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Credentialing in Addiction Psychology

The Society of Addiction Psychology (SOAP) serves as the primary leadership body within the American Psychological Association (APA) for reviewing and defining what it means for a doctoral level state licensed psychologist to be proficient in the treatment of addiction.  Every seven years, SOAP convenes to update the definition and literature related to the proficiency for addiction psychology through a formal review process with Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSPPP).  CRSPPP is an formal body within APA to manage this process for all specialties and proficiencies for psychologists.  In fact, there are many areas where proficiencies and specialties are defined (see  The proficiency pertaining to the treatment as pertaining to addiction psychology as defined now (see is approved through 2024, following a long history of recognition through several cycles of review since it was first recognized in 2001.

Historically the proficiency was defined to help psychologists meet state-level demands to document their proficiency.  The proficiency set the standards to allow for development of an exam and credentialing process resulting in a certificate of proficiency.  In the past, the American Psychological Association Practice Organization (APAPO) and its College of Professional Psychology (COPP) provided an examination process and certificate to recognize proficiency in this area.  Due to changes at APAPO, the management of this process has been refined.  Now individual doctoral level licensed psychologists who need or are otherwise looking to have a credential speaking to their proficiency in the area of addictions treatment may secure the Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) from the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals).  Previous holders of the certificate from COPP were able to transfer their credential to obtain a MAC.  Going forward, SOAP will be working with NAADAC, CRSPPP, and others in the practice leadership bodies at APA to work together to maintain a way for psychologists to demonstrate this proficiency. 




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