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ABPP Certification in Rehabilitation Psychology. www.abrp.org. In addition to these slides candidates are strongly encouraged to visit the ABRP website and review

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ABPP Certification in Rehabilitation Psychology

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In addition to these slides candidates are strongly encouraged to visit the ABRP website and review

American Board of Professional Psychology, American Board of Rehabilitation Psychology Certification Guidelines and Procedures: Candidate’s Manual (2012)

And “Examples of Successful Practice Samples”

To access them go to:


Under RELATED DOCUMENTS (right side of the page) click on: ABRP Candidates Manual

Under REHABILITATION PSYCHOLOGY (bottom left side of the page) click on: Examples of Successful Practice Samples


Advanced TrackPart I:Communicating with ABPP/ABRPSelecting/Writing Practice SamplesEllen Snoxell, Ph.D., ABPP (RP)Gillette Children’s Specialty Health CareSt. Paul, MinnesotaMary R Hibbard Ph D ABPP (RP)New York University Langone Medical CenterNew York, New York

  • Identify process for submitting written practice samples
  • Identify the elements of a strong work sample
  • Know how to choose appropriate cases for their work samples
  • This workshop is for informational purposes
  • Requirements are likely to change over time
  • Written policies, procedures, and bylaws of ABPP and ABRP take precedence

Communicating with ABPP

Diane Butcher (diane@abpp.org)

Nancy McDonald (nmcdonald@abpp.org)



Communicating with ABRP

Ellen Snoxell, Ph.D., ABPP (RP)

Secretary, American Board of Rehabilitation Psychology



selection of practice sample
Selection of Practice Sample
  • Applicant has one year from time of credentials approval to submit the practice sample
  • Both portions of the sample must demonstrate breadth and competence in the specialty of Rehabilitation Psychology
selection of practice sample1
Selection of Practice Sample
  • At least one portion of sample must be clinically focused
  • The sample should reflect one’s usual practice of Rehabilitation Psychology (meaning: try not to select anything too esoteric, unusual, or obviously controversial)
selection of practice sample2
Selection of Practice Sample
  • Select complementary cases
  • Both cases can demonstrate competencies in assessment and treatment competencies/consultation, or
  • One case may emphasize assessment, while the other emphasizes intervention and consultation
  • When combined, the practice sample demonstrates advanced knowledge and practice in Rehabilitation Psychology
selection of practice sample3
Selection of Practice Sample

Please utilize your mentor when (before) selecting and preparing your practice sample!

Posting of successful Practice Samples are posted on the ABRP Website

  • Research and teaching examples address mostly non-required competencies and should only be utilized in conjunction with a well-rounded and comprehensive clinical case
  • All candidates must submit at least one clinical write-up that covers many competencies in assessment, intervention and consultation
practice sample general goals
Practice Sample: General Goals
  • Reveal candidate’s conceptualization
  • Demonstrate application of Rehabilitation Psychology principles to the questions and decisions involved in the case
  • Citation of contemporary research
  • For clinical case: integrate medical, psychosocial, theoretical, and research information into candidate’s conceptualization and actions
practice sample logistics
Practice Sample: Logistics
  • Be clear about what you did vs. what another professional did
  • Use active voice (e.g. “I conducted…” vs. “an assessment was conducted”)
  • Clearly written; spelling and grammar accurate
  • APA style
  • Clinical material de-identified
  • Conforms with APA ethical standards, state laws of practice, and other regulations (ADA, HIPAA)
writing the practice sample
Writing the Practice Sample
  • Description of Candidate’s work setting
  • Introduction
  • Narrative
  • Supporting materials
  • Practice Sample consists of two parts
  • One part MUST be a clinical case
  • The 2 portions, including supporting materials, must not exceed 50 double-spaced typewritten pages.
writing the practice sample1
Writing the Practice Sample

Introductory Statement

The first practice sample portion is recommended to include a brief description of the candidate’s work setting.

writing the practice sample2
Writing the Practice Sample

Introduction (1-2 pages)

  • The context, purpose, and rationale for the case
  • Case abstract
  • Competencies that the Candidate believes are addressed.
writing the practice sample3
Writing the Practice Sample


