Professional practice issues

The Psychology Board of Australia (the Board) is committed to ensuring that practitioners are made aware of relevant issues that inform professional practice.

Education training and reform

The Board considers education and training reform an important next step in the development of the regulatory environment for the psychology profession in Australia. One of the main areas of reform is the Board’s proposal to reduce regulatory burden and complexity of psychology training by retiring the 4+2 internship program as a pathway to general registration in favour of the 5+1 internship program. This education and training reform initiative is a Board priority project in the Board’s regulatory work plan (2016-2020)

The Board often receives feedback that psychology training is unnecessarily complex, fragmented and lengthy. The 4+2 internship program has a long history of serving the profession and employers well. The 4+2 internship program has many positive features and has produced high quality psychologists. However, more questions are being asked about the value of the 4+2 internship program in the contemporary context, including the regulatory burden of this pathway, the complexity and red tape associated with compliance with the 4+2 requirements, the lack of suitable paid placements that allow for development of all competencies, the burden of this pathway on both employers and supervisors, and the mismatch of this pathway with international benchmarks.

The starting point for this education training and reform agenda was in late 2015 when the Board brought together leaders across government, education, workforce, regulation and the profession to consider challenges with the existing arrangements. There were a number of outcomes from the forum, including that the 4+2 internship program was recommended for retirement as a pathway to general registration.

The Collaborative Working Party (CWP) was developed out of this forum and has been meeting and working towards viable solutions to the challenges raised at the forum. The CWP members are: the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC), the Australian Psychological Society (APS), the Heads of Departments and Schools of Psychology Association (HODSPA) and the Board. See the first Communiqué from the CWP in December 2015 for more information.

Notice of upcoming consultation

The Board plans to commence public consultation on the retirement of the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration towards in the first half of 2018.

The Board understands that if stakeholders support the retirement of the 4+2 internship, registrants, educational providers, supervisors and employers would need time to prepare. Current forth year students and 4+2 interns should know that a suitable transition period will be proposed in this consultation paper, which would allow for completion of the internship in the maximum allowable period.

Psychologists holding general registration, who had previously gained general registration on the basis of completion of the 4+2 internship program, will not be affected by the Board’s proposal to retire the 4+2 internship. These registrants will continue to be eligible for general registration under section 53(d) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory.

The consultation paper will be listed on the Board’s website and in the Board’s communiqué and newsletter. Should you wish to receive a direct email notification when the consultation is published, please indicate this request in writing to:

Page reviewed 8/02/2018