Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep Brain Stimulation

When I hear about electromagnetic brain stimulation, I immediately think of the old-style electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) portrayed in movies, like Jack Nicholson’s character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest [1]. In the film, Nicholson’s character (as well as many others) are sent to the presumably painful “Shock Therapy”, where they essentially have a battery connected to their head to “reset” them.

 

However, this is far from an accurate (or fair) representation of what is available today. In modern times, we have two major modalities available: electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

The first, ECT, is much different than what is portrayed in the movies [2]. The ECT that is available today (and the style that has been employed since the late 1950s) is much more civilized than is portrayed [2]. In particularly difficult to treat depression and anxiety disorder, ECT is often adopted to address and ultimately treat these persistent symptoms [3]. ECT works by inducing small, controlled seizures that offer some therapeutic benefit [3]. In these scenarios, the patient is always given muscle relaxers, so that the patient does not harm themselves during the convulsions that are induced. Overall, it is a much more scientific and civilized process than what is commonly imagined.

A bit more recent development in cerebral stimulation therapies is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). TMS grew out of the work that had already been established with ECT, and simply built upon it to create a second option that was (ideally) less invasive and intimidating to the patient [4]. TMS was originally developed to be used as a diagnostic tool—and eventually some therapeutic uses became apparent [4]. It wasn’t until 2008 that TMS finally became approved by the US Food and Drug Administration [4].

TMS is a technique in which an electromagnetic wand is passed over the cranium, or simply just near the head [6]. The coil is simply metal that is attached to an electric generator which delivers electrical pulses—ultimately delivering electromagnetic pulses intended to interact with natural electromagnetic brain wave outputs [6]. TMS is able to directly target specific regions of the brain in order to address certain neurological issues. In this way, they are able to address major issues without causing damage to other non-necessary brain regions. The technique ultimately helps to “reset” the person, much like in ECT [3].

In two major studies by University of Pennsylvania and Mayo Clinic, TMS was able to help individuals with memory [3]. In one of these studies, the patients were read a list of words while they were receiving TMS directed toward the lateral temporal cortex region of their brain [7]. The patients who were receiving TMS stimulation to this region of their brain as they were being read the list of words were able to remember the words significantly better than those who did not [7]. That is because the lateral temporal cortex is responsible for language understanding [7]. It was further confirmed by another study by UPenn which showed that when this cortex was not stimulated at the exact right time, the significant increase in memory was not present [8].

An interesting study found that ECT is slightly more effective that TMS on some psychiatric disorders, including major depression that was resistant to other methods of treatment [5]. In addition, ECT addressed the symptoms of anxiety while TMS did not [5]. Although ECT was more effective, patients still said they would have preferred TMS should both treatments be covered by their insurance [5].  This was shown to be related to the feelings of stigma and fear associated with ECT [3]. For example, films such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest [1] paint a terrifying and animalistic picture of brain stimulation. People seemed to much prefer something that would offer even a fraction of the relief in order to avoid the fear of a perceived tortuous scenario [3].

Overall, it is clear that brain stimulation deserves a little more attention from both the general public and the behavioral health community. It is clear with several different research studies that brain stimulation, whether it come in the form of ECT or TMS can be greatly effective for a range of psychological and neurological disorder that have few other treatment options. However, TMS seems to provide a workaround to a major barrier that ECT has: negative stigma. Since the development of TMS is relatively new compared to ECT, it hasn’t had the same ability to be impacted by popular media.  Instead, it seems to offer similar benefits to patients who are in need of this more radical level of treatment. It also serves as a stepping stone into ECT—should it ever become necessary.