Regardless of the work type (clinical, research, etc.), the narrative should describe your work and communicate how your work embodies the principles of Rehabilitation Psychology

Much more about the narrative portion to come…

writing the practice sample4
Writing the Practice Sample

Supporting Materials

  • Shows your work is “real”
  • Gives concrete example of what you are describing in the narrative

More information about supporting materials to come…

supporting materials
Supporting Materials
  • Additional supporting documentation or other materials may be requested
  • Supplementary materials must not increase the length of the sample beyond the page limits.
practice sample narrative section
Practice Sample Narrative Section
  • Clinical cases
  • Consultation reports
  • Teaching / training curricula
  • Research-based samples
  • Instrument development
  • Program development
clinical case suggested format
Clinical Case: Suggested Format


Patient characteristics

Assessment Strategies

Diagnostic Impressions

Treatment recommendations

Clinical interventions

Recommended consultation


Follow-up care

Consumer protection issues

Justification for limitations in the case

clinical case suggested format1
Clinical Case: Suggested Format

“Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How?”

Outcome of case, emphasizing how candidate impacted the outcome

clinical case supplementary materials
Clinical Case: Supplementary Materials
  • Provides examples of the work described in the narrative
  • Provide information to allow examiners to determine how clinical data is being interpreted and used
clinical case supporting materials
Clinical Case: Supporting Materials
  • An evaluation report or compilation of treatment notes alone does not constitute a clinical practice sample.
clinical case supporting materials1
Clinical Case: Supporting Materials

Supporting materials may include (but are not limited to):

  • Sections of test reports
  • Test score summary sheets
  • Chart, office, or progress notes
  • Team conference summaries, or portions thereof
  • Medical documentation
  • Correspondence
consultation case general guidelines
Consultation Case: General Guidelines
  • Demonstrate the Rehabilitation Psychology principles and practices underlying the consultation
  • Describe the Candidate’s activities and rationale.
consultation case suggested format
Consultation Case: Suggested Format


  • Setting and reason for the consultation
  • Patient characteristics
  • Assessment strategies
  • Diagnostic impressions
  • Treatment recommendations
consultation case suggested format1
Consultation Case: Suggested Format
  • Rationale for the assessments and interventions should be clear and supported by scientific literature.
consultation case supporting materials
Consultation Case: Supporting Materials

Materials may include, but are not limited to

  • Materials recommended for clinical case
  • Letter from consumer describing consultant’s role and results achieved
teaching training case
Teaching/Training Case

Course or program outlines alone do not constitute an acceptable Practice Sample portion

teaching training case suggested format
Teaching/Training Case: Suggested Format


  • Describe the rationale for the curriculum
  • Indicate how the curriculum relates to and includes the principles and practices of Rehabilitation Psychology
  • Specify the Candidate’s role in designing and implementing the curriculum
teaching training case supporting materials
Teaching/Training Case: Supporting Materials

Materials may include, but are not limited to

  • Course outline
  • Recommended readings
  • Annotated bibliography
  • Letters from students or colleagues emphasizing how the course impacted their work in Rehabilitation Psychology
research based sample suggested format
Research Based Sample: Suggested Format


  • Description of research program
  • Detail how research program relates to the principles and practices of Rehabilitation Psychology
  • Outcomes and implications of research
  • Future directions
research case supporting materials
Research Case: Supporting Materials
  • Initial page from key publications related to research
  • Abstracts
  • Selected portions of articles
  • Selected portions of grant proposals
  • Selected portions of program development documentation
  • Letters from collaborators describing candidate’s role in project
instrument development suggested format
Instrument Development: Suggested Format


  • Discuss the rationale for developing the instrument
  • Describe the Candidate’s role in the conceptualization, development, and validation phases
  • Indicate how this instrument relates to the principles and practices of Rehabilitation Psychology.
instrument development supporting materials
Instrument Development: Supporting Materials
  • Submission of the instrument alone or articles about the instrument alone does not constitute an acceptable Practice Sample
  • However, the instrument and portions of articles describing the instrument would likely be included in the supporting materials
program development suggested format
Program Development: Suggested Format


