The Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA) was founded in April, 2010, to provide representation for those clinical psychologists who have obtained accredited post-graduate qualifications in clinical psychology and meet the standards laid down for endorsement in clinical psychology to the public, government bodies, educational organisations, and other health professionals.
The Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) has determined that to obtain recognition as a clinical psychologist through endorsement four years of post-graduate training in clinical psychology is required. This may be undertaken as a two year accredited Masters degree in clinical psychology plus a two year registrar program of supervised practice, or a three year accredited Doctoral degree in clinical psychology plus a one year registrar program of supervised practice. A large proportion of those psychologists who were endorsed as clinical psychologists by the PsyBA were grandparented into endorsement without these necessary qualifications. ACPA enables members of the public, government bodies, educational organisations and other health professionals to identify those clinical psychologists with accredited professional training in clinical psychology.
ACPA was established in response to controversy resulting from the largest professional body representing psychologists in Australia, the Australian Psychological Society (APS), allowing a large number of psychologists without accredited postgraduate qualifications in clinical psychology entry to the College of Clinical Psychologists in order to enable them to obtain a higher rebate under Medicare than those not recognised by the APS as clinical psychologists.
In December, 2009, the CEO of the APS, Professor Lyndel Littlefield, publicly reprimanded Dr Deborah Wilmoth, Chair of the College of Clinical Psychologists of the APS, for supporting specialist registration for clinical psychologists in response to the PsyBA Consultation Paper on Registration Standards and Other Matters, despite specialist registration having the support of College members. Subsequently, the APS did not put forward the submission of the College to the PsyBA in which specialist title was supported. It is the aim of ACPA to continue to fight for specialist recognition of clinical psychology as a highly trained differentiated speciality in mental health, as it is in the rest of the developed English speaking world.
It has become increasingly apparent that the APS is unwilling and unable to represent the interests of accredited clinical psychologists, because those who have undertaken accredited post-graduate training in clinical psychology remain undifferentiated from those without this training in the membership of the College of Clinical Psychologists. Qualified clinical psychologists were, and remain, unable to be heard or to speak effectively within the APS on their own behalf.
It is now time to ensure that qualified clinical psychologists have a voice in the development of specialties in psychology and gain recognition as specialist clinical psychologists. This will also re-instate specialist titles to those in Western Australia, where specialist title had for 30 years enabled the public to select their psychologist based on the training they have undertaken.
The intention of having a professional organisation specific to clinical psychology with membership restricted to those with accredited post-graduate qualifications in clinical psychology is to define a clear standard for the profession and to enable other health professionals and the public to identify those clinical psychologists with extensive accredited training in mental health. The ACPA philosophy is to help clinical psychology graduates and members to continue to develop and enhance their skills and abilities through mentorship, ongoing supervision, and relevant ongoing education, professional development and training.
ACPA plays an increasing role in bringing to the awareness of Government, the Opposition, other health professionals and the public the expertise of qualified clinical psychologists in mental health.
Dr. Judy Hyde
Inaugural President ACPA 2010