References

  1. Zaentz, S., & Douglas, M. (Producers), & Forman, M. (Director). (1975). One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest  [Motion picture]. United States: United Artists
  2. Estridge, B. (2011). Jack Nicholson did for shock therapy what Jaws did for sharks: An expert argues that ECT has been stigmatised. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2012924/Jack-Nicholson-did-shock-therapy-Jaws-did-sharks.html
  3. Payne, N. A., & Prudic, J. (2009). Electroconvulsive therapy Part I: a perspective on the evolution and current practice of ECT. Journal of psychiatric practice15(5), 346.
  4. Horvath, JC; Perez, JM; Forrow, L; Fregni, F; Pascual-Leone, A (March 2011). “Transcranial magnetic stimulation: a historical evaluation and future prognosis of therapeutically relevant ethical concerns”. Journal of Medical Ethics37(3): 137–43. doi:1136/jme.2010.039966.
  5. Rapposelli, D. (2016). TMS Versus ECT: That Is the Question | Psychiatric Times. Retrieved from http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/major-depressive-disorder/tms-versus-ect-question
  6. Lopez-Ibor, J. J., López-Ibor, M. I., & Pastrana, J. I. (2008). Transcranial magnetic stimulation. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 21(6), 640-644.
  7. Kucewicz, M. T., Berry, B. M., Miller, L. R., Khadjevand, F., Ezzyat, Y., Stein, J. M., … & Gorniak, R. (2018). Evidence for verbal memory enhancement with electrical brain stimulation in the lateral temporal cortex. Brain.
  8. Kucewicz, M. T., Berry, B. M., Miller, L. R., Khadjevand, F., Ezzyat, Y., Stein, J. M., … & Gorniak, R. (2018). Evidence for verbal memory enhancement with electrical brain stimulation in the lateral temporal cortex. Brain.

The connection between your mental and physical health

The connection between your mental and physical health

One of the most powerful symbiotic relationships that are often overlooked is the one between mental health and physical health. If you have poor physical health, it is highly likely that your mental health will decline as well. Whether it’s diabetes, obesity, or another illness your mental health is directly affected. Regardless of your range of healthiness, you can make changes that will improve your overall health. Here are a few suggestions to consider.

 

The yin-yang of physical and mental health

You already know that there is an endless list of benefits of being physically healthy. From increased energy to longevity of life, there are more pros to being in the best physical health possible. You have the power to increase the possibility of remaining healthy. Your gut is a powerhouse that keeps microbes in your body in synch. Think about the last time you felt nervous. You probably felt your stomach churn. That’s because the fight-or-flight response in your brain causes blood flow to your gut to halt or slow down. This means that your physical body is directly affected by your mental health. One will always affect the other that’s why you want to find a balance that works for you.

Activity and exercise

Good physical health starts with being active. Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood, going for a swim, or working out at the gym, keeping active is key. Have you ever felt bad after a workout? Probably not because you felt better and had more energy afterward. This is highly beneficial for your mental health. Being active releases endorphins and a host of other ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain. This flooding of chemicals can lead you to feel happier, more content, and less depressed. This healthy step for your physical self has a direct positive impact on your mental health as well.

Food and diet

Your food choices can be directly linked to how you feel. If you are having a stressful day and not feeling your best, you may reach for carbohydrate-rich foods. It seems like a cliché but think about how the media portrays an upset and emotional woman. They show her crying and eating a pint of ice cream. Doing this now and then won’t wreak havoc on your body. However, continuing to eat sugary foods will impact your physical health through weight gain and the risk of diabetes. If you eat heavy carbohydrate food, it’s less likely you will want to go for a walk after dinner. Making food choices that involve vegetables and fruit can help both you’re physical as well as mental health.

How to change both for the better?

You start by deciding and committing to make a change in your health. Knowing you want to change your habits is just the start. You have to be willing to take action. This looks different for each person. The change you may be ready to make is to commit to increasing your activity each week. Your goal for change is your personal goal, no one else’s. Keep this in mind if you begin to compare yourself to others. Deciding each day what small changes you can make add up to a significant impact.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t reach your goals every time. The goal isn’t perfection; it’s persistence. If you slip up in your quest for better health, you can start over the next day. Take time to figure out what makes you happy and brings you peace. Maybe it’s having a day off where you do something fun or creative. It’s your responsibility to do what you need to improve your physical and mental health. Once you realize the connection, you will want to continue to strive to live your healthiest life.

Is Studying for the EPPP Affecting Your Mental Health?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studying for the EPPP can be a stressful and overwhelming undertaking. Stress can be a normal part of the EPPP preparation process, therefore we must learn to manage it. But, what happens when it becomes more than stress and studying begins to affect your mental health?

In order to address the effect of studying on your mental health, you must first know the warning signs. Here are three signs that your mental health is being affected by studying.

  1. Panic Attack

A panic attack is characterized by any number of the following symptoms: shortness of breath, racing heart, dizziness, the sense that you’ve lost control, feeling faint, or a sense of terror.

