Psychology Board of Australia - April 2024
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April 2024


Issue 39 - April 2024

From the Chair

Rachel Phillips

In January 2024, the Board published updated guidance on the pathways for psychologists seeking an area of practice endorsement. This includes the process for applicants who believe they hold a domestic postgraduate qualification that is equivalent or based on similar competencies to an approved program.

The Board has developed a video to provide further information on eligibility requirements and the application process – the article below has more information and a link to the video.

Rachel Phillips
Chair, Psychology Board of Australia

Priority news

Updated approach to assessing applications for endorsement

The Board has updated its approach to assessing applications for endorsement from individuals with Australian postgraduate qualifications and released a new application form to support the change.

Area of practice endorsement identifies psychologists who have completed an approved postgraduate qualification, or a postgraduate qualification that is substantially equivalent or based on similar competencies to an approved qualification, and supervised training in an area of practice.

The updated approach allows for the assessment of postgraduate qualifications, other than those already approved, against the professional competencies for each of the nine areas of practice endorsement outlined in the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) Accreditation Standards for Psychology Programs.

Approved qualifications are APAC-accredited in one of the nine areas of practice endorsement and have also been approved by the Board for registration and endorsement. For example, a Master of Clinical Psychology is approved for clinical psychology endorsement.

Psychologists with general registration who hold other postgraduate qualifications that may be substantially equivalent or based on similar competencies to an approved qualification, can now apply for endorsement using the new application form AEAE-76.

The AEAE-76 application fee of $640 reflects the time and expertise that will be required to assess these non-standard applications for endorsement.

The Board can only accept applications for area of practice endorsement from applicants who hold postgraduate qualifications. We will not accept continuing professional development activities, incomplete qualifications, undergraduate qualifications, or work experience as being substantially equivalent or based on similar competencies to a Board-approved qualification.

Psychologists who hold approved qualifications will continue to apply for endorsement on completion of an approved registrar program using the AECR-76 form. There is no change in the fee, the application process or requirements for these practitioners.

Our updated approach to assessing applications for endorsements follows a 2022 tribunal decision about an applicant who held post-graduate qualifications. In this decision, the tribunal determined that the two postgraduate qualifications completed by the practitioner were substantially equivalent to, or based on similar competencies, to those of the Board-approved qualification.

For more information

Board news

Updating the general registration competencies

A summary of your feedback on our recent public consultation on updating the general registration competencies has now been published on our Past consultations page. Key points include:

  • A clear majority of submissions (85 per cent) support the proposal to update the competencies for general registration. Reasons for support included the importance of refreshing the competencies to remain contemporary, strengthening the cultural safety competencies, including self-care, reflexivity and deliberate practice, and better aligning our competencies with international benchmarks.
  • There was strong support for publishing the competencies at least 12 months before they take effect and aligning the date of effect with the renewal period, to help psychologists plan and complete any required continuing professional development.
  • There were some suggested improvements to the competency titles and their descriptors to increase clarity. We have incorporated many of these changes, including placing more emphasis on digital health, neurodiversity, and working with carers, families and those with lived experience.
  • Some stakeholders suggested changes to the competencies that, after careful review, we have decided not to incorporate. We did not include suggestions that were not in line with the holistic and high-level approach to the competencies; those that were only relevant to providing direct client care or only relevant to a particular client group; or wording changes that reduced the clarity of the competency.

The next steps in our consultation process are to incorporate your feedback into the Professional competencies for psychologists and seek approval from health ministers to remove the current competencies from the Provisional and General registration standards. We will also begin work on developing the additional resources and guidance documents to help you use the competencies in your scope of practice.

Once all documents have been approved and deemed fit for purpose, we will confirm the date of effect of the competencies and publish them at least 12 months before this date. The current competencies for general registration will continue to be used until the updated competencies take effect. We will provide updates about our progress in this newsletter and on our website.

Board-approved supervisor resources

We recently updated and expanded the list of providers who can deliver Board-approved supervisor (BAS) training.

There are currently over 10,500 psychologists who also hold BAS status. To become an approved supervisor for the first time, or to retain your current status, you will need to successfully complete the relevant supervisor training with an approved training provider.

Please check you are completing supervisor training with an approved provider before you start your training program.

The Guidelines for supervisors outline our requirements for psychologists to obtain and maintain BAS status, and set out the Board’s policy for refusing or revoking supervisor approval. The Supervision FAQs webpage also has helpful information for current and future supervisors.

Registration news

Latest workforce data released

The Board’s latest quarterly registration data report covers the period to 31 December 2023. At this date, there were 46,673 registered psychologists, including 37,545 with general registration, 7,036 with provisional registration and 2,092 with non-practising registration.

For further data breakdowns by division, age, gender and principal place of practice, visit the Board’s Statistics page to read the report.

