skip to main content

Board Certification: Psychoanalysis

Board certification is essential to medical specialties in the Western world. It elevates the specialty's standards, protects the public against irresponsible/unqualified practitioners, authorizes educational resources, sets requirements for testing specialty candidates, and issues certificates of qualification.

Consumers, professionals, employers, insurers, credentialing organizations, legal systems, and licensing boards all consider the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) certification the best measure of competence within a particular psychological specialty.

Benefits of board certification
  • public recognition of an advanced expertise

  • increased knowledge through access to ABPP specialty CE credits

  • increased practice mobility

  • expanded employment opportunities

  • personal rewards from recognition

  • interaction with other distinguished psychology specialists

  • opportunity for contributions to the profession

The American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis

The American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis (ABAPsa) was established in 1983. This achievement was created by the efforts of members of the Div. 39. The achievement of formal recognition was a lengthy process which lasted 12 years. In 1996, the first ABAPsa examination was administered to candidates.

Specialty definition

Psychoanalysis is a means of understanding human motivation and behavior based upon an understanding of factors outside of a person's awareness. It informs both scholarly study and practice. This deep perspective toward psychological understanding and intervention emphasizes the relationship between analysand and analyst. It necessarily continues over some extended time, in that an understanding of the relationship reflects reinstatement of the life history of the analysand. This reveals the dynamics of the treatment process, leading to reduction of personal distress.

To apply for board certification in the ABAPsa:
  1. Please review the generic requirements and the specialty specific requirements.
  2. Complete the online application.


John M. Watkins, PhD, ABPP

Richard R. Hansen, PhD, ABPP
President-Elect, credential reviewer

Ronald C. Naso, PhD, ABPP
Past president, MOC reviewer

V. Barry Daupin, PhD, ABPP

Theodore Ellenhorn, PhD, ABPP 
Secretary, website co-coordinator, Psychoanalysis Diversity representative, ABPP

Marilyn Metzl, PhD, ABPP 
Academy coordinator

Jon Mills, PsyD, PhD, ABPP 
National Exam chair

David L. Downing, PsyD, ABPP 
Awards coordinator

Roger Karlsson, PhD, ABPP
Website coordinator, Practice Sample coordinator

Joyce Slochower, PhD, ABPP

Last updated: January 2021Date created: June 2011