Psychology Board of Australia - July 2022
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July 2022


Issue 34 - July 2022

From the Chair

Rachel Phillips

Supervision is the critical link for a provisional psychologist to safely turn theory into practice. With the demand for psychologist services predicted to remain high for many years to come, the Board is focused on supporting supervisors to maintain their approved status. The majority of Board-approved supervisors will need to complete a master class in 2022 and 2023 if they intend to keep supervising provisional psychologists. If you are a supervisor, we strongly encourage you to register with a master class provider early due to the expected demand. 

Rachel Phillips

Chair, Psychology Board of Australia

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Board news

Supervisors, your refresher training and renewals are coming up!

The Board’s Supervisor guidelines require supervisors to complete refresher training every five years to maintain their Board-approved supervisor (BAS) status. More supervisors than ever before will be required to complete their refresher training between now and July 2023.

Supervisors with a BAS status expiry date before July 2023 will have recently received an Ahpra email reminder that refresher training is due, with full details on renewal requirements. You can also check your BAS status expiry date on the Board’s online list of Board-approved supervisors.

There are 15 Board-approved providers of master classes across Australia. You can find their contact details and websites on the Board’s Supervisor training page. Due to the high demand expected over the coming months, we encourage you to book early to secure your preferred provider and master class topic. Once you have completed training, you must apply to maintain Board approval using the MBAS-76 form.

If you do not meet refresher training requirements your BAS status will lapse and your name will be removed from the Board’s online list of supervisors.

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Education and training reform update

We are continuing our review of the competencies for general registration as part of the education and training reform (ETR) program of work. The purpose of the ETR program is to update the competencies to ensure they are contemporary, and that they clearly outline the expectations of the threshold competencies required for safe and effective psychology practice in Australia.

This year we have been carrying out the groundwork necessary to ensure that refreshed competencies incorporate essential elements that are missing in the current competencies. This includes:

  • expanding the requirements for culturally safe and trauma-informed care when working with diverse groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, families, and communities
  • better explaining the competency requirements for reflective practice and self-care.

We have done preliminary consultation on our early draft competencies, testing our proposals with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander psychology groups and other key stakeholders. We are taking our time to carefully incorporate the feedback we have received to date, and to ensure that the competencies are thoughtfully improved.

Two working groups have been appointed to collaborate on the ETR program of work, and to provide a forum for engagement between the Board and key stakeholders. The working groups include representatives from the following groups:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander psychologists
  • the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council
  • the Heads of Departments and Schools of Psychology Association
  • professional associations.

Once we have finalised a set of draft competencies, we will conduct our usual wide-ranging public consultation to seek your feedback. We expect our draft to be ready for consultation in late 2022 or early 2023.

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Code of conduct update

In 2020 the Board decided to develop a code of conduct that will apply to all registered psychologists. We must use robust governance processes when we develop standards, codes and guidelines, so it is important that we develop and review the code that we use. We are also looking to better align our code with the shared code of conduct that is used by most other regulated health professions. More information about the decision to develop a code of conduct can be found on our website.

Since our last update, the Board’s expert advisory group has prepared a preliminary draft of the Board’s code. This draft version incorporated all the research and development from the past year and the expert group’s advice on issues specific to psychological practice.

We then tested the draft code with key regulatory partners. Overall, there was good regulatory alignment between the draft code and the currently endorsed code of ethics. User feedback was also positive about how the code could be applied in regulatory processes.

The next stage in development of the code is preliminary consultation with targeted stakeholders. Following this, we will release the draft code for public consultation, and invite psychologists, stakeholders and the community to provide feedback. The Board will use the results of the public consultation to determine the final version of its code.

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Psychology demographic snapshot

We have published a psychology profession demographic snapshot that has been produced by Ahpra’s Research and Evaluation team. Our intention is to update the snapshot annually.

The snapshot report was collated using:

The snapshot can be accessed on the Board’s website. Quarterly registrant statistics continue to be published on our Statistics page.

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Regulation at work

Latest tribunal and court summaries

We regularly publish court and tribunal summaries for their educational value for the profession. Here are recent tribunal cases.

