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SMI/SED specialty (SMI psychology) update

Visit the SMI Psychology website for great information and resources about training, evaluation instruments, practice guidelines and how to become involved with the specialty council.
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By Mary Jansen, PhD

Want to learn about how to get great training to treat those with serious mental illness and severe emotional disturbance (SMI/SED)? The APA Task Force on SMI/SED together with Div. 18 and Div. 18’s section on SMI/SED is submitting a petition to APA for recognition of post-doctoral specialty training in SMI/SED. The specialty is to be called “SMI Psychology,” which is an easy-to-understand title that encompasses both SMI in adults and SED in young people. The Specialty Council is comprised of the three sponsoring organizations (the APA Task Force on SMI/SED, Div. 18, and Div. 18’s section on SMI/SED). There is a host of information about the specialty on the website. This information includes post-doctoral residency programs that currently offer training in SMI/SED, and the specialty training guidelines, which provide information and guidance for programs that are interested in offering post-doctoral training in SMI/SED.

The website also has the full APA petition that contains a wealth of information with the latest research on a wide array of topics pertinent to SMI/SED, information about continuing education (CE) opportunities, and a comprehensive evaluation instrument that can be used to provide helpful information about competence in different domains. The evaluation instrument can be used as a self-evaluation tool and can also be used in supervision. The website has links to the APA recovery curriculum for SMI/SED, and information and links to several excellent practice guidelines for working with this population.

The specialty council is also inviting expressions of interest from psychologists who might be interested in serving on one or more of the specialty council committees. We currently have several committees with openings:

  • Research Committee: Responsible for (a) reviewing the scientific literature to identify current empirical developments that should be posted on the website and that may impact training programs; (b) forwarding summaries of relevant literature and other information (such as new books, chapters, or other literature) to the Marketing and Communications Committee for inclusion on the website;
  • Practice Committee: Responsible for (a) reviewing the clinical practice literature including clinical practice guidelines to identify current practice developments that should be posted on the website and that may impact training programs; (b) forwarding summaries of relevant literature, practice guidelines, and other information (such as new books, chapters, or other literature) to the Marketing and Communications Committee for inclusion on the website;
  • Training and Evaluation Committee : Responsible for (a) updating the list of desired competencies for the specialization; (b) recommending changes to the Training Guidelines for the Specialty, and (c) recommending evaluation mechanisms for psychologists seeking recognition in the area of practice and for those seeking to maintain certification in the Specialty;
  • Accreditation Committee: Responsible for (a) promoting accreditation expertise and involvement; (b) conducting activities to recruit and train site visitors for Specialty accreditation by offering training at the APA convention and other venues, and conducting Committee on Accreditation self- study workshops; (c) establishing and maintaining liaison with relevant organizations to remain abreast of new developments and ensure that the Specialty is fully up to date and in compliance with all accreditation requirements and those that may impact Specialty status. These include the APA Commission on Accreditation (CoA), the Association of Psychology Post-Doctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC), the APA Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSPPP), the Council of Specialties in Professional Psychology (CoS), the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), and any others that may be relevant for these purposes;
  • Marketing and Communications Committee: Responsible for (a) maintaining the website in a fully up to date state, posting all important notices, information about education, training, competencies, evaluation, etc. The website will also list approved post-doctoral Specialty programs and doctoral and internship programs that have expressed interest in being listed on the website. A section of the website will also be dedicated to providing information for psychologists, the public, and other health professionals about the etiology, nature, impact, and amelioration of SMI/SED; (b) recommending means to inform training programs and practicing psychologists about the specialty and for recommending mechanisms to encourage training programs to seek accreditation in the specialty; (c) keeping the council informed about upcoming events of relevant organizations and about new developments that may affect accreditation and specialty status.

Anyone interested in becoming involved in the work of the specialty is invited to forward an expression of interest, identifying the committee of interest along with a short note indicating why the committee is of interest and information on relevant background experience that might be helpful. The specialty council wishes to include individuals from the full range of human diversity and welcomes everyone, irrespective of a person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and sexual orientation), national origin, age, disability, genetic information or stage in career. All those interested should contact the executive officer of the specialty council, Mary Jansen, PhD.

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