Serving on the Iowa Board of Psychology

Interested in serving the profession? Enjoy thinking broadly about rules and processes and how to make things work effectively? Willing to make difficult, high-stakes decisions in order to ensure that the public is protected from incompetent or unethical behavior from psychologists? Tolerant of paperwork and meetings? Interested in connecting with colleagues you might not otherwise meet? You should consider applying to serve on the Iowa Board of Psychology! (It occurs to me that I’ve made Board service sound really dry – it’s actually not, it feels more like a group of passionate people getting together to talk about how to ensure that Iowans have access to high-quality, effective care from psychologists.)

My favorite part of serving on the Iowa Board of Psychology has been the opportunity to develop a broader understanding of how the profession functions. The Board is charged with regulating the practice of psychology in the state, which includes establishing rules around licensure and granting licenses, establishing rules that govern the practice of psychology and expectations around standard of care, and reviewing complaints filed against psychologists. The central guiding principle of the board is the protection of the public by promoting ethical, competent practice by psychologists.

The board meets once every three months, and meetings usually last around 3 hours. Depending on the agenda, zero to three hours of prep time before the meeting might be necessary to review materials. A typical agenda might include review of any requests for variations in the licensure process, a report from the professional Board staff (who are employees of the Iowa Department of Public Health) about current licensure-related changes in state law or practice, discussion of any relevant issues facing the profession, and review of complaints submitted against licensed psychologists. Mileage is reimbursable, but other than that it is a volunteer position. Meetings are currently entirely virtual, and I suspect there will continue to be options for participating via video if you live far from Des Moines and do not want to drive to meetings.

The volume of complaints against psychologists varies substantially from meeting to meeting. If a complaint is filed against you, this does not need to be cause for immediate panic. Clients submit a range of complaints for a range of reasons, some of which represent unethical or incompetent practice and some of which do not. The board typically will want the psychologist to submit their records and a written response to the complaint.  The board then reviews the complaint and response, and can decide to close the complaint with no further action, issue some sort of education or warning to the psychologist, or proceed to a Statement of Charges against the psychologist that will lead to either a settlement agreement or a formal hearing. Only complaints that reach the Statement of Charges become public. Much more information is available at 

Serving on the Board has also been a really nice opportunity to get to know other psychologists from around the state. The Board has 5 members who are licensed psychologists and 2 members of the general public. All board members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, and there is an attempt to ensure that the Board members have a diversity of backgrounds and identities, as well as a diversity of practice situations and geographical distribution within the state. Members are appointed for three-year terms, and can serve for up to three terms (nine years total). 

Why yes, you say, this sounds like important and interesting work! Well, head over to and apply -- the Board currently has two open seats, with a 3rd seat opening up this spring due to term limits. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Lisa Streyffeler, PhD ([email protected]) or Matt Cooper, PsyD ([email protected]) for more information.

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