If you do experience a panic attack, don’t try to fight it off. Instead, breathe deeply, engage yourself in your surroundings and allow the panic to subside.

  1. Forgetfulness

A surprising symptom of anxiety is forgetfulness. Because anxiety is overwhelming and consuming, it can cause you to forget things such as what you highlighted in last night’s study session. Furthermore, a hormone called cortisol is released when we experience stress. Cortisol is known for preventing the formation of memories.

  1. Depression

Symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness, disinterest in activities you once enjoyed, lack of energy, and anxiety. Experiencing depression during EPPP preparation can affect your motivation to study as well as your ability to maintain a healthy balance between studying and time with family and friends.

If you experience any, or a combination, of the above, then the stress of taking the EPPP is affecting your mental health. This means it is time to take a step back and get help. Talk to a trusted friend and seek professional help. A counselor can advise you on how to move forward through depression and anxiety.

If you don’t identify with the above symptoms, maintaining good mental health is key. Here are 3 ways to stay mentally healthy during EPPP prep.

  1. Know the warning signs of stress and burnout

Everyone reacts to stress differently, but here are a few possible warning signs of stress per The American Psychological Association (APA): Headaches, muscle tension, neck or back pain; Upset stomach; Dry mouth; Chest pains and rapid heartbeat; Difficulty falling or staying asleep; Fatigue.

Furthermore, if you feel like you have nothing left to give, you may be experiencing burnout.

Look at stress relief strategies here.

  1. Schedule breaks

When you create your study schedule, be sure to include breaks. During periods of rest, our brains store and organize the material we have learned. So, not only are breaks giving you rest to combat anxiety, but they are helping your memory and retention.

Your breaks should include small 5-10 minute breaks as well as longer 30 minute ones. Be sure to incorporate a good night’s sleep as well.

  1. Gratitude

Thinking thankful thoughts can literally detox your brain.  Thinking negatively creates toxins in your brain that can be combatted by shifting your thinking to positivity. By cultivating a positive, gratuitous attitude, you can starve your inclination to think negatively.

Not only will gratitude detox your brain and make you happier in general, but it will reduce stress and anxiety, ultimately making you mentally healthier.

References

Dunn, Carrie. “Mind over Matter: The Effects of Studying on Mental Health.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 6 Dec. 2008, www.theguardian.com/education/

2008/dec/06/mental-health-university-students.

“How Anxiety Can Cause Forgetfulness.” 7 Strategies for Dealing With Work Anxiety, www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/symptoms/forgetfulness.

“Listening to the Warning Signs of Stress .” Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association, www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-signs.aspx.

Further Reading:

What to Expect on EPPP Exam Day

Your EPPP exam day has finally come. Do you know what to expect when you enter the testing center?

Pearson VUE testing centers, which is likely where you will sit your exam, administer the EPPP under standardized conditions per their established procedures. You may take the EPPP at any Pearson VUE testing center regardless of whether it is in the state or province you wish to practice.

 

When you arrive to your testing center, which must be 30 minutes prior to your test time, be sure to have all required documents with you. This includes a valid, government issued photo identification as well as another alternate form of ID with your name and signature. The names on your ID must match exactly with your Authorization-to-Test letter (ATT).

You will have 4 hours and 15 minutes to complete the exam which consists of 225 questions. 175 of the questions are scored and 50 remain unscored. You may take breaks during the exam as you wish, but there are no standardized break periods. When you do decide to take a break, your allotted test time will not pause. At the Taylor Study Method we recommend you schedule your breaks before you take the test. See our tips for test day time management here.

If you would like to take notes during the exam, the testing center can provide you with a whiteboard upon request. Scratch paper is not allowed but at TSM we recommend you request a whiteboard and use it like you would scratch paper. Furthermore, you are not allowed to bring your own ear plugs or headphones but may request them upon arrival to test day. If you are easily distracted, we recommend you take advantage of this feature – especially because Pearson VUE will be administering a range of different exams, which could cause minor distractions.

At the beginning of your exam there will be a short tutorial on how to move forward and backward through the exam and how to flag questions. The time it takes you to watch the tutorial is not counted towards your allotted test time and we recommend you take advantage of it. If you experience technical issues, tell a Pearson VUE staff member immediately. The test administrator on site will advise you on what to do if technical difficulties cannot be rectified within 30 minutes.

