FAQs

Certification by the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis (ABAPsa) is a voluntary process and the last step in post-doctoral professional credentialing. Its purpose is to assure competency in the practice of psychoanalysis.  ABAPsa certification is granted to psychologist-psychoanalysts who successfully complete three stages of a rigorous peer review process: Credentials review and vetting; submission of a practice sample and/or its equivalent to assess breadth of knowledge; and an oral examination by peer reviewers typically held at the Division 39 Spring meeting.

ABAPsa is similar to board certification in medicine insofar as it applies exclusively to those who have completed both doctoral as well as psychoanalytic training (or its equivalent) and is conferred by an independent certification body.  Principally, board certification represents acknowledgment by one’s professional peers of competency to practice the specialty of psychoanalysis as documented by a thorough examination of one’s knowledge and abilities. In psychology, the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) is the umbrella board for 15 specialty boards, including ABAPsa. The ABAPsa specialty board certification includes training requirements, credentials review, practice sample evaluation, and oral examination.

ABAPsa is a merged board and academy, one of the fourteen specialty member boards of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). Started by APA in 1947, ABPP is the oldest and most well-recognized board-certifying body in psychology. ABAPsa’s Board is responsible for conducting examinations to determine the qualifications of individuals who apply for certification in psychoanalysis. The review process and examinations evaluate a candidate’s ability to demonstrate competence across core foundational and functional domains expected of all psychologist-psychoanalyst specialists.

The American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis is a membership organization comprised solely of psychologist-psychoanalysts who have successfully completed ABAPsa certification. It is overseen by the ABPP Board of Trustees.

You can find that information on our ABPP Directory website by searching only ABAPsa psychologist.

No. The ABAPsa credential review and examination procedures are based on competence alone. It is the mission of the ABAPsa to have all competent, practicing psychoanalysts pass board examination. Moreover, exceptions can be made for individuals with nontraditional training backgrounds, as ABAPsa recognizes there may be more than one viable path to competence.

Peer support and opportunities for mentorship are available.  Generally speaking, every effort is made to support the candidate through the process, and procedures are in place for resubmission of materials/re-examination in cases where the candidate experience difficulty.

Board certification through ABAPsa assures the public and the profession that the specialist has successfully completed the education, training, and experience requirements of the specialty including an examination designed to assess the competencies necessary to provide psychoanalytic services of the highest quality.  It is a recognition of competency by one’s peers validated by an independent examining body.  Consumers of psychoanalytic services can be assured that the individual with ABAPsa certification has stood for and passed a rigorous examination of their skills and knowledge.  Independent verification of competency is especially important in an increasingly competitive marketplace for mental health services.


Click here to read more about the advantages of board certification through ABPP.

Yes. ABPP and all its specialty boards are recognized in 40 states as evidence for transferability of license. The Veteran’s Administration recognizes only ABPP and its specialty boards as grounds for a salary increase to staff psychologists.

Yes.  Moreover, reasonable flexibility is incorporated into the credential review, taking into account historical training milieus as well as regional availability of training opportunities.