The Certification & Examination Process

Examination for Board Certification

 
Examination for Board Certification is designed to ensure that the candidate demonstrates specialty level competence in the specialty of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.  Specialty level standing is conceptualized as discriminately higher than the basic level of competence certified by state licensure, but within the reach of most experienced practitioners of professional psychology.  Board Certification is achieved by successful completion of an oral examination conducted by three or more members of an examination committee comprised of Board Certified Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologists.  Candidates should expect the examination to cover core Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology content as well as their own area of practice.  Sensitivity to and knowledge of ethical, professional and legal issues and the ability to translate this awareness effectively into practice is also expected. 
 
Stages of the Examination Process
 
Stage I          
 
Credentials Review:  The Board of Trustees of the ABPP sets and verifies minimum generic standards for candidacy.  The Board of Directors of ABCCAP sets and verifies minimum specialty standards for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.   If the candidate is found to meet both generic and specialty standards, Stage I is passed. 
 
Stage II 
 
Practice Sample Review:  The Candidate’s three member Examination Committee reviews Practice Samples for substantive adequacy.  If they find that the sample is adequate for the oral examination, Stage II is passed.
 
Stage III
 
Oral Examination: Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the same committee of three members who approves the Practice Sample conducts the Oral Examination.  The Oral Examination emphasizes the Candidate's Practice Sample and awareness of current issues in professional psychology, professional experience, awareness of scientific basis of clinical child practice, clinical judgment, awareness of diversity issues and sensitivity to ethical, professional, and legal standards of practice.
 
Domains of Competency

The ABCCAP examination process assesses functional and foundational competencies. These domains are described below.

 

FUNCTIONAL COMPETENCIES

 

Science Base and Application

**NOTE: Satisfactory performance in science base and application must be demonstrated throughout the entire examination process.

 

A successful Candidate is aware of and conversant with scientific and scholarly developments in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology and applies them in professional practice. Examiners explore the Candidate’s awareness of and ability to discuss critically the implications and applications of contemporary knowledge in the practice of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. This includes knowledge of the integration of theory, research, and practice concerning interpersonal interactions, issues of individual/family and cultural diversity (e.g., ethnicity, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability status, and special populations1), ethics and legal foundations, and professional identification. If applicable, attention is paid to the Candidate’s own scholarly contributions as they inform the practice of clinical child and adolescent psychology.

 

Assessment

 

A successful Candidate conducts assessments that can range from the administration and interpretation of standardized tests to behavioral observations and clinical interviews. Assessment cases come from appropriate developmental levels. In some forms of professional practice, assessment and intervention are integral parts of the same process. Examiners explore the Candidate’s level of sophistication in discussing choice of assessment methods or approaches to address diagnostic issues and/or case formulation consistent with whatever theoretical foundation and evidence base is proposed as guiding assessment work. Attention is paid to interpersonal interactions, individual and cultural diversity, ethics and legal foundations, and professional identification as related to assessment.

 

Intervention

 

A successful Candidate performs interventions that may take the form of any modality of psychological treatment or environmental modification. Intervention cases may come from any appropriate developmental level. In some forms of professional practice, assessment and intervention are integral parts of the same process. Examiners explore the Candidate’s level of sophistication in discussing choice of therapeutic or environmental interventions to address therapeutic or family/systemic/organizational issues consistent with whatever theoretical foundation and evidence base is proposed as guiding intervention work. Attention is paid to interpersonal interactions, individual and cultural diversity, ethics and legal foundations, and professional identification as related to intervention.

 

Consultation

 

A successful Candidate demonstrates the ability to communicate and apply his/her knowledge in consultation with others such as other persons who provide psychological services, health care professionals from other disciplines, educational/school personnel, social service agencies, rehabilitation centers, industry, legal systems, public policy makers, and individuals in other institutions and settings. Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologists, additionally, consult regarding research. Attention is paid to interpersonal interactions, individual and cultural diversity, ethics and legal foundations, and professional identification as related to consultation.

 

Supervision/Management

 

With regard to Supervision, a successful Candidate demonstrates the ability to communicate and apply his/her knowledge in supervision with others such as psychological technicians/assistants; psychometricians; other persons who provide psychological services; psychology trainees in practicum, internship, and postdoctoral settings; and individuals conducting research. With regards to Management, a successful Candidate demonstrates the ability to effectively carry out administrative activities and/or program design, implementation, and evaluation.

In addition to the functional competencies described above, four foundational competencies are evaluated as they apply to all functional competencies evaluated. The foundational competencies are described below and include: interpersonal interactions, individual and cultural diversity, ethical and legal foundations, and professional identification.

 

FOUNDATIONAL COMPETENCIES

 

Interpersonal Interactions

 

A successful Candidate demonstrates sensitivity to the welfare, rights, and dignity of others and an ability to relate to clients/patients and others in ways that enhance the effectiveness of services provided. Successful Candidates must be aware of their own impact on others and countertransference vulnerabilities. They must indicate awareness of relevant issues regarding boundaries, communication styles, and professionalism.

