Cognitive & Behavioral Psychology

Sarah S. Shia, PhD, ABPP

Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology

 

Q. What is your practice like?

I work at the St. Louis VA Medical Center as a half-time clinician in the Mental Health Clinic, and half-time as the Local Evidence Based Psychotherapy Coordinator for our facility. The later position places me in a training and consultation role.  In my clinical work, I do individual and group therapy, predominantly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

 

Q. What is the most interesting / challenging / fulfilling aspect of your work as a psychologist?

I work with veterans who have multiple trauma histories including childhood abuses, sexual assaults, and/or military or combat related traumatic experiences. These cases are challenging, interesting, and rewarding when the outcomes include therapeutic and functional improvements.    

 

Q. What motivated you to seek board certification in Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology?

It made sense in my coordinator role to have a specialty certification, to support credibility and professional capital.  Also, the VA system provides a step increase in salary to psychology staff members who have ABPP certification.   

 

Q. Now that you are board certified, looking back, what was your greatest misconception about the process?
I had wondered if the review and critique of my psychotherapy sessions would be more harsh, given the importance of fidelity in a CBT approach. This was not the case as the panel interview was very collegial and enjoyable.   


Q. What did you learn about yourself and your practice during the board certification process?

I remembered, given that it has been awhile since my work was examined in this way, that my therapy approach and fidelity to an evidence based model should be as consistent as though I were being taped every session for ABPP certification.  I reinforced for myself the idea that truly adopting a practice of EBP requires daily/hourly commitment and determination, and that just having an ability to do these treatments doesn’t necessarily translate into the consistent application and practice that is essential for true proficiency. 

 

Q. What advice would you give to a candidate for board certification in Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology?

Start by simultaneously completing the initial paperwork, brushing up on technique, thinking about possible cases to present, and practice by doing these treatments consistently, if you’re not already doing so.   

 


Stephen Terracciano, PhD, ABPP

Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology

Q. What is your practice like?
Currently, I maintain a full time clinical practice, providing individual, couples, and group psychotherapies for adults throughout the life span.  I enjoy teaching emotion and behavior regulation skills to those affected by the spectrum of mood and anxiety disorders.  Some special conditions and communities served include Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for the prevention of depressive recurrence, and service to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community.

Q. What is the most interesting / challenging / fulfilling aspect of your work as a psychologist?
The most fulfilling aspect of my work as a psychologist is helping individuals overcome the habits that constrain their lives, and helping them develop new habits and ways of relating to their emotions so that they can tap into the best that life has to offer.  It is quite satisfying to witness and support another human being’s shift from suffering, toward ease and wellness.  Even more so, is helping people shift into a thriving state, where self-imposed limits of experience are lifted, and an expanded range of self-expression and fuller engagement with life becomes possible.  The most interesting part of my work is discovering, in partnership with clients, how to make these changes possible for each person.  Clients often require that I adapt and change, if I am ever to be of service to their unique needs and style of engagement.  The personal and professional growth that this work calls me into is one of the most challenging, yet growth-enhancing aspects of my work.

Q. What motivated you to seek board certification in Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology?
My motivation to seek board certification was multi-faceted.  As a psychologist trained in the scientist-practitioner model, I am committed to achieving excellence in my scope of practice.  Attaining the credentials that demonstrate my qualifications in the cognitive and behavioral psychology specialty area to the community became increasingly important.  Often, individuals seek out and inquire whether I am a qualified cognitive and behavioral psychologist.  Informing others about my doctoral training in a CBT-oriented Clinical & School Psychology program with a general New York State psychologist license has fallen short of accurately conveying my specialty experience.  I identify as a cognitive and behavioral psychologist and I decided to attain that recognition from the most distinguished and well-respected specialty credentialing organization within the profession of psychology, the ABPP.
 
Q. Now that you are board certified, looking back, what was your greatest misconception about the process?
My only misconception was self-induced.  I thought the process would require in depth studying, something akin to a “CBT PSYCH GRE.”  Perhaps I created this story because I initiated the process several years after completing my doctoral training.  However, after attending the “Preparing for Board Certification” meeting at the ABCT conference, my self-created myth disappeared.  The ABPP board members outlined the process clearly, and I realized I already possessed the specialized knowledge and clinical skills required for certification.  In addition, the ABPP board and committee members were quite supportive throughout the process. There were no surprises. From credentials review, to practice sample, to oral exam, each phase followed exactly as described.  The collegial environment and supportive involvement of others alleviated my concerns and made the process more enjoyable.
 
Q. What did you learn about yourself and your practice during the board certification process?
The board certification process helped me to solidify my professional identity as a Cognitive and Behavioral Psychologist.  It created a point of departure from the very cerebral and private process of understanding the kind of work I engage on a daily basis and, instead, to articulate it in writing and verbally in an interpersonal exchange.  This process fostered clarity about where I’ve come in my development as a specialist in cognitive and behavioral psychology, and also identified current needs and emerging opportunities to continue my growth in the profession.
 
Q. What advice would you give to a candidate for board certification in Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology?
Take one step at a time.  Each phase requires a different type of effort, and successive phases build upon previous ones.  Forge connections with ABPP members and the oral exam committee.  They do want to help and will answer any questions that you might have.   

Stephen Terracciano, PhD - Board Certified in Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology
steveterracciano@gmail.com

 

 

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