The Certification & Examination Process


The ABPP Executive Officer reviews completed applications for compliance with general doctoral degree and licensure/ certification requirements. The Counseling Psychology Specialty Board also reviews the application for its specific requirements. Following favorable review and verification, the applicant becomes a Candidate for certification and moves to the practice sample stage of the process.

The practice sample is a professional self-study and a case study (except for those exercising the senior option). A mentor is available through the American Academy of Counseling Psychology to guide candidates. The practice sample should reflect the candidate’s specialty competence in Counseling Psychology. When the practice sample is accepted, the candidate moves to the oral examination.

Getting ready for the examination includes preparation of a videotape of a psychotherapy, supervision or consultation session to determine the candidate’s assessment and intervention skills. The videotape and a discussion serve as a base from which to review the candidate’s pattern of practice, including theoretical and empirical bases of practice. Other areas of the examination include ethics, professional practice, and alternative intervention. Vignettes are used to evaluate competence in these areas. The examination is conducted by Board Certified Counseling Psychologists. The examination takes a full day. Two examiners assess each Candidate; examiners change for various sections of the examination.

The examiners/reviewers ascribe no importance to any one theoretical orientation; the candidate is examined within his/her theoretical orientation. Mentors are willing to discuss ways to prepare for the examination.

New Specialists are honored at the ABPP convocation held at the APA convention.
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