 

Individual and Cultural Diversity

 

A successful Candidate demonstrates awareness of all aspects of individual and cultural diversity (e.g., ethnicity, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability status, and special populations) as these influence their understanding of assessment, intervention, consultation, supervision/ management, the science base and its application, and interpersonal interactions. Successful Candidates convey awareness of their own individual and cultural diversity characteristics as these influence functioning across functional competencies and interpersonal interactions.

 

Ethical and Legal Foundations

 

A successful Candidate is aware of: (1) current ethical principles and practice guidelines of the APA; (2) current statutory and regulatory provisions applicable to professional practice; and (3) implications of these principles to protect clients/patients, the profession, and society.

 

Professional Identification

 

A successful Candidate identifies with the profession by appropriate memberships and involvement in international, national, state, or local professional organizations and by awareness of current issues facing the profession. The Candidate pursues continuing professional education commensurate with licensure requirements and professional development in the Specialty of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. They seek consultation and supervision when necessary and engage in ongoing training and continuing professional education.

 
 
 The Application Process
 
The Applicant submits the Application Form, fee, and credentials materials to the ABPP Central Office. The Central Office verifies the generic requirements including the degree, the license, and the internship.   The Central Office forwards the materials to ABCCAP for evaluation of specialty requirements.  If no decision can be reached, the Applicant may be asked for additional information.  Final specialty determination is sent to Central Office and the Applicant is so advised of the passage of Stage I.
 
The Candidate then enters Stage II of the Examination Process, submits a fee for Stage II, and begins preparation of Practice Samples.  Three copies of the samples must be received within 12 months.  Upon receipt of Practice Samples and the examination fee, ABCCAP, guided by the Candidate's Professional Statement, selects a Chair for the Candidate's Examination Committee and informs the Candidate.  The Candidate can disapprove for cause the selection within one week and request another selection.  The Chair selects two Board Certified Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologists for the Examination Committee and informs the Candidate who can disapprove for cause either or both of the selections within one week.  Once appointed, Practice Samples are submitted to committee members and the committee of three oversees Stage II and Stage III  of the examination.
 
 Practice Samples (Stage II)
 

Candidates should refer to the ABCCAP Examination Manual for specific details of what and how to submit practice samples.  In summary, the Curriculum Vitae and Professional Statement are required for all Candidates. Individuals applying under the Regular Option will submit two recorded practice samples with accompanying documentation as described below. Individuals applying under the Senior Psychologist Option will submit two practice samples but are not required to provide recorded material. In each case, practice samples should come from two of the following functional competencies: assessment, intervention, consultation, and supervision/management. The same client/patient cannot serve as the basis for both Practice Samples.

 

CURRICULUM VITAE

 

All Practice Samples must include a Curriculum Vitae detailing the Candidate’s professional contributions. The Curriculum Vitae must include educational and training background, professional roles and responsibilities, and professional contributions (e.g., service activities, publications, presentations, grants).

 

PROFESSIONAL STATEMENT

 

The Professional Statement (no more than 10 double-spaced, typewritten pages) must address in separate sections each of the following items:

1) Description of current professional work (employment and professional activities at the local, state, and national level), continuing professional education activities, long-term plans in psychology, and reasons for seeking board certification;

2) Summary of the two submitted Practice Samples (for regular applicants) or a summary of primary functional competencies (for senior applicants) that includes a description of the theoretical and empirical bases for these activities;

3) Discussion of the evidence base that informs one’s practice as a Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologist;

4) Examples of handling of complex interpersonal interactions in the functional competencies of assessment, intervention, consultation, and/or supervision/management;

5) Examples of awareness of individual and cultural diversity as pertinent to one’s assessments, interventions, consultations, and/or supervision/management;

6) Description of a meaningful and challenging ethical dilemma personally encountered, aspects of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct pertinent to the dilemma, and how the dilemma was managed;

7) Attestation that no ethical/legal action has been taken against Candidate since candidacy.

 

REGULAR OPTION PRACTICE SAMPLES

 

The Practice Samples are two recordings (e.g., DVDs, videotapes) of professional work representative of the Candidate’s current practice, each approximately 50 minutes in length. These recordings should be made no more than one year prior to the submission. The Candidate may select to provide Practice Samples reflecting two of the following functional competencies: assessment, intervention, consultation, and/or supervision/management. The recorded Practice Samples will depict two of the following: (1) an unrehearsed psychological assessment or evaluation; (2) an unrehearsed intervention (any modality) drawn from typical clinical practice; (3) an unrehearsed consultation in any context drawn from typical practice; or (4) an unrehearsed demonstration of clinically relevant supervision or management activities. It is not acceptable to provide two samples of the same functional competency (e.g., two assessment samples).

 

An Assessment Practice Sample may include psychological testing or an intake evaluation. If the Assessment Practice Sample includes test administration, the recording must be that portion during which rapport building, interviewing and/or provision of feedback takes place. A recording solely depicting test administration is not satisfactory unless the test is a semi-structured interview, such that the specific administration requires significant clinical sophistication (e.g., ADOS). Where standardized assessment instruments are used, the Candidate should demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the construction, administration and interpretation of such instruments. Note that formal testing is not required for an Assessment Practice Sample.

