• Since 2006 the Federal Government has been encouraged to view my expertise in clinical practice to be more than $40 per treatment session less in value than some of my clinical psychologist colleagues. On a full time client load I am considered by our Federal Government to be around $1200.00 per week of less value. On an annual basis (46 week working year) I earn more than $50,000 per year less than some of my colleagues. That is one diversity I and the vast majority of psychologists do not want to celebrate!
• Since 2011 Centrelink has chosen not to accept my psychological assessments anymore. I, along with many thousands of my non-clinical psychologist colleagues have been deemed unsuitable for writing psychological assessments for Centrelink while other APS members have been allowed to continue. That is another diversity I and the vast majority of psychologists do not want to celebrate!
• Since about 2011 the amount of time and money I have had to spend to combat against the negative public perception of being a psychologist treating and assessing mental health without the endorsed title of ‘clinical’ continues to grow.
• When writing reports for WorkCover and other Insurance companies they will often question my billing because I am not a ‘clinical’ psychologist and expect I bill lower than their recommended standard fee for assessment and treatment.
• Now more recently, when providing expert witness testimony in court I spend half of the testimony justifying my expertise to either the defence or prosecution in the context of not being a ‘clinical’ psychologist.
How have General Psychologists let this happen when we have double the number of psychologists? Today there are an estimated 30,000 general psychologists in Australia, and only 10,000 clinical psychologists and 4,000 other endorsed psychologists.
The APS is no longer the Society we once loved and knew. It has taken our money and used it against us.
Without the influx of the 4+2’s in the 90’s, the APS would still be a small organisation. Its time to pull out!
Let’s leave the APS to the clinicals and join forces with the AAPI. Former directors – who know how the board works – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Dr Felicity Allen, Jill Wright – have already joined the AAPi. They know the APS is a lost cause.
Below are a few crucial points to consider:
(1) Psychology in Australia is one single nationally registered and regulated health profession.
(2) Currently in Australia, and throughout the history of psychology practice in Australia, once a psychologist is registered to practice they can go about practising as a psychologist with no conditions and/or restrictions.
(3) Psychologists are under an ethical and legal obligation to practice within the scope of their capabilities.
(4) The scope of a psychologist’s practice capabilities changes over the course of their professional careers within the context of ongoing professional development, work opportunities/experiences, reflective practice, peer supervision and all other applications of the life long learning process.
(5) All psychologists are registered and regulated through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) because all psychologists are considered Health Practitioners.
(6) The specific area of health that all psychologists are registered to practice in is Mental Health. Thus, all psychologists gain registration to practice in the specialised field of mental health through AHPRA. In this context, all psychologists are mental health specialists deemed so by their registration to practice as a psychologist through AHPRA.
(7) Once registered through AHPRA and in practice, psychologists will apply their speciality of mental health service provision through a range of areas and contexts. For example; through such things as organisations, sports teams, community groups, schools, the forensic setting, NGO’s