APA Presidential Candidates

 

Each year, ABPP asks the APA Presidential Candidates to respond to the following questions:

 

1.  What are your views regarding board certification in psychology?

2.  What are your views regarding specialization within psychology?

3.  If elected, how can APA and ABPP work together toward improving our field?

4.  If elected, how can ABPP help with your presidential agenda?

 

The candidates for APA President-elect are (listed alphabetically; click on a name to see go to the response):

 

Barry S. Anton, PhD, ABPP

Kurt F. Geisinger, PhD

Rodney L. Lowman, PhD

Jeffrey J. Magnavita, PhD, ABPP

Steven J. Reisner, PhD

 

The responses from the candidates follow:

 

 

Barry S. Anton, PhD, ABPP

 

What are your views regarding board certification in psychology?

 

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your questions.  As an ABPP in clinical child and adolescent psychology, I strongly support board certification. My commitment to specialty certification includes service on the ABPP Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (ABCCAP) board as treasurer. Participating in ten oral examinations over the last two years has been personally rewarding. Supporting the process of specialization is an important value, as is chairing the ABCCAP mentoring subcommittee that encourages psychologists to achieve specialty certification.

 

My commitment to specialization was solidified as a representative to the Commission on Education and Training Leading to Licensure in 2000 that was convened by APA President Norine Johnson. At that time, specialty certification discussions focused on two levels of competence. The Commission concluded: 1) Every psychologist should have broad "journey-person" graduate education and internship experience that prepares them for practice as a licensed psychologist. 2) Because the field of psychology is becoming increasingly complex with new information expanding exponentially, the public should know that practitioners who claim to have specialist skills actually have those skills. Earning the Diplomate designation from ABPP affirms to the public that the practitioner has the advanced skills they may be seeking. The Diplomate also demonstrates that psychologists aspire to the same high standards that specialty credentialing implies for medical and other health care professionals.

 

Another factor which is propelling psychology toward specialty certification is the "Competency Movement."  With the rollout of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (ACA), the movement toward specialty certification is in full swing. The ACA will require board certification for psychologists. Building on the recommendations of the Task Force on the Assessment of Competencies in Professional Psychology (2006), the Revised Competency Benchmarks for Professional Psychology (2011), and the Guidebook for Competency Benchmarks (2012), the August 2013 APA Council of Representatives adopted a resolution on accreditation for programs that prepare psychologists to provide health services. The council adopted three measures to strengthen psychology teaching and training across the continuum of psychology education. At the undergraduate level, council adopted revised guidelines for the psychology major, updating the 2006 guidelines. At the graduate level, the council adopted a resolution on accreditation for programs that prepare psychologists to provide health services.  The resolution gives unaccredited graduate programs five years to become accredited and seven years for internship programs to gain accreditation. As Education Directorate executive director Dr. Cynthia Belar, noted, “Accreditation is the process by which health professions ensure quality in education and training for students and the public,”  “This requirement puts psychology on the same plane as other health provider professions and adds to psychology’s credibility within the health-care marketplace.”

 

ABPP is the only organization that requires psychologists to demonstrate exceptional competence as assessed by colleagues and supports the goals outlined by Dr. Belar.

 

What are your views regarding specialization within psychology?

 

The Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) mandates that psychologists obtain specialization, just as most other health care providers do. For example, the American Medical Specialty Boards includes over 130 specialties. While psychology licensure in each state sets the minimum competency to diagnose and treat patients, it is not specialty specific. Many states have "Title" licensing laws that do not define the scope of practice or expertise of the psychologist. While board specialty certification is currently voluntary, both in medicine and psychology, certification sets the standard demonstrating the psychologist's exceptional expertise in a specialty. Board certification also signals to the public a board certified psychologist's expertise. Patients, healthcare providers, insurers and quality assurance organizations look for board certification as an additional measure of a psychologist’s knowledge, experience and skills to provide quality healthcare within a given specialty. 

 

If elected, how can APA and ABPP work together toward improving our field?

 

APA, the APAPO and ABPP can jointly promote the public good of board certification and provide collegial mentoring and a tool kit to assist colleagues toward specialty certification, not only to comply with the ACA, but also bringing psychology into the specialty and competency movement that other health care professions have long embraced.  

 

If elected, how can ABPP help with your presidential agenda? 

 

My proposed presidential initiative: An International Summit on Psychology and Integrated Care, will have a track on specialty training. Over the past decade, I have participated in five international conference symposia on the training of clinical child and adolescent psychologists. The summit will expand the conversation dramatically to include global representatives who educate and train mental health professionals in all specialty areas.  Developing international guidelines will enhance the delivery of mental health services.

 

          For more information, go to: www.barryanton.com


 

Kurt F. Geisinger, PhD

 

What are your views regarding board certification in psychology?

 

Much of my professional identity involves standards and testing: ways of making better decisions with the primary goal being protection of the public and the secondary goal being the acknowledgement of excellence within a specialty.  As such, the Buros Center for Testing accredits, reviews, researches, and consults with a variety of licensure and certification agencies, and I spent considerable time consulting with such licensing and certification organizations prior to becoming director of the Buros Center for Testing.  In short, I support this important mission.  It seems to me that this approach that I have supported throughout my career is highly consonant with those of the American Board of Professional Psychology, which applies this model to the specialization within psychology.  I have been, for example, a consultant to both physical therapists and nurses in terms of some of their specialty examinations.  My work has been to make them as valid as possible while also trying to diversify those successfully navigating the processes. 