  • Describe the rationale for the program
  • Indicate how the program relates to and includes the principles and practices of Rehabilitation Psychology
  • Describe clearly and in detail the Candidate’s role in designing and implementing the program
program development supporting materials
Program Development: Supporting Materials
  • Promotional materials, advertisements, or testimonials should ordinarily not be submitted as supporting material
after the writing is done
After the Writing is Done
  • Electronically submit PDF of the entire practice sample to ABPP (RP) Secretary (one complete document best)
  • Pay fee to ABPP
  • Secretary distributes practice sample to 3 reviewers
the practice sample review
The Practice Sample Review
  • Reviewed by 3 examiners. Two out of three “pass” votes are required
  • Practice sample is reviewed as a whole. A “pass” or “not pass” decision is made about the practice sample viewed in totality
the practice sample review1
The Practice Sample Review
  • Three member committee
  • Practice samples reviewed independently
  • Each reviewer designates competencies evident in the practice sample
  • Practice sample is reviewed as a whole. A “pass” or “not pass” decision is made about the practice sample viewed in totality
the practice sample review2
The Practice Sample Review
  • Each reviewer writes Q’s for oral exam
  • Q’s are designed to pinpoint areas of practice sample weakness or need for further inquiry
  • 2 out of 3 votes advances the candidate to the oral exam
the practice sample review3
The Practice Sample Review


  • Breadth and depth of practice must be demonstrated
  • Must show clear rationale for what was done
  • Basis for assessment & intervention must be well founded.
the practice sample review4
The Practice Sample Review


  • Conclusions / recommendations must be supported by data and literature
  • Medical and other historical information must be reported and integrated
  • Emotional / psychopathologic factors must be evaluated and integrated into the case conceptualization
the practice sample review5
The Practice Sample Review
  • The supporting materials are appropriate in the context of the practice sample
  • Practice sample must conform to APA ethical standards (and other relevant standards, e.g., ADA)
  • Specialty level of practice as a Rehabilitation Psychologist is demonstrated
the practice sample review6
The Practice Sample Review

A “pass” decision allows the candidate to be admitted to the oral exam.

This is not a final “pass” rating for the practice sample portion of the oral exam

notification of pass
Notification of Pass
  • Central Office staff notify candidates of the pass via e-mail
  • Shortly thereafter, ABRP secretary will send a letter containing analysis of the reviewers for use in preparing for the oral examination
  • Strongly recommend this letter be shared with the mentor
writing the practice sample5
Writing the Practice Sample

Situations That Necessitate Revision and Resubmission of a Practice Sample

situations that necessitate revision and resubmission of a practice sample
Situations That Necessitate Revision and Resubmission of a Practice Sample
  • Not addressing key competencies
  • Case not adequately de-identified
  • Insufficient number of competencies demonstrated
  • Missing or inadequate/insufficient supporting materials
  • Misinterpretation of data
situations that necessitate revision and resubmission of a practice sample1
Inadequate description or chronology of candidate’s role in case.

Inadequate description or consideration of patient’s emotional/personality functioning

Absence of internal integration of case

Case does not follow a rehabilitation model: e.g., the candidate’s involvement is not in collaboration or consultation with other rehabilitation professionals

Situations That Necessitate Revision and Resubmission of a Practice Sample
following notification of no pass
Following notification of “ No Pass”
  • Revise. Candidates are given one opportunity to revise practice sample material that does not meet the defined criteria. No additional charges apply
  • Candidate receives a letter from the ABRP Secretary detailing the Review Committee’s feedback—Share this letter with your mentor
following notification of no pass1
Following notification of “ No Pass”
  • Resubmit. In addition to the 50 page practice sample, candidates are to include a brief (2-3 page) letter delineating changes and responses to reviewer remarks. Very helpful if changes are underlined in the resubmitted sample
final practice sample comment
Final Practice Sample Comment
  • Examples of successful Practice Samples are located on our ABRP link accessed via ABPP website
  • Identify process for submitting written practice samples
  • Identify the elements of a strong work sample
  • Know how to choose appropriate cases for their work samples

