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Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs
available for terminal master’s programs.) The doctoral accreditation standards require that students be “exposed to the current body of knowledge in … biological aspects of behavior …” (APA, 2005:12). However, there is no additional detail regarding this standard. Pre- and postdoctoral standards contain no reference to this domain of knowledge.
Licensure The Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) was developed and is updated by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). This standardized exam is used by every jurisdiction in the United States and Canada except Puerto Rico and portions of Quebec. Many jurisdictions complement the EPPP with written and oral exams that assess clinical competence and knowledge of local mental health law. Licensing is generic for the practice of psychology and does not distinguish among clinical, counseling, and health psychologists. Only one state offers a license to practice in a specialty area of the discipline.
ASPPB conducts a practice analysis every 6–10 years, including a survey of practicing psychologists, in order to update the exam. From the ASPPB’s perspective, the objective of the national exam and the licensing process is to ensure a minimum level of competence and public safety. The objective is not to change or advance the field.20
Each EPPP comprises 225 multiple-choice questions (ASPPB, 2006), 11 percent of which focus on the content area “biological bases of behavior.” Issues related to the impact of disability constitute just 1 of 26 areas covered under the content area “social and multicultural bases of behavior” (12 percent of the exam). Numerous other content areas have some potential relevance: “cognitive-affective bases of behavior” (13 percent); “growth and lifespan development” (13 percent); “assessment and diagnosis” (14 percent); and “treatment, intervention, and prevention” (15 percent). While a significant portion of the exam focuses on the biological bases of behavior, experts in health psychology view this content as a necessary but largely insufficient knowledge base on the biopsychosocial interrelationships that must be understood in order to practice in a medically related specialty.
Certification The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) certifies psychologists in 13 specialty areas, including clinical health psychology, clinical neuropsychology, and rehabilitation psychology. Board certification is not a requirement for practice in any jurisdiction or service organization, and it has not been pursued by the vast majority of psycholo-
Personal communication, Stephen DeMers, EdD, Executive Director, Associations of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, October 5, 2006.