In his recent review of Specialty Competencies in Clinical Psychology, Ron Rozensky notes APA's role in helping define specialities in psychology, and he describes the responsibilities of the APA Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSPPP) and the Council of Specialties in Professional Psychology (CoS), a joint venture between APA and the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). The CoS defines a specialty as follows:
A specialty is a defined area of professional psychology practice characterized by a distinctive configuration of competent services for specified problems and populations. Practice in a specialty requires advanced knowledge and skills acquired through an organized sequence of education and training in addition to the broad and general education and core scientific and professional foundations acquired through an APA or CPA accredited doctoral program.Oxford University Press has published another book in the same series titled Specialty Competencies in Counseling Psychology (Fuertes, Spokane, & Holloway, 2013). In reviewing both books, it becomes apparent that there is tremendous overlap between the work of clinical and counseling psychologists.
Are clinical and counseling psychology each truly "distinctive"? Don't the "advanced knowledge and skills acquired" overlap tremendously, as well as the "problems and populations" with which each group works? Aren't the education and training of clinical and counseling psychologists quite similar? Do patients really care about these somewhat arcane differences, or are they only important to academicians and department chairs?
Is it time for APA's Division 12 (Clinical) and Division 17 (Counseling) to consider merging?
By Ronald H. Rozensky
PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(47)