EO’s Message

The Executive Officer recommends and participates in the formulation of new policies and makes decisions under existing policies as they have been approved by the Board of Trustees. Plans, organizes, directs and coordinates the staff, programs and activities authorized by the Board to assure that objectives are attained, plans fulfilled, and member needs are met. Maintains effective internal and external relationships. Through management and leadership, achieves economical, productive performance, forward looking programming and constructive growth of the organization.

David R. Cox, PhD, ABPP

Executive Officer Update

BOT Meeting June 2022

Information Technology

First, I want to comment on what a nice job is being done with the new technology system that is being built for us by Cerebral Consulting and Dr. Rob Davis, with fantastic assistance from Diane Butcher in the ABPP Central Office. The CO staff have pitched in, and we are very optimistic about the future of this! That said, it becomes clear on a nearly daily basis that there is much room for additional use of technology. The combination of our present needs, continuing requests for “tweaks”, and other items can easily make the case for full-time tech support. This can be achieved through a variety of means, which we are exploring and will discuss in some detail at the BOT meeting.

New Specialties & Subspecialties

We are excited to have the two new specialty boards, Serious Mental Illness Psychology, and Addiction Psychology, starting the process of implementing exams of their founding members. The process of having the founders of each specialty board submit credentials in advance of their examinations has begun. Congratulations to each board! I anticipate that we will be seeing an application for affiliation of Trauma Psychology sometime in the not too distant future.

We continue to need to discuss how ABPP wishes to handle the issue of subspecialties. The APA Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Subspecialties in Professional Psychology (CRSSPP) has begun recognition of subspecialties; Psychoanalysis is the first such subspecialty recognized by CRSSPP in conjunction with the broadening of the former Psychoanalysis specialty into Psychodynamic Psychology. We will be discussing this change at the BOT meeting and it highlights the need for us to consider subspecialty as it relates to CRSSPP recognition. The CRSSPP and ABPP definitions of subspecialty are extremely similar. The CRSSPP definition may be found here: https://www.apa.org/about/policy/subspecialty-principles.pdf

We have adopted a stance that we will accept specialties that are recognized by CRSSPP and focus on said specialty’s viability as an ABPP examining board. I propose that we do the same with subspecialty; there are nuances to discuss, yet I think it is reasonable to set a similar bar for subspecialties as we do with specialties.

International Project on Competences in Psychology Update

In July, the International Project on Competences in Psychology (IPCP) was scheduled to meet July in Slovenia. I had been asked to participate in that working meeting, as ABPP has been a party to this project since about 2013. Unfortunately, the organizers of the IPCP recently communicated that the meeting is being cancelled (as it was in 2020) due to concerns about covid and the war in Ukraine and what impact they may have on the meeting. Hopefully, we can find a time to reschedule this working group.

Competence in the Doctoral and Master’s Realms

The profession is busy these days talking about competencies at the doctoral level as well as master’s level. As APA moves toward accrediting master’s degree programs, this has created quite a stir, with a variety of opinions about the matter. Accreditation of master’s degree programs will no doubt lead to needing to deal with licensing, scope of practice, and other matters. This has been a significant discussion within APA, and I have been serving as a liaison to a working group with the APA Board of Professional Affairs (BPA). The matter has also been raised recently at the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) meeting, which I recently attended. There are strong, and disparate, feelings about what the future holds and how to proceed. At the ASPPB meeting, some discussion was held about licensing and competency and the differences that might exist between those trained at the master’s level versus doctoral level. It included a discussion of licensing boards evaluating competence through oral examination and other means. I took the opportunity to remind the audience that the EPPP and other credentials reviewed for licensing do not really evaluate competence and that since 1947, ABPP has done that through our specialty examinations. Granted, this is an evaluation at the specialty level, but it does provide a model for evaluation of competence that could be used in other ways.

I want ABPP to be proactive in thinking about if and how this movement regarding master’s level competencies may affect us. Therefore, have asked our executive committee to start thinking and discussing how that area may or may not affect ABPP. The BOT as a whole will need to begin thinking about this, as there is no doubt in my mind that at some point what we do at the doctoral and specialty level will be initiated, by ABPP or others, at the Master’s level. As those discussions proceed, we will bring you more information.

Viability & Sustainability

Included in the BOT Agenda Book will be the materials that we have previously seen regarding viability and sustainability of specialty boards. I am proposing that we proceed with the use of the material not as a means of “evaluating” specialty boards, but rather as a means of evaluating the tool. I hope that each specialty board will engage in the use of the forms over the coming year or so and provide feedback to the BOT as to whether looking at these metrics is helpful. That will inform us as to whether using them is a worthwhile endeavor. We will discuss this at the BOT meeting, so please give it some advance thought.

Exam/Meeting Release Form

The final item I will raise, which we will discuss at the BOT meeting, is the previously circulated for regarding exam/meeting release form. The form itself was adapted from one used by APA and a similar one has been used by ASPPB and other organizations. There were strong feelings expressed by some in our email exchanges, and we have tabled this until the BOT meeting. Please give this item some advance thought in preparation for our discussion.

In Conclusion

I want to commend our Central Office staff (Nancy McDonald, Lanette Melville, Diane Butcher, and Kathy Holland) on the continued outstanding work and customer service that they provide to ABPP. I also want to comment on the Executive Committee’s effective and thorough work under the leadership of Dr. Brenda Spiegler. Working for ABPP is a joy due to these people!

Respectfully submitted,

David R. Cox, PhD, ABPP
Executive Officer