Aida Saldivar, PhD, ABPP
What is your practice like?
My practice consists of providing psychological and neuropsychological services in a rehabilitation hospital full time, and conducting med-legal evaluations part-time. At the hospital I work primarily with patients who have acute and chronic neurological disorders, brain injuries, and strokes, as well as working with patients with diabetes who are being referred for amputations. I specialize in psychological and neuropsychological assessment of Spanish speakers and the med-legal work I do consists of workers compensation cases, as well as defense and plaintiff cases.
What did you learn about yourself and your practice while doing board certification?
I learned a great deal about myself in the process of attaining board certification. It gave me the opportunity to take the time and look more closely at my daily work and identify areas of strength and weakness and to then enhance areas of strength and work on improving areas of weakness.
What might you consider doing differently based on what you learned?
I would consider doing it sooner or more quickly. I remember doing my initial drafts and then sitting on them for several months before picking them up again.
Do you see yourself in a different light for having completed the board certification process?
Absolutely! Attaining board certification is not like completing the EPPP or taking the licensing exam – it is not a requirement to practice psychology, but rather a challenge to oneself. To have your peers review your work can be intimidating, but to have them accept it is very rewarding and can certainly make one feel more confident about one’s daily approach to work.
What motivated you to seek board certification in rehabilitation psychology?
I had always intended to seek board certification and as my career progressed it became clear that my practice was primarily rehabilitation oriented. My practice is very different from that of non-rehabilitation psychologists so it seemed natural to want to get board certified and to demonstrate that I am specialized in rehabilitation psychology.
What advice would you give to a candidate for board certification in rehabilitation psychology?
Go for it! Challenge yourself. Select work samples that reflect your clinical knowledge and skills and discuss what YOU did and how YOU integrate theory, research and practice into providing sound clinical services. Attend Division 22: Rehabilitation Psychology Conference. Every year they provide a series dedicated to ABPP-RP preparation. Division 22 is very supportive of the process, providing guidance, mentors, and a great band that plays every year at the conference. Definitely take advantage of the mentorship process offered by ABPP-RP. A mentor can help guide you through the process and reduce your anxiety by providing encouragement, feedback on work samples, and suggestions on how to prepare for oral examinations.
What have you found most valuable or rewarding about board certification (e.g., salary increase, referrals, colleagues, increased self esteem, learning, something else)?
There were many aspects about being board certified that were rewarding. Being recognized by my peers and co-workers, such that the hospital CEO included it in the hospital newsletter, was definitely rewarding. Attorneys seem nicer and less likely to question my expertise during depositions. The best perk though was getting a 20% discount on my practice insurance.