If you have further questions about what to expect on test day or how to register, give TSM a call at 1-877-510-5445 or email us at contactus@taylorstudymethod.com

What to Expect and How to Prepare for CPLEE Exam Day

Are you ready for CPLEE exam day? Before you arrive to take the test, make sure you are prepared.

First, prepare yourself for exam day by thoroughly reading the CPLEE candidate information bulletin board  by the California Board of Psychology.  It covers the following topics:

  • Purpose of the bulletin
  • Examination Development
  • Establishing the Passing Standards
  • Examination Scheduling Procedure
  • Special Accommodations Available
  • Examination Site Location
  • Reporting to the Examination Site
  • Taking the Examination by Computer
  • Study Materials
  • Examination Items
  • Understanding the Results
  • Abandonment of Application
  • Licensing Information
  • Licensing Fee
  • Fields of Competence
  • Continuing Education Requirements
  • Examination Summary
  • Examination Outline
  • Examination Study Questions

Once you have read the bulletin, you should do the following:

  • Visit the testing center location
  • Prepare for the exam the night before by choosing what clothes you will wear and by packing snacks and having your identification ready. (Clothing with pockets in not allowed)
  • Review pages 7 and 8 of the information bulletin so you know what items are prohibited in the testing center.
  • Review your EPPP exam day routine. You will follow the same routine when taking the CPLEE.

On CPLEE exam day, arrive 30 minutes before your start time. You will complete preliminary paperwork and verification during this time. To ensure timeliness, the Taylor Study Method recommends giving yourself an extra hour to get there in case of traffic or directional issues. When you arrive at the testing center, leave any prohibited items in your car. Once you enter the building and check in, you must provide one of the following forms of identification:

  • A current State issued Driver’s License
  • A current State Department of Motor Vehicles Identification Card
  • A current U.S. military-issued identification card
  • A current government issued passport

As a part of the check-in process, you will also provide a thumb print.

You will be given 2.5 hours to answer 100 multiple choice questions once the exam begins. Before your timer starts, the computer will take you through a tutorial on how to navigate the system. This does not count as part of your examination time, and we recommend you take advantage of the tutorial so you can go into the exam completely confident.

Once you are done with your exam, you will be provided with a printed report of your score.

If you have any questions or concerns about CPLEE exam day, give TSM a call at 1-877-510-5445 or email us at contactus@taylorstudymethod.com

There’s no such thing as a normal brain

Well, that’s good to hear. One of my old supervisors called it “graduate student disease”. As soon as we would cover a disorder in class or practicum, suddenly everyone in my cohort agreed that they had it. We spend so much time dwelling on psychopathology that it is next to impossible not to see some of the characteristics reflected in ourselves.

Thankfully, none of us actually had any major psychopathologies (aside from some anxiety, but who doesn’t in graduate school, right?). I’m sure that you all, my loyal readers, are also (for the most part) alright. Which brings us to our topic for this week. There is no such thing as a normal brain [1]. In fact, psychology shows us that there is not really any such thing as a “normal person” either [2].

 

To illustrate this point, we can go back to an example of the 1920s United States Air Force. Todd Rose details a specific instance in the Air Force at the genesis of jet-powered planes [3]. The government agency hired several research assistants to take the measurements of many pilots in order to find the mean measurements of them all [3]. The cockpits of the planes would then be fitted to the “average pilot” [3]. As the reader has probably anticipated, this did not turn out to be the best method. Even with the extreme accuracy and breadth of data collected, there were still a staggering number of “pilot errors” and complaints of not fitting within the cockpit [3].

It wasn’t until the 1940s that finally a Lieutenant decided to compare the measurements of each of the Air Force’s pilots to the arithmetic mean “individual” that they had created from all the data points [3]. Surely the average would at least account for a decent proportion of those individuals, right? [3]. What Lieutenant Daniels found was that there was not even one individual who fit into the “average” measurements that were taken [3]. That’s right, ZERO [3].

It’s easy to brush this off as a fluke. However, our field seems to back this up. Holmes and Patrick [4] agreed that variability is not only normal, but it is necessary. They explained that there is a larger issue with our society that encourages the population to push toward some artificial, imagined average [4]. They encourage variations in our culture and in our population [4]. It is important as an adaptive and evolutionary function [4].

