SMI psychologists apply specialized individual, societal, and systems level assessment and intervention methods to assist those diagnosed with SMI and severe emotional disturbance (SED) recover and attain their full functional capability. Throughout your Curriculum Vita, Application and Practice Sample materials, it is essential that you specify what about your professional career makes you an SMI Psychologist. This can be the result of your education, training and/or work history.

Many psychologists think that they must have completed a post-doctoral fellowship in SMI/SED Psychology or possess many years of experience to qualify to sit for the exam.  However, it is only necessary to have had relevant supervised experience and training. Furthermore, many psychologists may qualify because of their professional activities, work experience, and scholarly activities over the years, so they may have acquired the necessary knowledge and skill by “on the job training.”

In addition to benefits identified by ABPP more generally (see Certification Benefits under Applicant Information tab on the main page of the ABPP website), the benefits of becoming board certified specifically in SMI/SED include:

  • Lessens the stigma/discrimination of persons with SMI as more practitioners are exposed to this type of work and more services are available in the community
  • Increases access to quality treatment for an underserved but increasingly recognized population in need
  • May lead to increased funding and services for those with SMI/SED
  • Be an SMI Psychology role model for junior colleagues and trainees
  • Demonstration of commitment to competency in SMI Psychology
  • Board certification provides an opportunity to support and participate in the advancement of the specialty practice of SMI Psychology at the local, state, and national levels.
Read through the entire ABSMIP Applicant Manual carefully. All of the requirements are described in detail.

Yes. The examinee will receive 40 CE credits for passing the certification process, 3 of which are in ethics specifically. NOTE: Although offered through ABPP which is an APA-approved provider of CE credits, there is no guarantee that a particular oversight organization will accept these credits.

The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), of which the American Board of SMI Psychology (ABSMIP) is a provisionally-affiliated member board, has more than 60 years of certifying practitioners via a competency-based assessment.  Many other boards are not competency-based and none has ABPP’s long history of fostering excellence. Some other boards are multidisciplinary in nature and not necessarily psychology-based.

No, there are no requirements to be a member of any particular professional organization.

No, but a substantial portion of your practice should be related to the specialty of SMI Psychology.

Clinical training is evaluated across graduate, internship, and postdoctoral settings. There is no requirement that one’s internship or fellowship be specifically or exclusively focused on SMI Psychology. You will, however, need to demonstrate eligibility with other work or training experiences.

Yes, you may apply, as long as you are currently licensed to practice psychology.  All candidates must demonstrate competencies in clinical skills relevant to SMI Psychology in the written Practice Sample and Oral Examination. These are described in detail in the Applicant Manual.

ABSMIP has developed a mentorship program to help candidates gain valuable guidance from ABSMIP-certified professionals. If requested, ABSMIP candidates will be assigned a mentor based on clinical interests, professional practice and mentor availability.  Mentors have a contemporary working knowledge of the credentialing process.  On occasion, a candidate may request a particular mentor; however, assignment cannot always be guaranteed. Once the individual has been successfully admitted to candidacy, they are considered in the ABPP “pipeline.”  It is at this point, that the candidate can be assigned a formal mentor.  Mentorship is strongly recommended, but not required.  Please contact our current Mentor Coordinator (listed in Board Officers) section of the website if you want to be assigned a mentor or have any questions about this process.

With the Regular option, the Practice Sample consists of a Professional Practice Statement and a Work Sample where two videos are required along with an accompanying narrative for each of the videos. With the Senior option, the Practice Sample consists of an Identity section and an Evidence Section where candidates submit materials showing how they have made meaningful contributions to SMI Psychology through their own professional practice. A full description of the Senior and Regular Practice Sample requirements can be found in the current Applicant Manual. 

No – the operative metric at ABPP is for an individual to show an “adequate” level of competence. Indeed, for Practice Samples, it is perfectly legitimate to critique your performance and show how you might do things differently with the benefit of hindsight.

For the areas where the manual indicates videos are required, they are in fact a requirement. No alternative has been identified to replace the videos.

No. The video work sample must be a true encounter where the therapeutic/professional relationship is observable.

Yes, the signed release to record the session is required for ethical reasons. Consistent with guidance provided in the Applicant Manual, it should not be mailed as a component of the work sample submission and instead kept by the Candidate. However, obtaining the release and documenting the informed consent are requirements of the video submission.

The Examiners’ ability to directly observe a Candidate’s clinical encounter with a client has been deemed an essential component of the Regular Option exam process. Exceptions or waivers to this requirement are not granted. 

No, there is no requirement that formal psychological testing be used in the assessment work sample. We recognize that not all SMI Psychologists complete formal testing, thus other options are acceptable (see current Applicant Manual for examples).

With the Regular Option, the video work samples should have been conducted not longer than two years prior to submission. There is no time limit for the requirements related to professional activities in the Senior Option Practice Sample.

The oral examination for both options focuses on the required Foundational and Functional competencies, as well as any Optional Functional competency areas in which the individual is currently working. This is the same process for all Oral Examinations.

No, to be eligible for the Senior candidate option, you must have at least 15 years of professional practice licensed at the doctoral level.

The candidate should know their submitted materials very well regarding the foundational and functional competencies they will be tested on. They should also know background for their current professional activities as relates to each of the competencies. The one portion of the exam that candidates should spend time “studying” would be the ethics portion, to assure strong knowledge of the APA (or CPA) ethical principles and standards, and how they might relate to the ethical vignette(s) that will be presented regarding their work in the field of SMI Psychology. Candidates should also be familiar with their State Psychology Licensing Board rules and regulations.

No, there is no required reading list. You will be examined for competency in the SMI/SED work that you actually do. However, we do provide a list of many helpful resources on the website of the Specialty Council for Serious Mental Illness (SMI) Psychology  (www.psychtrainingsmi.com)

Oral exams may take place at the APA annual convention and will also be scheduled individually via video platform (Zoom or similar).