Thoughts on Board Certification by Omar Gudiño, Ph.D., ABPP
What was the primary reason that you decided to pursue board certification in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology?
My training and professional experiences have focused exclusively on clinical child and adolescent psychology and I am now responsible for training future child psychologists. I sought board certification as a way to demonstrate my training, commitment to, and competence in the specialty and to highlight the central role that clinical practice plays across my professional activities.
What did the certification process teach you about yourself and your practice?
The certification process provided multiple opportunities to reflect on my clinical practice and to evaluate how well my practice aligns with my aspirations. For example, I see issues of diversity and evidence-based practice with underserved populations as central to my identity as a researcher. However, delivering evidence-based and culturally-competent care are also important goals for my clinical practice. The certification process allowed me to examine how my research and clinical practice complement one another and required that I articulate exactly how I deliver evidence-based and culturally-competent care. Similar to reviewing video of my work early in my clinical training, engaging in this level of self-reflection and evaluation at this point in my career helped me identify ways to enhance my clinical practice while fostering my professional identity.
What have you found most valuable or rewarding about board certification?
It has only been a few months since I completed the certification process, but having this credential has allowed me to easily communicate my competence in the specialty to others. This has been particularly useful for training and consulting activities and when establishing clinical-research collaborations. The ABPP credential clearly conveys my commitment to quality clinical practice with children and adolescents.
What was the most challenging/interesting/surprising aspect of the board certification process?
Distilling years of training and experience into a cohesive representation of who I am as a psychologist was both the most challenging and the most useful part of the certification process. Proceeding through the various stages of the certification process truly helped me develop a more integrated professional identity. Although I expected that the oral examination would be the most daunting aspect of the process, I found it to be a surprisingly enjoyable. It provided a wonderful opportunity to discuss my approach to child and adolescent psychology with knowledgeable colleagues.
What advice would you give to a candidate for board certification in clinical child and adolescent psychology?
My advice is to start the process early and to focus on one stage of the process at a time. I took advantage of the ABPP early entry program and this provided an excellent opportunity to demonstrate my commitment to clinical child and adolescent psychology early in my career. Although the certification process can take some time, focusing on the next stage of the process helped maintain my motivation and ensured that I completed the process in a timely manner. I would also remind candidates that the process is designed to demonstrate competence in the specialty. While one may be tempted to wait until one can present the “perfect” clinical practice sample, it is probably more useful to present a typical example, to be able to reflect on strengths and areas for improvement, and to understand who you are as a professional.