In the past, our society essentially needed averages so that we could attempt to address the majority of the population or “do the most good”. However, in our extremely progressive world, science has allowed to tailor everything to the individual. Rose and Ogas describe this as a “science of the individual” [2]. They explain that there is enough knowledge to conform the systems of nutrition, genetics, medicine, neuroscience, biology, and even psychology to the individual [2].

However, how do we know a psychopathology then? Surely each difference being necessary in an evolutionary standpoint cannot stand up when faced with the idea of disordered behavior [1]. Avram Holmes [4] argues that there simply cannot be a single phenotype alone that is worth diagnosing a psychological disorder. Behavior develops and is maintained as it serves some sort of function for the individual [5]. This means that the behavior alone is not implicitly “good” or “bad” [1].

Holmes [4] described studying a myriad of phenotypes simultaneously to understand whether or not a person should be diagnosed with something that is clinically relevant. With this in mind, biomarkers are then much more difficult to see as adequate predictors of psychological illnesses [4]. He explains that that there a single biomarker would never be enough to cause a psychological illness. In order to better predict this, he notes that a broader approach should be taken [1].

This is good news for those of us suffering from “graduate school disease”. When we see single variations in ourselves that could lend itself to a disorder, that is never enough to be able to diagnose a psychopathology or disordered behavior [1].

This is also good news for our clients. As budding clinicians, we are required to take into consideration the entire picture of the client—to tailor our field to fit more with the model of “the science of the individual” [2]. There is no singular line that we can draw between a “healthy” or “normal” brain compared to a “pathologized” or “disordered” one, let alone person [1].

 

References

  1. Cell Press (2018, February 20). When it Comes to Our Brains, There’s No Such Thing as Normal. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved February 20, 2018 from http://neurosciencenews.com/brain-normal-8527/
  2. Rose, T., & Ogas, O. (2018). There Is No Average Person. Here’s Why.. Psychology Today. Retrieved 19 April 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-science-the-individual/201601/there-is-no-average-person-heres-why
  3. Rose, T. (2016). The end of average: How to succeed in a world that values sameness. Penguin UK.
  4. Holmes, A. J., & Patrick, L. M. (2018). The myth of optimality in clinical neuroscience. Trends in cognitive sciences.
  5. Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis.

How to Take the EPPP

How to Take the EPPP

Are you ready to take the EPPP and become a licensed psychologist? You become eligible to take the EPPP by graduating from an accredited school with either a PhD or PsyD in psychology and by completing supervised clinical experience. Once you are eligible, you can move through the following steps towards exam day.

Step One: Apply for licensure 

Apply for licensure in the state you would like to practice in. Failing to do so before applying to take the EPPP will result in a fine. Per district rules and regulations of your state or province, the licensing authority thereof is responsible for ensuring your eligibility. Once your application is cleared, you will receive two consecutive emails that will instruct you on how to verify your account move on to EPPP registration.

Step Two: Apply for the EPPP

Complete and submit the EPPP application and submit your exam fee payment. Once you have paid your fee, you will receive an Authorization to Test letter (ATT). You must take the exam within 90 days of receiving your ATT.

Step Three: Schedule your Appointment

When you receive your ATT, it is time to schedule your exam. Most states and provinces use Pearson VUE test centers to administer the EPPP. You may test at any Pearson VUE testing center regardless of what state or province you are applying for licensure in. You can schedule your appointment with the Pearson VUE testing center by visiting their website www.pearsonvue.com/asppb/locate or by calling their national center at 1-800-513-6910.

 

When scheduling your appointment, have the following information available:

  • Your name as it is printed on your identification documents
  • Registration/ID number
  • Phone number
  • The exam sponsor, which is the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)
  • The exam you are taking, which is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)

Step Four: Take the EPPP

When you sit the exam, you will have the option to take a tutorial on how to select answers, review questions, and skip backward and forward through the test. This tutorial lasts five minutes and is not counted for your allotted test time. We recommend you take the tutorial because it can minimize anxiety during the exam. The more you know about your test, including how to use the system, the more confident you will be. Any opportunity to decrease anxiety is a good one!

Further Reading:

What is the CPLEE and What Does it Cover?

Are you on your way to California licensure and ready to take the CPLEE? It is helpful to know the components and background of the exam.