 

I note further that I believe that board certification should include more than tested knowledge, but needs to focus upon expertise in practice as gained through a variety of relevant, successful experiences.  I understand that ABPP engages in exactly such a review of professional activities and experiences in an evaluative manner and I believe that this approach is entirely appropriate and consistent with best practice.  Early in my career, I worked closely with an ABPP in Industrial Psychology, Dr. Richard R. Reilly, Ph.D., ABPP, who supervised my work and offered to help me move forward with ABPP certification if that were a direction in which I planned to move. Shortly after that period of my career, I went into academic administration full time and hence decided not to pursue that certification.

 

What are your views regarding specialization within psychology?

 

I am not an ABPP, however, I am board certified by the American Board of Assessment Psychology (ABAP), which is the group closest to my own specialization.I do I hold diplomate status with ABAP and have served in the past as an examiner for that Board.I trust that there is not competition between these two groups; I see them as complementary and believe that such boards should support and respect each other.

 

I would not have gone through that process and would not continue to pay dues to their organization if I did not believe in both specialization as well as assessment of qualifications and expertise.I think that we must balance what is psychology for all psychologists (which is upon what my campaign/presidential theme of “One Psychology” is based) and specialization within psychology. There must be expertise—that is, where both research and practice advances emerge—as well as a core that unites us all as psychologists. Without that core, how do we all consider ourselves as psychologists?

 

There does need to be a formal process for the designation of specialization and APA has organized such a process through the Commission on the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSSP).

 

If elected, how can APA and ABPP work together toward improving our field?

 

We need standards for expertise in practice.APA’s Practice Organization and its Practice Directorate must work with other practice-oriented groups, of which the American Board of Professional Psychology is certainly the most prominent. That ABPP would participate in such discussions makes great sense. Furthermore, a major activity of the Practice Directorate in recent years is the development of guidelines for specific practice areas.ABPP could have a major role in such work, both helping to populate and perhaps even support the activities, as well as reviewing the draft documents formally prior to their being approved.

 

If elected, how can ABPP help with your presidential agenda?

 

There are a variety of ways; I have listed several below.

 

I plan to host a meeting and a working group on the topic of the core of psychology—what constitutes psychology for all psychologists.Diversity of perspectives is critical for such a discussion.Moreover, I think having specialists involved in that discussion is absolutely necessary.If everyone were a generalist; psychology would not advance.

 

Psychology also must be involved in the on-going discussions related to health care.  The vast majority of the ABPP specializations deal with health and mental health.  ABPP should have a role in these discussions, which place a heavy burden on the Practice Directorate and APAPO, more specifically.

 

Finally, I would look forward to hearing from you how ABPP believes it could help both APA and APAPO on one hand and my presidency on the other.

 


 

Rodney L. Lowman, PhD

 

No response received to date.

 


 

Jeffrey J. Magnavita, PhD, ABPP

 

What are your views regarding board certification in psychology?

 

I am board certified in both counseling and clinical psychology, and found the process of attaining these, the most comprehensive of my professional development. The American Board of Professional Psychology is not a vanity board, so those who have attained board certification realize the credibility and the distinction of this designation. Both certification processes for me were true learning experiences where I came away feeling challenged and validated. Board certification is essential to maintaining the credibility of professional psychology. A license to practice psychology represents the minimal standards necessary to provide quality behavioral and mental health care, as well as expertise in organizational development. As in medicine, board certification represents an advanced skill set and knowledge base, as well as high ethical standards for practice.  The general public, health care organizations, other health care professionals, and policy makers need an accepted standard to devote advanced practitioners and board certification serves this function.

 

What are your views regarding specialization within psychology?

 

While licensed psychologists are generally qualified to practice in a variety of settings and treat a spectrum of disorders, specialization denotes the acquisition of specialized skills and areas of competence. The attainment of advanced training and specialization provides a credible way for consumers and health organizations to make important decisions about health care choices. While it is important that areas of specialization do not become overly expansive, a deliberative process allows distinctive areas in psychology to be recognized, so those who have attained these highly specialized skills can be readily identified. We must always be cognizant of the fact that overspecialization can be a danger to holistic care.

 

If elected, how can APA and ABPP work together toward improving our field?

 

It is critical that APA and ABPP continue to work collaboratively on advancing psychology and assuring the highest standards of excellence in professional psychology. I believe APA should encourage members to pursue board certification as a worthy endeavor that distinguishes one’s professional competency above and beyond the attainment of a license to practice.

 

If elected, how can ABPP help with your presidential agenda?

 

ABPP can help by promoting forums for creative solutions to the challenge of providing mental and behavioral health care to individuals, organizations, and society. The creation of psych-incubators where members with creative solutions can meet with those who are interested in developing new applications and products might be co-sponsored and supported. New trends and innovations in psychology that provide solutions to problems of our times and address the mental health needs of our society can be featured. A strong partnership between APA and ABPP psychology will assure a strong future for professional psychology.

 


 

Steven J. Reisner, PhD

 

No response received to date.

 



 

 
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