Message from ACPCPP

Dear Colleagues in RAPS

As President of Australian College of Psychologists in Clinical Private Practice, founded in 1982, I constantly receive complaints from members of our College and other psychologists.  (We are not an APS College although a majority have been APS members).

The most common complaint has been by psychologists who are both registered and experienced practitioners.  When psychologists advise a client to discuss with their GP a Better Access Health Plan, certain doctors tell the client they are not eligible to benefit from the plan because the psychologist they have chosen is not a clinical psychologist.

When I have asked GP’s what is the difference between a clinical psychologist and a non-clinical psychologist, they have no answer.  I then advise the GP to question the psychologist on what are their professional strengths and experience.

Twenty years ago it was not uncommon for young psychologists to complain that their university training was inadequate.  The solution to the problem has sent psychologists to rush off and get more university training.  Does this make sense?

Most successful psychologists have continued to receive practical supervision from senior experienced psychologists.  This needs to be recognized.

Don Burnard

President of ACPCPP




2 thoughts on “Message from ACPCPP

  1. Thanks for posting Don. I’d like to think this re floats the Practice-based evidence argument as being as valid as Evidence-based practice argument.

  2. Hi,

    1. When and what is the voting? 2. There is an error on your website where it is stated that: “…Australian Association of Psychologists Inc. (aapi) – a group of non APS and non-clinical psychologists”

    a. I am a member of the APS and a member of the AAPi (not aapi) b. There may be Mpsych members of the AAPi c. There are Psychologists practicing clinically with clinical experience who are members of the AAPi but not Endorsed by the APS. d. After obtaining Honours in Psychology ontop of a double major in Psych and Sociology, I studied Social Work (2 years graduate entry at Flinders University). I then worked in Mental Health Services for some years as a Clinical Case Manager and in the Courts and Refugee Torture and Trauma Counselling where I began my provisional registration as a Psychologist. I feel and know that I have ample Clinical Experience and should be endorsed as a Clinical Psychology because that is what I practice in my Clinic in my private practice. I am sick and tired of other professions misguiding people that my qualifications and services are inferior to graduates (however recent) of a Masters Program in Clinical Psychology and of Medicare paying aproximately a third less of a rebate to my clients than to twenty something Mpsych graduate who does not have my experience and training. This is just bad policy. People choose to see me because of my experience and qualifications, but are penalised because I am not endorsed. Transistion pathways are closed and had I joined a college of Clinical Psychology before they did I would now be endorsed and able to attract the higher rebate for my services. This is arbitrary and inconsistent with just and true policy. If I was to choose to study an Mpsych degree the competition for entry is hot. I would have to pay a lot of money, forgoe income while I studied topics I already know about and jump through competency hoops I have already been assessed as competent in via a very stringent supervision process in my provisional registration practicums spanning 2 years post Honours. There should be RPL for what I have done and there should be ways to assertain competencies without having to go to Uni for everything like a recent graduate. The practicum should be recognised as complete and exams for subjects be administered so that people in my situation can do some core subjects and perhaps a dissertation and some supervision sessions to fast track endorsement of Clinical Psychology and Masters. At the age of 52 my life and work experience should also be considered in a fair and equitable system. The current system seems to be focussed on empowering clincial psychology professors to have a never ending stream of applicants for their courses. Many of these endorsed clinical psychologist do very little clinical work and rest in the ivory towers of academia pontificating about things they teach but don’t do. Why are they considered superior to we who work day in day out with real people in real situations. Academic qualifications do not equal good outcomes for clients. No studies support that hypothesis and when medicare client outcomes for better access were studied it was the general psychologist not the clinical psychologists who attained the better results for clients. There is no evidence that a Mpsych qualification makes for better services for clients.

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