service settings, and from all theoretic orientations.  Since when did the aspiration of competent practice cease signifying responsibility and start signifying elitism?


Myth 2. If one is Licensed, There is No Need for Further Evaluation of His or Her Abilities.


Myth-busting facts.  Technically, in order to legally and ethically engage in independent general practice, this is correct. However, if one considers him- or herself a specialist regarding assessment, treatment, or consultation in any of the recognized specialty areas within professional psychology, there is a growing interest among jurisdictional regulators and third- party payers to look toward board certification, similar to medicine, as a way to credential competent specialty practice. Moreover, our own ethical standards require us to provide services within the boundaries of our competencies. Board certification goes beyond what knowledge we have obtained and extends to how we competently apply what we know in day-to-day specialty practice.


Myth #3. I am a Quality Provider and Very Successful. I Don’t Need ABPP to Attract Patients. 


Myth-busting facts.  ABPP was never intended to be a marketing vehicle by which individuals could attract patients or increase the entrepreneurship of their practice (although it is a reported additional benefit for some).  Rather, when high quality providers (e.g., the very people who subscribe to this myth and accurately self-identify in this way) are recognized through board certification, the process uplifts the entire profession because their practice provides the specialty benchmarks for competent work.  One psychologist (who previously subscribed to this myth) recently told me that it was his concern about uplifting the profession during our discussions that sold him on the importance of board certification through ABPP.


Myth #4.  ABPP Does Not Have Value for Me.  Indeed, if I Take the Exam, I May be Communicating That I Am Not Competent Until I am Board Certified.


Myth-busting Facts.  Ask any ABPP board-certified psychologist if they ever questioned the board-certification process or if they experienced any fears of how patients or colleagues might react if they did not pass (although the pass rate for individuals taking the exam is high, most all of us have experienced these fears).  It is important to consider that many of the most valuable personal learning experiences involve some discomfort.  After the first question, the board-certified specialist should then be additionally asked why he or she decided that it was still worth the time, effort, and cost to get board certified. I have never spoken to a specialist who regretted their decision. With regard to concerns about performance, there is much one can do to increase the likelihood of a successful exam experience by seeking information, guidance, and mentorship through the specialty board or academy of interest. More important, ABPP’s value far exceeds the individual sense of accomplishment, the increase in practice mobility, the increase in employment or salary opportunities, and increased protection of the public. Its value is important primarily to the professional of psychology as a whole. I have received emails, letters, and phone calls in the past two years from psychologists who are concerned about the unfair recognition of doctoral-level psychologists compared to their counterparts in medicine. Examples include the lack of fairness in media outlets regarding their refusal to use the title “Dr.” for psychologists and attempts by some segments of the American Medical Association (AMA) to do the same.  It is reasonable and justifiable to have these concerns and desire to want to fight for equal professional footing. However, the overwhelming majority of physicians are board certified, whereas the current percentage of qualified psychologists who are board certified is approximately 4%. We will never receive the parity and fairness we seek regarding the media, law-making bodies, insurance carriers, our colleagues in other disciplines, or the public, unless we demonstrate an equal commitment to ensuring competence in our specialty practices. What we do is important. The easing of human suffering, the improvement of lives and relationships, and improved mental and physical health outcomes require robust and competently delivered therapies. Board certification is a widely accepted means by which to increase confidence in the competence of those who provide such services.


Myth # 5. ABPP is Only for Expert Practitioners Who Have Been Practicing for Years and Years. 


Myth-busting facts. Individuals qualify as candidates for board certification if they have the requisite doctoral training and have an unrestricted license in the jurisdiction in which they practice. Although requisite professional experience varies with specialties, in most cases, this involves approximately three years postdoctoral training (including internship).


Myth #6.  I Don’t See Patients in Day-to-Day Practice Much Anymore. More of My Work Involves Program Development, Supervision, or Development of Effective Treatments Through Psychology Research.


Myth-busting facts. I saved this one for last because I hear it so often in academic settings. I usually ask the person perpetuating this set of myths some of the following questions depending upon the particular version of the myth. “Imagine for a moment that you were a student seeking a professional doctoral training program (e.g., psychology, medicine, nursing, etc.), would you seek training from board-certified or non board-certified professionals in the specialty or discipline with which you are interested?  If you were seeking treatment for a significant medical or physical problem, would you want to know that your provider was board-certified as competent and prepared to treat the problem for which you seek help?” And finally, “if you were supporting research to investigate a psychotherapy approach that was aimed at decreasing human suffering, would you want to know that the therapists in the study were competent?”  Of course the answers to any (and all) of these questions is usually a resounding “yes.” Particularly in academic settings that train the next generation of professional psychologists or investigate the next wave of effective psychotherapy treatments, competence is a critical concept. For example, one clear bridge between research and practice is that those conducting clinical research trials in psychotherapy must necessarily be concerned with ensuring the competency of therapists in their studies as an essential aspect of their scientific integrity.

 

Why Myths Tend to Periodically Resurface


Recently, I read an article in another professional psychology organization’s newsletter, in which that organization was promoting its own credentialing process.  Rather than focusing on the benefits to their members regarding their own activities, the author provided false and misleading information about ABPP, referring to it as an “academic certification” (see myth # 1), stating that only 1% of psychologists are board certified (false and misleading information), and making statements directly dismissing the value of ABPP board certification.  It is disappointing when fellow psychologists behave poorly. More importantly, when our colleagues resort to disseminating information that is at best inaccurate and naive, and at worst, irresponsible and unprofessional, their behavior can be damaging to the profession as a whole.  