Advanced TrackPart II:Oral Exam: Clinical VignettesOral Exam: EthicsOral Exam: Practice SampleLester Butt, Ph.D., ABPP (RP)Craig Hospital Englewood, ColoradoBarry Nierenberg, Ph.D., ABPP (RP)Nova Southeastern UniversityFt. Lauderdale, Florida

the oral examination committee
The Oral Examination Committee
  • Three member committee
  • Screening for conflicts of interest
  • Whenever possible, Oral Exam Chair has also served as the Chair of the Practice Sample Committee
  • Oral Exam Committee reviews the comments from the Practice Sample Review Committee
  • Oral Exam Committee members discuss those competencies that still need demonstration
oral examination observers
Oral Examination Observers

An observer may be present in one of two possible scenarios:

  • Examiner-in-training
  • Quality assurance and monitoring

In neither situation will the observer have any vote or input about the candidate’s performance

oral examination clinical vignettes vignette structure
Oral Examination: Clinical VignettesVignette Structure
  • The vignette booklet is presented to each ABRP Candidate
  • The vignette booklet contains a myriad of succinct case studies
  • These case studies are grouped by diagnostic category, e.g. SCI, TBI, MS, amputations, etc.
  • Some of the vignettes categories are further subdivided into adult, adolescent, and/or pediatrics cases
oral examination clinical vignettes vignette structure1
Oral Examination: Clinical VignettesVignette Structure
  • Header with Diagnosis & Age
  • Overview
  • Referral Source & Question
  • Presenting Problems and Relevant History
  • Demographic and Social Background
  • Developmental, Educational & Vocational Background
  • Clinical Course & Current Status
oral examination clinical vignettes
Oral Examination: Clinical Vignettes
  • Candidates have up to 30 minutes to examine vignettes and select two for examination
  • May not select two vignettes from same diagnostic group (e.g., cannot select two adult TBI cases)
  • Recommendation: select vignettes that highlight your clinical strengths, i.e. do not err on the side of clinical diversity to the sacrifice of depth of expertise
oral examination clinical vignettes1
Oral Examination: Clinical Vignettes
  • Each Candidate will be provided a sheet listing the mandated ABRP competencies
  • Candidate has 60 total minutes to select, study and take notes on the two selected vignettes
  • Each vignette as previously stated, is introduced with a very succinct overview
  • This allows the Candidate to expediently abet vignette selection
  • The quicker the selection, the more time the Candidate has to prepare the clinical discussions
oral examination clinical vignettes2
Oral Examination: Clinical Vignettes
  • The Candidate can take notes on each of the vignettes to use during the course of the Oral Exam
  • Each vignette is oozing with clinical date……there is no need to worry about subtleties, the cryptic or esoteric
  • There is no intention to trick, deceive or mislead
  • In the two vignettes case conceptualizations, always keep the mandated ABRP competencies in mind
oral examination clinical vignettes process
Oral Examination: Clinical VignettesProcess
  • Each vignette is discussed with a different examiner for 40 minutes (per vignette)
  • The Candidate will be asked to identify and summarize key aspects of each case (awareness of critical assessment/treatment/consultative issues imbedded within each vignette)
  • Examiner poses questions on what was presented, omitted or hypothetical questions which might alter some of case material to demonstrate selected competency areas
oral examination clinical vignettes process1
Oral Examination: Clinical VignettesProcess-
  • Questions are derived from those proposed by the reviewers
  • Practice sample content may serve as a springboard, e.g., “Let’s suppose instead…”)
  • The Oral Examiner has the latitude to alter the vignette details (gender, age, ethnicity, symptom profile, etc.)
oral examination clinical vignettes process2
Oral Examination: Clinical VignettesProcess-
  • Need to reveal the chain of logic involved in the conceptualization of each clinical vignette
  • Need to demonstrate knowledge of relevant literature
  • Always keep in mind the ABRP mandated competencies
oral examination clinical vignettes process3
Oral Examination: Clinical VignettesProcess-
  • Explain how you work within the context of the rehabilitation team and external consultants
  • Be comfortable utilizing consultants with one caveat: do not overuse
  • Do not overemphasize neuropsychological assessment
oral examination clinical vignettes process4
Oral Examination: Clinical VignettesProcess-
  • The role of the Oral Examiner is not to devilishly expose your liabilities but to assist in illustrating your clinical strengths viewed through the context of the required clinical competencies
  • Candidate must clearly demonstrate depth and breadth in the required competencies in the field of Rehabilitation Psychology
oral examination ethics
Oral Examination: Ethics
  • Examiner selects 2 or 3 one-paragraph vignettes
  • Candidate takes a few minutes to read each vignette
  • Candidate is asked to describe key ethical issues and relevant sections of ethics code or state laws of practice which are related and potential ways to resolve conflicts
  • Each vignette is presented one at a time.
  • Not necessary to resolve clinical issues
oral examination ethical vignettes process
Oral Examination: Ethical VignettesProcess-
  • As in the clinical vignette portion, for the Ethical Vignettes, the role of the Oral Examiner has not changed.
  • Purpose is still not to expose your liabilities in ethical decision making, but is to assist in illustrating your strengths in this area viewed through the context of applicable APA Ethical Guidelines and State Laws.
oral exam ethical vignettes
Oral Exam: Ethical Vignettes
  • So, here Candidates must clearly demonstrate depth and breadth in their knowledge of and ability to apply our latest Ethical Guidelines and relevant State Laws governing the practice of Psychology.
oral examination practice sample
Oral Examination: Practice Sample
  • Questions are derived from those proposed by the reviewers
  • Additional questions will also arise during the oral exam
  • Similar to the clinical vignettes, the practice sample content may be altered to allow the Examiner to reveal additional mandated competencies
oral examination practice samples
Oral Examination: Practice Samples
  • Need to reveal the chain of logic involved in the Practice Samples
  • Need to demonstrate knowledge of relevant literature
      • Again, the Candidate must clearly demonstrate depth and breadth in the required competencies in the field of Rehabilitation Psychology
after the oral exam
After the oral exam

