Robert J. Cipriano Jr, PsyD, ABPP
Police and Public Safety Psychology
Dr. Cipriano has been a licensed psychologist in Florida for 14 years and is Board Certified in Police and Public Safety Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). He attended Florida State University as an undergraduate and the APA accredited Psy.D. program at Carlos Albizu University for his graduate studies, specializing in clinical psychology with a tract in forensic psychology. He completed his APA doctoral internship in clinical psychology through a consortium at Central Louisiana State Hospital and Pinecrest Developmental Center in Pineville, Louisiana. His areas of interest are trauma and resiliency, threat assessment and management, and operational psychology.
Q. What motivated you to seek board certification? My rationale for seeking board certification was to challenge myself as a service provider within the specialized field of police and public safety psychology. A significant goal of mine is to reduce the level of stigma among police officers and other first responders when personal and professional problems arise. Attaining board certification demonstrates credibility, competence, and proficiency as a provider of psychological services to police and public safety, which I believe will aid that process.
Q. What did you learn about yourself and your practice while doing board certification? I learned that I was still capable of commitment to an important professional goal, a crucial element to this attainment. I also improved the depth and breadth of my psychology practice overall, enhanced my professional relationship with esteemed colleagues, reassessed and revitalized my future goals as a mid-level career psychologist, and renewed my interest in a specialty practice in which I have invested valuable time and resources.
Q. What advice would you give to a candidate for board certification in Police and Public Safety Psychology? Persevere with the board certification process because it builds your knowledge, competence, proficiency, and perhaps most of all cultivates an enhanced sense of self within one’s profession and specialization.
Q. What have you found most valuable or rewarding about board certification? Attaining board certification strengthened my sense of accomplishment that aided me in accepting new challenges within the specialty practice. For example, I have noticed improvement in resiliency skill development, heightened flexibility, enriched meaningfulness of my work, and augmented self-efficacy, all of which have been extremely rewarding.
Monica J. Pilarc, PhD, ABPP
Board Certified in Police and Public Safety Psychology
Dr. Pilarc attained licensure in 1998 after completing an APA-accredited doctoral program from Texas Woman’s University and an APA-accredited internship through the New York State hospital system. She started her assessment work in forensics and soon after was asked to develop trainings in police stress/suicide and suicide-by-cop for a local criminal justice academy. She’s spent time on both sides of the psychological examination process. As part of her relocation to Seattle to work in corrections, she successfully underwent a mandatory pre-employment polygraph and psychological examination. She later accepted a position working with a local police psychologist. For the past 14 years, she’s committed her practice to police and public safety psychology, with an emphasis on assessment and short-term treatment interventions for a variety of public-safety positions and personnel.
Q. What motivated you to seek board certification? Board certification represents proficiency. Given the emphasis on integrity within the public safety professions, I figured I should exemplify the same virtue and pursue board certification as an expression of due diligence to the agencies I serve, and as an expression of my commitment to the profession. Board certification is increasingly recognized as representing confirmation of competence of those in our line of work. I also want to inform public safety agencies that we do indeed embody the highest professional standards in order to foster trust, professionalism, and collegiality among those we serve.
Q. What did you learn about yourself and your practice while pursuing board certification? I learned that I had a good foundation clinically but that a number of my professional practices were out of date, including consent forms, interview format, and report format. The process has been very humbling but also empowering. I developed a stronger connection to my work, both personally and professionally, as a result of seeking board certification.
Q. What advice would you give to a candidate for board certification in Police and Public Safety Psychology? Know your stuff, and be prepared to learn more. Our field is dynamic in that we respond to changing regulations and case law, and states have differing expectations regarding the work that we do. Know your state’s expectations, and be aware of, and maybe adapt to, standards that involve a higher degree of professionalism. And definitely attend conferences relevant to our unique line of work in order to stay current with emerging practices. Police and public safety psychologists assume a huge level of responsibility and are frequently expected to advise departments and agencies we serve, so we need to be proficient, or at least conversant, in broad areas of the specialty. Be patient but committed.
Q. What have you found most valuable or rewarding about board certification? I’m an out-of-house psychologist, and several agencies that I serve have asked if I’m board certified. Board certification has increasingly become a desired standard. But I didn’t expect the sense of personal and professional pride that I experience upon being asked if I’m board certified. My practice is much tighter and in line with professional and legal expectations. And I feel more connected to those of us who are committed to this line of work.