Despite our training and experience, none of us are immune to fear, or any of the array of personal strategies human beings employ to reduce fears, including avoidance, denial, distraction, rationalization, or even aggressive acts. Many of the myths that persist can be traced back to colleagues’ fears that their competence might be questioned, avoidance of the burden of a fair and objective exam, denial of its importance, distraction from responsibility, rationalization that peer evaluation of competence is not necessary, and in its extreme, aggressive and attacking remarks toward the board certifying body (ABPP).  It does not need to be this way. This issue significantly hits the notion of “practicing what we preach” and working together to support and help each other in the inevitable sequence of steps we all recognize as essential to demonstrating competent practice and placing professional psychology on equal footing with other healing disciplines. By doing so, we can reduce the prevalence of these myths and simultaneously help the profession.  In order to accomplish this, we will need to reduce our own desires to promote the idea that there are so many competent psychologists out there that should be recognized and identified as such. We will need to do more to help our colleagues confront examination fears in a more effective manner and walk willingly into their board-certification experience.  One reason for publishing our first ABPP book this summer was to reach out and make the board certification process more user-friendly, by sharing our experiences, our knowledge, and our collective helpful guidance with the process.  We need to be welcoming and encouraging. The challenge, which I have often heard stated at so many meetings and conferences, is to get psychologists to “stop shooting ourselves in the foot.”


How to Stop Shooting Ourselves in the Foot


Rather than allow fears of the oral exam or face the possibility that some our specialty competencies may require continuing education to result in arguments or competitions with each other, how can we appeal to our colleagues to “cease fire” and stop thinking of ABPP as a “four-letter word?”  Continued avoidance, denial, rationalization, and attacks may provide some immediate sense of personal control over fear, but it inevitably reduces the value and importance of what our profession can offer. 


Imagine how the field could be strengthened if we helped and supported each other to reach the competency standards for practice to which we can mutually agree.  More energy would be spent on mentoring, supervision, continuing education, and cross-specialty conferences. To begin this type of activity, we are planning the first-ever, ABPP-wide, continuing education conference in Portland, Oregon July 6-10, 2010 (please mark your calendars and save the date). This conference will disseminate the work of board-certified psychologists across all specialty areas, and allow for cross-specialty integration. It will provide cutting-edge developments and will be open to both board-certified and non-board certified psychologists.  I look forward to seeing you all there.


In recent months, I have spoken to many people and organizations in my role as ABPP President in order to disseminate information about board certification, promote the importance of competence in professional psychology, and to invite dialogue regarding how we can best reach the many licensed psychologists for whom board-certification would acknowledge their work and promote the profession. Although I have witnessed an ever growing enthusiasm for these concepts, I continue to experience the barriers of old myths that are perpetuated by a lack of information or presence of fears.


Why We Need to Change


I recently was speaking with a hospital credentialing administrator and explained the importance of board certification for professional psychology specialists. In doing so, I made a few comparisons to the board-certification process required by physicians. She listened carefully and agreed that peer evaluation of competency in a specialty certainly provides for an important means for the public to have confidence in the psychological services provided by the hospital. Additionally, she indicated that it clarifies for other groups, such as third party payers, the nature and competencies involved in one’s specialty practice.  However, she later suggested, “unless we can grandparent the existing practitioners, we may have a revolt on our hands…because no psychologist who has been practicing for many years is going to be willing to take another test. They’re not like other docs…they fight these things.”  
 

Another licensed psychologist recently told a colleague that after years of practice as a qualified psychologist, to have her patients know that she is taking a board-certification would be an embarrassment that may have a negative impact on her practice.  As you might expect, I could not disagree more. It’s essential to help our colleagues overcome the barrier of fear in much more constructive ways. However, in order to do so, they should expect our enthusiastic support, mentorship, and helpful guidance. Although undergoing evaluation may be a bit daunting, it’s the very concept of self-study, continuing education, and dedication to competence that contributes to our organization’s integrity.


Why We Need to Address Maintenance of Board-Certification in the Future


During this same week, I read an editorial by a cardiologist who writes a column for our local newspaper that had as its focus, the board-certification requirements of physician specialists and the more recent requirement of maintenance certification to which all of their 24 member boards agreed to participate. The American Board of Medical Specialties indicates that this maintenance of certification is important because it “assures that the physician is committed to lifelong learning and competency in a specialty and/or subspecialty by requiring measurement of core competency areas established by the association.”
 

Our own board of trustees began an exploration of the topic of maintenance last December and charged the standards committee to consider various models and processes of continuing education and lifelong learning that provide a means by which ABPP as an organization can maintain the value of board certification.  As part of their preliminary deliberations, the ABPP Board of Trustees recognized that once an individual is board certified, a full re-examination process would not be efficient; rather it would be and unnecessarily burdensome to our specialists, the examining boards, and the overall organization. As an alternative, the Standards Committee is working on the development of a future process by which board certified specialists can earn “recertification credits” through demonstration of their continued dedication to remain current, active, and proficient in the profession. A model such as this acknowledges that the board certified professional has demonstrated their competence, support of the profession, and personal commitment to excellence in the field at the time of their original certification examination process. This model also presumes that, unless otherwise demonstrated through adverse action, this competence can be maintained by daily professionally relevant work responsibilities and activities. Sample activities that might be included will be solicited from current specialists soon; there is announcement regarding plans for the process in this issue of The Specialist. We are eager to hear from all of you as a way of identifying the daily activities and responsibilities that you view as contributing to the maintenance of competence. 
 

 

 

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