Psychologist reprimanded for unprofessional conduct

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has reprimanded a psychologist after it was found she had engaged in unprofessional conduct. Read more

Former psychologist reprimanded and disqualified for professional misconduct

A former psychologist who had an inappropriate relationship with a patient, and deceived the Psychology Board in the subsequent investigation, has been reprimanded by a tribunal and disqualified from applying for registration for three years. Read more

Psychologist reprimanded and prohibited for boundary violations

A tribunal has reprimanded a psychologist and prohibited her from providing any mental health, psychological or counselling services for three years after finding the practitioner’s boundary violations with a patient and failure to provide adequate psychological services amounted to professional misconduct. Read more

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We’re reviewing the English language skills standard – have your say

English language standards apply to all psychologists applying for registration in Australia. It’s time to review the standard that applies to psychologists applying for registration for the first time. The standard is consistent across all professions in the National Scheme, so all National Boards (except the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia) are involved in this consultation.

You can share your feedback on the English language standard through the online consultation survey or email written submissions to [email protected]. There is a Word document submission template.

The consultation closes on 7 September 2022.

For the consultation paper and more information, see the Ahpra Consultations page.

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National Scheme news

Psychologists podcast on safe healthcare for LGBTQIA+ patients

Ahpra’s Taking care podcast series offers professional and consumer perspectives on current issues and answers some frequently asked questions about public safety in healthcare. Download and listen to the latest episode today. You can also listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and by searching ‘Taking care’ in your podcast player.

What do practitioners need to know to provide safe healthcare for LGBTQIA+ patients?

Providing safe healthcare for LGBTQIA+ communities as a practitioner is the focus of the latest Taking care episode, which follows our episode focusing on the patient experience.

We hear from clinical neuropsychologist, Board member of the Victorian Pride Centre, and Commissioner at the Victorian Multicultural Commission, Dr Judy Tang; and clinical psychologist and Senior Research Fellow, Dr Lee Cubis. Together they speak about the changes, small and big, that practitioners can make to deliver safe care to LGBTQIA+ patients.

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Check out the new Resources hub

A new hub on the Ahpra website means it’s now easier to find helpful resources.

The Resources hub was launched in late June and aims to support practitioners’ professional practice and the public to make safer health choices. It consolidates multiprofession policy resources for practitioners and the public and makes resources easier to find.

The hub also links to National Board websites for profession-specific guidance and information.

Information is grouped for practitioners and the public so visitors to the hub can quickly locate the information relevant to them. For example, telehealth guidance for practitioners and what the public should look out for in health advertising.

New resources will be added to the hub as they are developed.

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Pandemic response sub-register gets a boost

In September 2021, Ahpra and the National Boards established a new sub-register (the 2021 sub-register), enabling recently retired practitioners from 12 regulated health professions including pharmacy to return to practice for up to 12 months.

There are now 20,730 health practitioners with temporary registration on the sub-register to support the COVID-19 response. They are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners, dental practitioners (all divisions), diagnostic radiographers, medical practitioners, midwives, nurses, occupational therapists, optometrists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and psychologists.

All practitioners on the 2021 sub-register can work to the full scope of their registration (subject to any notations). Their registration expires on 21 September 2022. However, if governments alert Ahpra and the National Boards to significant changes in need, the sub-register may stay open for longer.

See pandemic response sub-register and FAQs for practitioners for more information. There are also FAQs for employers.

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Senate Committee tables its report

The Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee has tabled its report on the inquiry into the Administration of registration and notifications by Ahpra and related entities under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

Ahpra actively engaged with the inquiry, with representatives of Ahpra, the Agency Management Committee and Community Advisory Council all appearing. There were public submissions and stakeholder appearances.

We will consider the recommendations directed to Ahpra and National Boards and contribute to the Australian Government response, as requested.

The report is available on the Inquiry web page.

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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 9285 3010 (for overseas callers).
  • Address mail correspondence to: Rachel Phillips, Chair, Psychology Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958 Melbourne VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 22/11/2022