I am very happy that this embarrassing situation has been made so public now. The arguments put forward by the APS in favour of Clinical College members is insulting and candidly devaluing to the value of the work that I do. At least one third of my to one half of my caseload are financially disadvantaged clients who have “complex” and “severe” mental health issues. I see these cases in a bulk billing clinic and in my private practice. I manage these cases due to my previous history working in Child Protection Departments and clinical positions in jails all which was supervised work. These cases are “complex” due to the severity of symptoms and the social, financial stressors and history of drug and alcohol abuse and the transgenerational aspects of the issues. The “severity” of the cases is established through the long history of psychiatric intervention and current diagnosis and medication regimes. Many are socially isolated because of their mental health issues.
All of these “complex” cases are seen for more than the 10 rebated sessions and that is only if they have access to ATAPS. If they don’t have access to ATAPS then I see them for a significantly reduced fee in order to maintain the changes they have made – I see this as my ethical and professional obligation. Furthermore, unlike the majority of Clinical College Members I undertake regular fortnightly supervision to help manage the stress this caseload produces. I receive excellent feedback from referring GPs as is testified by the ongoing referrals. On average I see 25 clients over 4 to 5 contact days per week.
In making their submission the APS has failed to understand the nature of the work which generalist psychologists undertake in the field. The Clinical College is obliged to disclose the number of its member who do not have postgraduate training – this is, I am sure, a significant proportion of the “college” group. It is always interesting when a Clinical College Members fails to note their qualifications.
Sadly, I do not want my name published for fear of reprisals. After over 25 years of membership I am now seriously considering leaving the APS as I feel both devalued and betrayed. How can one remain a member of group one fears?