We value the work you do on behalf of West Virginia’s citizens, and we want to make your work as a citizen legislator as productive as it can be.

This page is designed to provide you with information during the 60-day session and throughout the year, so please visit us often for current information on mental health issues in West Virginia.  Should you have questions on a specific topic not covered here, please call the West Virginia Psychological Association office at 304.345.5805 or email info@wvpsychology.org.

Behavior Health Barometer: West Virginia, 2013

Dealing with Distressed Constituents

Developing a Safe School Environment

2014 Psychology Bill

Psychology: Facts vs. Myths

Preventing Suicide Among Children and Adolescents in West Virginia

Summary of “Economic, Neurological and Behavioral Perspectives on Building America’s Future Workforce”

The Virginia Threat Assessment Model


Sperry_LegislatorsDuring a recent visit to the West Virginia University Department of Family Medicine, Senate Finance Chair Roman Prezioso (center) talked with WVPA President Dr. Jeannie Sperry and other West Virginia University School of Medicine staff about the importance of psychologists’ involvement in health care. Pictured here (from left) are Family Medicine Chair Dr. Dana King, Dr. Sperry, Senator Prezioso, Health Science Center Chancellor Dr. Chris Colenda, and Director of Patient Centered Medical Home Implementation, Dr. Karen Fitzpatrick.  The team is discussed team-based health care in the patient centered medical home.






As a native West Virginian and President of the West Virginia Psychological Association (WVPA), I am asking West Virginia Senators and Delegates for your comments and support regarding our proposal to modify the Psychologist Licensure law.  Our legislative goal is threefold:
1.       to expand the current level of psychological services to West Virginians;
2.       to forever protect the title, income, and independent practice status of current masters degree psychologists;
3.       to  clarify and advance the required level of training for Psychologists in our state by 2015 so as to allow current masters candidate graduate students to obtain title until July 1, 2015.
West Virginians need increased psychological services. To that end, we seek to protect all currently practicing masters level psychologists as well as those students currently enrolled in West Virginia training programs.
This legislation will in time clarify to consumers what the term psychologist means educationally.  As many of you already know, citizens in the other 49 states have that clarity:  Licensed Psychologist means doctoral education and standardized training with oversight from the American Psychological Association.  This oversight helps protect our citizens by helping to ensure high standards of training. The other few states that previously licensed masters psychologists have already successfully completed this transition to doctoral requirements.
We also believe that by joining the rest of the nation in requiring a doctoral level education for all future psychologists after 2015, we will be in a better position to attract other doctoral psychologists to our state. Every titled profession has its bar of entry.   Legislators must be elected.  Generally, citizens know that legislators met that bar: they won a majority vote.  We seek that same common denominator for psychologists.   To define licensed psychologists with the same education–not precipitously, but over time in the future– will make the state more attractive to other doctoral psychologists.
We are not arguing unrealistically that psychologists will mass to our state because of this change. In time however, while we still have the protected services of masters degree psychologists, more doctoral psychologists will come because of the state’s recognition of their educational attainment.  Current doctoral psychologists from various organizations will feel more confident inviting them to a state which respects the same level of education that the other states now do.
Like the Kentucky license law, our bill would establish in the future three categories of licensed mental health professionals to preserve and extend services to our citizens in the future, while protecting current levels of service.
The American Psychological Association (APA) is the primary national association for psychologists.  It provides accreditation, guidelines, and monitoring to psychology training programs and internships nationwide. The APA supports our legislative effort.  Both psychology departments of West Virginia University and Marshall University support it as well.
The federal government authorizes only psychologists with doctoral training to serve three important West Virginia populations: our elderly under Medicare, our veterans in the VA, and communities with clinics designated as Federally Qualified Healthcare Clinics (FQHC).  We need to attract more doctoral psychologists to serve these West Virginians.
Please help us meet our goals:
–to expand the current level of psychological services to West Virginians.
-to protect the title, income, and independent status of masters degree psychologists;
-to clarify and advance the required level of training for Psychologists in our state
We want to hear questions, concerns, and suggestions regarding our bill. Please email them to Diane Slaughter, Executive Director of the West Virginia Psychological Association at info@wvpsychology.org.


Thank you for your time.




Jeannie Sperry, PhD
Licensed Psychologist
President, West Virginia Psychological Association