Interview with Specialist

Yo Jackson, PhD, ABPP

Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology

Q. What did you learn about yourself and your practice while doing board certification?
A.  I found the process of board certification to be very interesting and rewarding. The process of preparing for the exam required that I think critically about how I approach clinical work. It is not often that with busy schedules that one gets to really reflect on how one thinks about cases and it was a joy to have a reason to really analyze my approach, conceptualization, treatment techniques, and outcomes. Moreover, getting a chance to watch myself on tape helped me observe my treatment and assessment style in a somewhat detached way so that I could better see the interaction between me and my client and learn more about the therapeutic process. The process really reminded me of how important it is to take time to step back and really examine all of the factors impacting clients and helped me to see just how important it is to try and see the whole person and the variety of systems in a child’s life that influence presenting problems.

Q. What have you found most valuable or rewarding about board certification (e.g., salary increase, referrals, colleagues, increased self esteem, learning, something else)?
A. Since I became board certified, I find that my consulting work has really grown. Experts in other fields are quickly appreciating the certification process for psychologists as many other disciplines have had a similar process for their experts for some time and recognize what it means to have this qualification. I find that having the certification makes it easier to communicate to other professionals what skills I bring to the table.

Q. What was the most challenging/interesting/surprising aspect of the board certification process?
A.  I think what was most surprising about the process was the in-person exam. I was expecting it to be challenging and it was, but in a good way. The examiners were friendly and well-prepared and they really challenged me to explain my treatment approach. I really enjoyed the challenge as it made me really have to think through all possible pros and cons of what I do as a professional and critically evaluate my work. It reminded me how important it is to be thorough with every client. The exam was actually quite collegial and gave me a chance to really test my thinking about clinical work.

Q. What advice would you give to a candidate for board certification in clinical child and adolescent psychology?
A. I think the best advice is to be prepared. The examiners take the exam process very seriously and have really taken the time to know the information you provide about your clients. Make sure you allow yourself sufficient time to gather your materials and try to think about why you did what you did from as many different perspectives as possible. Be able to defend your work knowing that no clinician is perfect and that there is always something you can learn or do better for the next client.