Oral Exam committee members meet as a group and determine whether the candidate was able to demonstrate presence of the required competencies over the course of the examination (not just during the practice sample exam).


Each member votes to “pass” or “not pass” the entire exam

  • If the candidate is passed by two of the three examiners, the candidate has passed the oral exam.
  • One does not “fail” any one part of the exam

If the candidate does not pass (i.e., 2 examiners do not pass the examinee), on the first vote, a discussion is required.

  • A second vote is taken after the committee is certain that a fair discussion of the candidate's entire performance has been presented.
notification process
Notification Process
  • Official reporting form is completed and returned to ABPP Central Office
  • ABPP Central Office informs the candidate of the outcome
  • If the decision is “not pass,” the candidate receives a letter detailing areas for improvement
appeals process
Appeals Process
  • 60 days to file an appeal with ABRP
  • ABRP appeals committee is appointed
  • Candidate may then appeal to ABPP
  • ABPP Policy: an exam result cannot be overturned, but candidate may be re-examined without charge if appeal is upheld

Diane Grant: Multiple Sclerosis & Comorbid Leukemia

OVERVIEW: Adult Woman with Multiple Sclerosis and Leukemia referred for outpatient evaluation and psychotherapy

PRESENTING MEDICAL PROBLEM AND HISTORY: Ms. Diane Grant was referred medical specialties hematology and neurology for evaluation and psychotherapy as appropriate. Review of her medical chart reveals diagnoses of long-standing multiple sclerosis (MS) which was first diagnosed in 1976 and granulocytic leukemia (CGL), diagnosed this year. She was placed on Zoloft and Doxepin by her neurologist. Ms. Grant is currently on a regimen of chronic chemotherapy that is managed by her hematologist.

DEVELOPMENTAL, EDUCATIONAL, VOCATIONAL HISTORY: Ms. Grant reports that her parents are in their 70's and reside in a small town in Virginia where she still owns a home. She has a brother in the state of Washington. She graduated from high school in 1965, completing a college degree in English literature in 1969. She married her high school sweetheart subsequent to college with a separation in 1991, divorcing in September, 1993. Previously she had worked as an administrative assistant for regulatory affairs within a chemical equipment company. She stopped working in 1985. She met her current significant other (Henry) in late 1994 through a Christian single's group in Virginia. He moved back to Iowa in 1995 to begin a chiropractic practice. She currently is living with Henry. She is uncertain about her leukemia course. She states that statistics give her 3-10 years to live but it is ultimately up to God.

