Welcome Letter from the Specialty Board President

Greetings! Thank you for your interest in the American Board of Serious Mental Illness Psychology (ABSMIP). It is my honor to serve as the first President for ABSMIP. We are one of the newest ABPP boards and are in the process of formal affiliation with ABPP. We have certified our founding members and are now able to accept applications from the field. We are excited to bring this specialty forward and allow Psychologists with experience working with persons with SMI/SED (Serious Mental Illness/Severe Emotional Disturbances) the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise.

The primary objective of ABSMIP is to establish and maintain a board certification process that recognizes, certifies, and promotes specialty-level standing in the practice of SMI Psychology. Specialty-level standing is conceptualized as higher than the basic level of competence certified by jurisdictional licensure, but within the reach of most practitioners of SMI Psychology, contingent on specialized education, training, and practice. Specialty services include a focus on Mental Health Recovery, Psychosocial Rehabilitation and other practices for persons with SMI/SED. The examination process is intended to be a collegial one. We strive to be supportive and create a favorable situation to facilitate the ability of a Psychologist in SMI/SED to demonstrate their specialized clinical competencies.

I’d like to emphasize the benefits of becoming board certified specifically in SMI/SED, which include lessening the stigma/discrimination of persons with SMI and increasing access to quality treatment for an underserved but increasingly recognized population. As Psychologists become board certified in SMI Psychology, this will expand other practitioners’ awareness of the field while offering a greater number of services to the community. This can also lead to increased funding and access to services for persons with SMI/SED. And it allows you the opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to competency in SMI Psychology, to be a role model for others. Please see the website for more information about the Specialty Council for Serious Mental Illness (SMI) Psychology (www.psychtrainingsmi.com), promoting Mental Health Recovery/Psychosocial Rehabilitation, and many helpful resources related to SMI/SED.

If you are a licensed SMI Psychologist working as a clinician, advocate, academician, trainer, instructor, supervisor, or administrator, please consider board certification in SMI Psychology. If you are an early career psychologist (ECP) still working on licensure, we encourage you to start the ECP application process now. If you are a graduate student or doctoral intern, you can begin the early entry application process at a reduced rate, and submit your documentation once you complete your training. We would be so grateful for you to contribute to the field of SMI Psychology to help us meet our goal to become fully affiliated with ABPP and turn ABSMIP into the vibrant and productive board that we know it can be. Please review the Applicant Manual in our document library for details about the overall process and specific requirements. Also, we aim to be as inclusive as possible, thus we encourage applications from qualified applicants of all races, ethnicities, languages, sexual orientations, genders, ages, disabilities, SES, religion/spiritual orientations, and other cultural dimensions.

And maybe you’d be willing to go even farther. Think about getting involved in the board after becoming certified. We will be looking for members to participate in various ways, including promoting the board, connecting with early career psychologists, and assuring that we are optimizing diversity in our membership, examination processes and business practices. Contact me or any of the other current board members if you are interested. All of our information is included in the Board Officers page.

I appreciate your interest in the specialty of SMI Psychology. Please contact me directly if I can be of service to you. I can be reached at bridget.hegeman@va.gov.

Bridget Hegeman, PhD, LP
Clinical Psychologist
Minneapolis VA Health Care System