and practice as a priority of her APA
presidency. This important need is
perhaps most evident in developing
nations, where much of the work being
done is informed by research from
developed Western nations. Perhaps
social justice in this context is not rushing
to provide ill-informed or even harmful
services, but instead emphasizing the
need for new research that ensures that
our practice reflects and builds upon the
unique cultural landscapes of the places
where we are working.
BRANDON A. KNETTEL
Doctoral candidate in counseling
psychology, Lehigh University
The plethora of certification
The February article “Is it time to spe-
cialize?” advocates specialty certification
for psychologists, citing its “many ben-
efits,” including “more and better career
opportunities,” “greater job security” and
“raises the integrity of the field.”
There already exists, however, a sine
qua non for the practice of professional
psychology that denotes, as well as
connotes, all of the benefits cited above.
It is called a psychologist license, and
it is issued by the state or states in
which one practices to verify one’s
training, experience and expertise in the
professional practice of psychology and
The state licensing boards have
worked hard to establish national
standards for licensing, and many states
have established reciprocity. Specialty
boards, on the other hand, have no formal
oversight by a governmental agency.
Most of them are self-appointed “boards”
whose intent is to a) monopolize a niche
of practice and b) create revenue for those
“governing” the board.
The real impact of specialty boards
has, in the opinion of many, been the
opposite of what the February article
suggests. Rather than enhancing
professional psychology’s image, the
growing number of specialty board
certifications has diluted the integrity
of the state psychologist license, lending
the appearance that state licensure is an
inadequate or irrelevant qualification.
A wiser strategy for our profession to
pursue is to establish national standards
for licensure, emphasizing to the public
(and ourselves) that state licensure is the
relevant qualification for establishing
the necessary and appropriate training,
experience and expertise for the general
practice of psychotherapy.
CHARLES M. LEPKOWSKY, PHD
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