Beware of identity theft – don’t post your registration certificate online

Successfully registering with Ahpra is the last green light for new graduates starting their career in their chosen profession. It’s an exciting step and one to feel immensely proud of. The temptation might be strong to celebrate by sharing your first registration certificate with the world – but think twice before posting.

Identity theft is rife. Every day, websites pop up selling fake Ahpra certificates of registration based on real ones that graduating practitioners have posted on their social media. Never post your identity documents online. You’ve worked hard to earn your registration; don’t let somebody steal it.

Regulation at work

Latest court and tribunal summaries

Psychologist disqualified for boundary violation and providing substandard care to a patient

A psychologist is banned from applying for registration for the next three years after a tribunal found she had committed a serious boundary violation relating to a client she also provided substandard care to. Read more in the news item.

Psychologist suspended for 20 months for failing to maintain professional boundaries

A psychologist has been reprimanded by a tribunal for failing to maintain professional boundaries with her clients and a former employee. Read more in the news item.

Former psychologist reprimanded, disqualified from applying for registration and prohibited from providing health services

A former Queensland psychologist has been reprimanded by a tribunal and disqualified from applying for registration for 24 months for professional misconduct that included providing non-evidence-based treatments and not maintaining adequate clinical records. Read more in the news item.

Victorian psychologist reprimanded by tribunal for professional misconduct in multiple treating relationships

A Victorian psychologist who treated two patients as both a psychologist and nutritionist has been reprimanded by a tribunal for professional misconduct and been put under supervision. Read more in the news item.

Former psychologist disqualified for four years

A Victorian psychologist has been disqualified for four years for failing to maintain professional boundaries, having multiple relationships with a client, poor record-keeping and substandard care. Read more in the news item.

What’s new?

Updated vaccination and immunisation information for practitioners

Ahpra has published updated FAQs for practitioners about vaccination and immunisation on its website.

This follows a recent consultation by Ahpra and the National Boards with key stakeholders about what information would be helpful for registered health practitioners about vaccination and immunisation, taking into account public health advice and the high rates of vaccination against COVID-19 in Australia.

The updated information draws from the National Boards’ regulatory tools, including:

Position statements that were developed using the same regulatory tools and released at the height of the pandemic are still available as a record of the clear guidance provided to practitioners during a worldwide pandemic.

Kruk review recommends reform to ease workforce shortages

In December 2023, National Cabinet considered the findings of the Kruk review into health practitioner regulatory settings and qualification recognition for overseas-trained health professionals and international students who have studied in Australia.

The final report from Ms Robyn Kruk AO made 28 recommendations for reform and focused on opportunities to streamline health practitioner regulation to ease skills shortages in critical health professions. The Board will be working with other National Boards, stakeholders and Ahpra to look for opportunities to streamline registration for overseas-trained psychologists.

For more information

Ahpra partnership with Weenthunga Health Network guiding critical reform work to eliminate racism in healthcare

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have the right to access and work in healthcare that is culturally safe and free from racism. The health practitioner regulator’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Unit is supporting the Cultural Safety Accreditation and Continuing Professional Development Working Group and Weenthunga Health Network, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consultancy, to co-design and develop nationally consistent standards, codes and guidelines on cultural safety for registered practitioners.

The Cultural Safety Accreditation and Continuing Professional Development Framework and Strategy is a multi-year project, grounded by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of being, knowing and doing. By embedding cultural safety in accreditation and continuing professional development requirements for all 16 regulated health professions in the National Scheme, we will ensure consistency and accountability to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and health workers.

Cultural safety is patient safety. Racist and culturally unsafe practice and behaviour towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples will not be tolerated, as seen in the landmark ruling of a doctor banned for discriminatory and offensive behaviour.

Read more in the media release.

Have your say on the role of consumers in accreditation

The Ahpra Accreditation Committee invites you to give feedback on its draft proposed principles to strengthen the involvement of consumers in accreditation.

The committee is developing the principles to ensure meaningful involvement of consumers in accreditation activities in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. This will support diversity of input into accreditation functions and enable responsive and person-centred processes that value and respect the views of consumers.

The consultation is open until 18 April 2024. Find out more about this consultation and provide feedback at the Accreditation Committee’s Current consultations webpage.

Keep in touch with the Board

  • Visit the Psychology Board website for information on the National Scheme and for the mandatory registration standards, codes, guidelines, policies and fact sheets.
  • Lodge an enquiry form via the website by following the Contact us link on the bottom of every page.
  • For registration enquiries call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 9125 3010 (for overseas callers).
  • Address mail correspondence to: Rachel Phillips, Chair, Psychology Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958 Melbourne VIC 3001. 
Page reviewed 3/04/2024