It’s Time To Raise Your Voice

Posted with permission from the Australian Psychologist facebook group.       By James Caulfield

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

As some of you may have noticed Australian psychologists are in the midst of a revolutionary struggle. It is a struggle for the heart and soul of the psychology profession. At its core is the fight against an ideological belief system that has come to dominate the profession and which I will refer to as Clinicalism. Clinicalism asserts that clinical psychologists are the preeminent experts in mental health by virtue of their ‘superior’ training and that they alone are capable of treating complex mental health conditions (apart from Psychiatrists whom they seek to emulate). Clinicalism makes a mockery of the scientist/practitioner model and the principles of evidence-based practice upheld by the psychology profession. There is no empirical evidence that clinical psychologists produce better client outcomes in the treatment of mental health conditions, or indeed that the training of clinical psychologists is superior to other psychologists. It is important to recognise that our struggle is not with clinical psychologists specifically but with the proponents of this repugnant ideology.

The ideology of Clinicalism is pervasive. One leading psychologist proponent voiced at the APS AGM in 2017; “I want to stamp the word Clinical on the foreheads of as many psychologists as I can”. An upcoming conference scheduled for 2019 is entitled “Clinical Psychology: Experience the Difference”. Proponents of Clinicalism strongly assert the superiority of clinical psychologists without producing empirically valid evidence to support their beliefs. Worryingly, an increasing number of employment positions exclusively employ clinical psychologists on the basis of this claim. Other employment positions indicate a substantially higher wage difference between clinical psychologists and other psychologists working in the same organisation. The dominance of Clinicalism has led to the atrophy of postgraduate programs in other areas of psychological practice to the detriment of the profession.

This spurious ideology and its pernicious effects should be anathema to all psychologists. When ideology trumps empirical evidence the foundational principles of the profession are threatened, and the integrity of all psychologists is called into question. Leaders within the profession that fail to condemn the two-tiered system that support Clinicalism should resign from their posts immediately. The only unity possible for those that promote Clinicalism is through the total colonisation of the psychology profession.

Those that have thus far sat on the sidelines of this struggle, it is time to take action.

Raise your voice and have your say:

1. Send a submission to the APS MBS Expert Committee. Deadline has been extended to Thursday 14 February 2019. You can find a template Here Send your submission to mbsconsult@psychology.org.au.

2. Complete the survey

3. Write letters and meet with your local and federal MPs.

Psychology is your profession; if you don’t fight for it, who will?