 

An Intervention Practice Sample may include an example of ongoing therapy. An in-depth assessment feedback session may also be used, unless a feedback session is used for the Assessment Practice Sample, in which case the Intervention Practice Sample must reflect a different type of intervention. The Candidate may be queried as to how he/she handled the issues of confidentiality, informed consent, and privacy with the client/patient.

 

A Consultation Practice Sample may include an example of a clinical consultation.

 

A Supervision/Management Practice Sample may include a demonstration of performance in supervision or management activities.

 

SENIOR OPTION PRACTICE SAMPLES

Psychologists who qualify for the Senior Option must submit a Curriculum Vitae and Professional Statement as delineated above. In addition, the Senior Candidate must include two or more of the following: professional publications, brochures, outlines, presentations, or portfolios that demonstrate functional competence in assessment, intervention, consultation, and/or supervision/management related to the practice of clinical child and adolescent psychology. As with regular option candidates, the two practice samples must reflect two different areas of functional competence. Specifically, Candidates qualifying as seniors may provide information reflecting more distinctive practice patterns resulting from extended professional experience, e.g., areas of consultation; contracted service responsibilities; special grants; program administration/supervision; graduate school, internship, or residency program contributions, involvement, or clinical level teaching; Continuing Professional Education program presentations; program evaluation or research, professional publications related to the practice of the specialty; or the organization and pattern of the Candidate’s current clinical practice.

 

Please note that recorded Practice Samples are not required for the Senior Psychologist Option, but the Candidate should be prepared to discuss the following functional competencies: science base and application, assessment, intervention, consultation, and supervision/management.

 
Format for Stage III: Oral Examination
 

Once Stage II is passed, then the candidate moves on to the Stage III oral examination.  Candidates are referred to the ABCCAP Exam Manual for a summary schedule of the oral examination.  The Oral Examination process is designed to be completed in approximately three hours. For both regular and senior option Candidates, it is a competency-based examination and the Examination Committee is expected to explicitly address functional and foundational competencies with the Candidate. Within each segment, there is room for variation according to the judgment of the Examination Committee. Many topics will be interwoven throughout the examination, and flexibility should be allowed if relevant to the discussion. A topic may receive more cursory exploration in its scheduled time period if it has been sufficiently covered earlier. It often is useful to utilize hypothetical examples or situations to ascertain if the individual meets the criterion for passing each functional and foundational competency. The Oral Examination process should be collegial in nature.

 
SUMMARY SCHEDULE FOR EXAMINATION - STAGE III
 
This schedule requires that the examiners have viewed the videotapes and reviewed all the written materials in advance
 
        Committee meets and organizes - 10 Minutes
        Committee greets candidate - 10 Minutes
        Exam: Professional statement & practice sample - 105 Minutes
        Break - 15 Minutes
        Exam: Ethical, legal, professional issues; Research awareness - 50 Minutes
        Exam wrap-up discussion; Return practice samples - 15 Minutes
        Committee votes and writes reports -  25 Minutes
 
Ethics Vignettes
 
A file of prepared vignettes is maintained in ABPP Central Office for standardization of the Ethics segment of the Oral Examination.  Two vignettes are selected on a random basis.  Three copies are sent to the Examination Committee Chair to be distributed to Committee members, and one to be given to the Candidate. The Candidate has also submitted, in the Professional Statement, a non-identifying ethics quandary from his or her own professional experience. 
 
During the Ethics segment of the Oral Examination, the Candidate will be given at least one standardized vignette to discuss.  The Examining Committee does not necessarily expect a "right" answer, but anticipates that the Candidate will present relevant options and demonstrate the ability to thoughtfully weigh them in the light of the APA ethics principles, professional practice standards and relevant statutes.  The Candidate will discuss his/her own vignette in the same manner.
At the conclusion of the Oral Examination, all copies of the Ethics vignettes are collected by the Chair and returned to ABPP Central Office.  The use of each vignette will be tracked so that in the case of a Candidate's failure, new vignettes will be used for re-examination.  Examiners and Candidates will treat the vignettes as confidential.
 
The Application Process: Senior Option
 
If the candidate is currently listed in the National Register of Health Service Providers, which will serve as the source for information on education training and experience, the application process is simplified.
 
The Applicant submits the Application Form, fee, and credentials materials to the ABPP Central Office.
 
Credentials: 
 
One copy of Curriculum Vita, including a list of publication.
 
Practice Sample:
 
Three (3) copies of two articles and/or book deemed significant in clinical child and adolescent psychology or description of other contributions that have had a major influence in the area of clinical child psychology.
 
Examination Procedures:
 
The examination process will be the same except for the nature of the professional statement and practice sample.  The examination will cover a broad understanding of clinical child and adolescent
psychology’s theoretical and empirical foundations.
The same standards, rating scales, evaluation procedures and forms will be utilized.
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