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Russian Psychologists Visit APA

Topics included accreditation systems for programs and universities in the United States, educational requirements for becoming a practicing psychologist in the US, including doctoral and post doctoral training, and licensing issues.

By Lynn Bufka, PhD

In early March, three psychologists from Saint Petersburg, Russia, visited APA to learn additional information about the structure of psychology within the United States. With the help of Russian interpreter Anna Richardson, Larissa Tsvetkova, PhD, Dean of Psychology at Saint Petersburg State University accompanied by her colleagues Sergey Manichev, PhD (Chair of the Department of Ergonomics and Engineering Psychology at Saint Petersburg State University) and Natalia Mastinen (Lecturer at the Department of Ergonomics and Engineering Psychology at Saint Petersburg State University) spoke with and met with APA staff and APA President James Bray as part of their visit to the US, organized by the US State Department. The visit was organized by the Department of State Bureau of Cultural and Education Affairs as part of their International Visitor Leadership Program. The Russian delegation to the US came in preparation for the development of the first institute for credentialing psychology in the Russian Federation.

The visitors’ first meeting, held via conference call because the trip coincided with a heavy snowstorm that closed much of Washington, DC, was with Susan Zlotlow, PhD (Associate Executive Director of Accreditation), Catherine Grus, PhD (Associate Executive Director of Professional Education & Training), and Merry Bullock, PhD (Senior Director of the APA Office of International Affairs) on the educational systems in the US for psychology education and training. Topics included accreditation systems for programs and universities in the United States, educational requirements for becoming a practicing psychologist in the US, including doctoral and post doctoral training, and licensing issues. Dr. Zlotlow and Dr. Grus explained that, in contrast to many countries, licensing in the US is carried out at the state level, and how each state has its own laws for licensing. Other topics included criteria for post-doctoral professional residencies and internships; how a PhD differs from a PsyD; how certain skills are assessed (both after a psychologist graduates and then achieves licensure); and how those skills could be achieved in different ways.

After a brief greeting from APA President James Bray, PhD, the visitors met with Lynn Bufka, PhD, Assistant Executive Director for Practice Research and Policy. The discussion focused on the kinds of services provided by psychologists, psychology education, general psychology practice, the role of psychologists in health care, schools, and other settings, and APA’s Model Act for State Licensure, which is currently undergoing revision, and the role of I/O psychology in the practice arena. APA welcomes visits from international colleagues and the exchange of information about systems and processes in psychology. For further information, please contact the Office of International Affairs.Ψ