The California Psychology Laws and Ethics Examination (CPLEE) was developed and is maintained by the California Office of Professional Examinations Services (OPES) of the Department of Consumer Affairs. In July of 2015 it was determined that all psychologists seeking California licensure must successfully pass the CPLEE. Once you have finished a qualifying doctorate degree, completed all 3,000 hours of supervised and qualifying professional experience, and passed the EPPP, you are eligible to take the CPLEE.

The CPLEE is computer administered by Psychological Services, Inc. (PSI) throughout California and in some out of state locations. Call TSM at 1-877-510-5445 or email us at contactus@taylorstudymethod.com to find out the locations of testing centers in your area.

The CPLEE consists of 100 multiple choice questions regarding laws and ethics and candidates will have two and a half hours to complete the exam. 75 questions will be scored and 25 will remain unscored. A passing score is determined for each form of the exam by the California OPES of the Department of Consumer Affairs.

The CPLEE is made up of the following areas:

Area One: Confidentiality and Privilege

Makes up 14% of the exam

You will need to understand and apply the legal and ethical requirements regarding:

  • Mandated Reporting (4% of the section)
  • Privilege (4% of the section)
  • Confidentiality (6% of the section)

Area Two: Psychotherapeutic Relationships

Makes up 15% of the exam

You will need to understand and apply the legal and ethical requirements regarding:

  • Informed Consent (3% of the section)
  • Treatment of Minors (3% of the section)
  • Sexual Misconduct (3% of the section)
  • Multiple and Exploitative Relationships (3% of the section)
  • Termination of Relationship (2% of the section)
  • Telehealth (1% of the section)

Area Three: Interpersonal Relationships

Makes up 14% of the exam

You will need to understand and apply the legal and ethical requirements regarding:

  • Industrial/Organizational Consulting (3% of the section)
  • Psychological Consulting (3% of the section)
  • Personal Impairments (3% of the section)
  • Cultural Competence (5% of the section)

Area Four: Intervention, Evaluation and Assessments

Makes up 14% of the exam

You will need to understand and apply the legal and ethical requirements regarding:

  • Involuntary Treatment (4% of the section)
  • Duty to Protect (3% of the section)
  • Psychological Testing (4% of the section)
  • Forensic Services (3% of the section)

Area Five: Records

Makes up 11% of the exam

You will need to understand and apply the legal and ethical requirements regarding:

  • General Requirements (2% of the section)
  • Retention of Records (3% of the section)
  • Release of Records (4% of the section)
  • Electronic Recordkeeping (2% of the section)

Area Six: Administrative Issues

Makes up 5% of the exam

You will need to understand and apply the legal and ethical requirements regarding:

  • Fees and Arrangements (3% of the section)
  • Barter (1% of the section)
  • Notice to Consumers (1% of the section)

Area Seven: Professional Issues

Makes up 15% of the exam

You will need to understand and apply the legal and ethical requirements regarding:

  • Competence Boundaries (3% of the section)
  • Professional Consultation (3% of the section)
  • Peer Infractions (3% of the section)
  • Advertising and Marketing (1% of the section)
  • Disciplinary Actions (3% of the section)
  • Conflicts of Interest (2% of the section)

Area Eight: Scientific Research and Publication

Makes up 4% of the exam

You will need to understand and apply the legal and ethical requirements regarding:

  • Public Media (4% of the section)

Area Nine: Teaching, Training, and Supervision

Makes up 8% of the exam

You will need to understand and apply the legal and ethical requirements regarding:

  • Teaching and Supervision (3% of the section)
  • Professional and Continuing Education (1% of the section)
  • Supervision of Pre-licensed Clinicians (4% of the section)

TSM What is the EPPP?

Are you thinking about embarking on the journey of passing the EPPP? Or perhaps you’re already immersed in your EPPP study schedule. Either way, it is helpful to know the components of the EPPP and where it all began.

The Examination for the Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) was first administered in 1965. It was developed by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) to assist in the evaluation of psychology applicants by granting eligibility through licensure. Successful completion of the exam grants candidates license eligibility to practice psychology in the United States and Canada.

