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  • Activism in Response to Proposed Changes in Continuing Education by the California Board of Psychology

    Back in 2014 many California psychologists were surprised to learn that the current traditional system of allowing 27 units of continuing education (CE) through independent learning (i.e., home study or online classes) and 9 CE units of live in-person classes was about to change.  The Board of Psychology (BOP) had been having committee meetings to change from CE to Continuing Professional Development (CPD), which would limit traditional CE to 18 units and require the other 18 units through other means.  Word of these changes only reached most psychologists via listservs they subscribed to after the initial comment period to the BOP had actually passed.  What the BOP believed would be a tweak to the CE system turned out to upset a lot of psychologists.  In over 30 years as a psychologist, I have never seen such a united and organized response by licensed psychologists.  I suspect the BOP realized a bit late that their means of communicating to their licensed psychologists needed some tweaking as well.

    The BOP, with good intentions, used the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Board  (ASPPB) Guidelines for Continuing Professional Development as a model for California’s new CPD regulations.  The aim is to have psychologists diversify the type of professional development they receive so that it is more than traditional CE courses.  The problem that the BOP did not anticipate is that these new regulations would create a burden for a sizeable number of psychologists.  Besides the traditional 18 hours of continuing education, the other 18 hours could be obtained through peer consultation, practice outcome monitoring, professional activities (e.g., service on psychological association boards and committees), conferences/conventions (limited to 6 hours), attending a California BOP meeting, completing or teaching a graduate level course, clinical supervision, publishing a peer-reviewed article or book chapter, or obtaining ABPP Board Certification.

    Most psychologists were fine with the BOP adding the new categories as an option for those wanting to expand from CE to CPD, but were adamant that those who still wanted to take only CE classes be allowed to do so.   The reasons presented to the BOP through over 1000 responses during a new comment period ranged from the lack of research to show that the new CPD system would result in more competent psychologists to the financial and logistical burdens it would place on those psychologists who could not travel to conferences, lived in rural areas, worked part-time or cared for family members. 

    The BOP decided to withdraw the new regulations and take them back to committee. It is anticipated that these new regulations will be posted and available for comment in early 2017.  If you are a California psychologist, pay attention to any announcements from the BOP.  You can go to their website and sign up for their email notification list.  I will post a new blog once the new regulations are released with information on the comment period.

    While this is now only for psychologists, I would not be surprised if the California Board of Behavioral Sciences pays attention to this, so I would recommend licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs), licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs), licensed educational psychologists (LEPs), and licensed professional clinical counselors (LPCCs) to pay attention to what is going on in this area.

    If you have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at