MENTAL/ CHEMICAL HEALTH HISTORY: On initial interview, Ms. Grant was a scattered informant who admitted that she might fail to remember some specifics of her history. She reports previously seeing a counselor who she described as a Christian social worker in Virginia. She believes that her current anti-depressant medication has been modestly helpful. Ms. Grant also noted that she takes an occasional Valium (once every two weeks) when foot spasticity interferes with sleep.

COGNITIVE AND PHYSICAL STATUS: On initial interview, Ms. Grant was meticulously attired and groomed. She wore glasses with a black lens over the left eye because of difficulties with diplopia and nystagmus. She is able to ambulate short distances using a cane with a marked ataxic gait. She used a wheelchair for long distances but could not independently utilize. She was an alert and responsive informant with hesitant, mildly dysarthric speech. Mood is anxious and dysphoric with noted lability. Speech rate was slowed and mildly tangential. She appeared overwhelmed with the enormity of her cognitive, emotional, and health stressors. No evidence of formal thought disorder was manifest. When questioned, she openly acknowledged difficulties with concentration, speed of information processing, memory, and complex problem-solving. Insight is reduced but adequate.

foundational competencies
Foundational Competencies
  • Establishment of effective relationships
  • Sensitivity to diversity issues
  • Implementation of practices consistent with ethical and legal standards
  • Awareness of professional issues in Rehabilitation Psychology
interpersonal interactions
Interpersonal Interactions
  • Sensitivity to the welfare, rights, and dignity of others as a priority in the practice of Rehabilitation Psychology
  • Capacity to empathically relate to clients/patients and others, including members of the rehabilitation team, in ways that enhance the effectiveness of services provided
  • Awareness of personal interpersonal interactions on others
  • Ability to maintain appropriate boundaries
individual cultural diversity
Individual & Cultural Diversity
  • Awareness of diversity and multicultural factors as related to disability within the practice of Rehabilitation Psychology
  • An awareness of the interaction between one’s own individual and cultural diversity characteristics as these factors influence functioning as a Rehabilitation Psychologist
ethical legal foundations
Ethical & Legal Foundations
  • Ethical principles and practice standards of the American Psychological Association
  • Current statutory and state regulatory provisions applicable to the professional practice of Rehabilitation Psychology
  • Issues related to patient confidentiality and privacy (HIPAA)
professional identification
Professional Identification
  • Active participation in professional activities relevant to Rehabilitation Psychology
  • Awareness of current issues facing the profession and implications of these issues to functioning as a Rehabilitation Psychologist
  • Seeks and utilizes consultation/supervision when needed or appropriate
  • Pursues continuing professional education commensurate with licensing requirements and professional development in specialty of Rehabilitation Psychology including CE credits for ongoing professional education in the area of Rehabilitation Psychology in the last two years
scientific base application
Scientific Base & Application
  • Knowledge of scientific and evidence-based theory and research that informs one’s practice as a Rehabilitation Psychologist
  • An ability to critically evaluate scientific and evidenced-based theory and research and discuss implications for practice
  • A coherent and comprehensive explanation of approach taken in clinical practice based on relevant research and theory of client/patient behavior
  • An awareness of science-based theories and research on interpersonal interactions, individual and cultural diversity (ethnicity, race, gender, age, identification, ethics, and legal foundations to practice)
  • Adjustment to disability: patient
  • Adjustment to disability: family
  • Extent and nature of disability and preserved abilities
  • Educational and vocational capacities
  • Personality & emotional factors
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Sexual functioning
  • Decision-making capacity
  • Pain
  • Substance use/abuse identification
  • Social & behavioral functioning
  • Individual therapeutic interventions as related to adjustment to disability
  • Family/couple therapeutic interventions as related to adjustment to disability
  • Behavioral management
  • Sexual counseling with disabled populations
  • Behavioral functioning improvement
  • Cognitive functioning
  • Vocational and/or educational considerations
  • Personality/emotional factors
  • Substance abuse identification and management
  • Sexual functioning and disability
consumer protection
Consumer Protection
  • Laws related to and including ADA
  • Awareness and sensitivity to multicultural and diversity factors