The EPPP is intended to cover the knowledge that is determined foundational for competency in the practice of psychology. It has questions in approximately eight topics:

1.Biological bases of behavior
2. Cognitive-affective bases of behavior
3. Social and cultural bases of behavior
4. Growth and lifespan development
5. Assessment and diagnosis of patients
6. Treatment, intervention, prevention, and supervision of patients
7. Research methods and statistics
8.Ethical, legal, and professional issues

The EPPP consists of 225 multiple choice questions to be answered in a span of four hours and fifteen minutes. 175 of the questions are scored while 50 remain unscored. Each multiple-choice question has four answers to choose from with one being the fully accurate choice. An EPPP score is given on a scale from 200 to 800 based on the total number of correct responses with no penalty given for incorrect answers. A candidate’s raw score is scaled to consider question difficulty which ensures that all tests can be compared equally.

Although licensing authorities in the United States and Canada are responsible for setting their own benchmarks regarding passing scores, more than 90% use a passing score of 500 which is the ASPPB recommendation. The Taylor Study Method is designed to guarantee your passing score on the first attempt regardless of licensing authority benchmarks.

Currently, the EPPP is administered in more than 275 Pearson VUE test centers across the United States and Canada. It is the second to last step in becoming a licensed psychologist followed by individual provincial and state boards. To become eligible to take the EPPP, one must take several steps such as graduation with a PhD or PsyD in Psychology from an accredited school, successful completion of supervised clinical experience, as well as state or province-specific requirements.

In March of 2017, the ASPPB announced the approval of a plan to develop an additional exam to complement the current EPPP. Named “EPPP Step 2,” it will focus on competency and asses a candidate’s therapy skills integrated with use of knowledge skills, attitudes, and values in psychology. EPPP Step 1 will continue to test knowledge. The launch date of EPPP Step 2 is set for January 2020.

If you’re unsure about the qualifiers in your state or province or if you have questions about EPPP Step 2 and how to get started on studying, give TSM a call. We can set you on the path towards success. Call us at 1-877-510-5445 or email us at contactus@taylorstudymethod.com

3 Ways to Rediscover the Joy on Your Path to Licensure

Many EPPP candidates admit that joy is hard to find during the study process. They experience a mental fatigue that can affect their attitude towards their career path as well as success on exam day. Although studying is likely the dominant factor in their mental fatigue, other circumstances can be blamed such as family trouble or stress at work.

Plenty of research on happiness has pointed to the fact that joy is created from the inside out as opposed to resulting from life circumstances. Therefore, to overcome mental fatigue and find joy, you must get outside of your own head.

Here are three ways to get out of your head and rediscover joy.

 

1. Be Healthy

Exercise is often the first item on the list that we sacrifice for additional study hours. Skipping out on the gym, however, can impact our experience of joy. Exercise releases endorphins, increases energy levels and oxygen flow to the brain, and ultimately increases memory and retention abilities. Consider exercise as part of your study routine.

Eating right is the second half of the healthy equation. Certain foods can increase your energy levels and help you focus. Eating leafy greens, for example, can make your brain function like it did when it was younger – sharper and more energized.2. Be Mindful

In short, mindfulness is purposefully paying attention to the moment. Because of our prefrontal cortex, we can observe our thinking and censor our own thoughts instead of falling victim to negative and passive thinking. Practice mindfulness by exercising moment-by-moment awareness of what is going on in your brain and body. Notice when you feel overwhelmed by EPPP study. On the flip side, notice when you are relaxed and experiencing happiness.

Mindfulness will come more easily with practice. Eventually, you may be able to tune into your emotions more quickly by recognizing how they alert your body. For example, perhaps you notice constant headaches and fatigue despite getting sufficient sleep. These are indicators that you are stressed. Through practicing mindfulness, you may be able to understand your body’s emotion indicators before you become overly stressed and eventually burnt out.

3. Be Grateful

Practicing gratitude can literally detoxify your brain. On average, we experience thousands of thoughts daily. Most of them flow into our mind quickly without us choosing to think them. Even if only a small percentage of our thoughts are negative, they can still number in the hundreds and affect our joy.

To cast out the negative thoughts, start by noticing them. Then, when you notice a negative thought, think about something or someone you are truly grateful for. Picture your beloved pet, your spouse, your child, or your career aspirations and achievements. Bringing yourself to a genuine feeling of gratitude will make the negativity vanish.

 

Further Reading

Exercise and Passing the EPPP: Why you Should Include Exercise in your EPPP Study Schedule

Brain Food: Holiday Treats to Boost Your EPPP Success

How Peace of Mind is a Skill That Can Be Developed With Practice 

The Three B’s of Mindfulness: Breath, Body and Brain

Use Gratitude to Detoxify Your Brain