A former member comments on the “missing evidence”

“I know ( because I was present at National Branch Chair meetings) that the APS leadership suggested, prior to Mr Abbott, that they push for clinical psychologists to be approved for Medicare rebates and their argument was that it would open the door for all other psychologists later.The foot in the door approach.

The membership (via the Branch Chairs) did not approve of that suggested policy approach. In my opinion, it is most likely the APS leadership then began to operate without transparency to push the agenda of clinical psychologists as ultimately the only psychologists left standing.

It was consistent with the then objective for the APS to raise the profile and incomes of psychologists. In my view they have attempted to do that by creating an elite group.

The ultimate agenda must be to have a reduced number of psychologists so that their incomes are high. In the same way psychiatrists can charge high rates because they are in demand and they are small in number or an elite.

John Ralston Saul discusses this kind of approach in his book Voltaire’s Bastards. That is, a society where specialisation is promoted and communication is devalued. Jargon is developed which obstructs communication. Rigorous training in the use of professional jargon is required. Ring any bells?

Psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist does an excellent job of explaining the half brained approach to education that technocrats prefer in his book The Master and his Emissary.

While it is important we stand up and call out the lack of evidence for the policy decisions which have led to the current situation, we should also understand this phenomena in a critical analytical manner. That is, we need to understand the real agenda.

It is not enough to call out injustice. Directors on the APS Board were charged with raising the professional profile and incomes of psychologists. They have done that.

There is a benefit in the goal they had of psychologists who are nor clinical becoming redundant sooner rather than later. The benefit is that psychologists will be almost the elite equivalent of psychiatrists.”

<name withheld>

3 thoughts on “A former member comments on the “missing evidence”

  1. Jane that would be the Australian Association of Psychologists Inc. They are recognised by governments as a peak body representing psychologists in Australia.

  2. Thank you so much for your explanation. The desperation in the actions of those pushing the clinical barrow was confusing to me as I could not understand their agenda. Then I twigged. Their agenda must be to eliminate all 4+2 trained psychologists from the workforce. Your article confirms my suspicions. Now it all makes sense, but what a frightening prospect! And how unfair to the public.

    1. 4 + 2 psychologists are being eliminated from the workforce for years – at least in the state government Mental Health jobs. I am a 4+2 psychologist (Plus Master of Mental Health Practice) and I have some experiences that clearly indicate the undermining (even discrimination) of registered psychologists in jobs with the public health sector. I once saw an advertisement for a job in a state health system that announcing that the position is open to nurses, social workers and CLINICAL psychologists. I rang to ask why it is not available to registered psychologists as well. The answer from the recruitment person was precisely this: “OBVIOUSLY, YOU ARE NOT QUALIFIED”

      I have worked in Mental Health in NSW on a secondment from Drug and Alcohol services, but despite being told I have done very good job, I had no chance to get a proper contract in that job because the psychology department (clinical psychologists) were specifying on every job ad that they want clinical psychologist only. This was happening – and still is – all over the country.
      I see a problem with APS being silent when psychology jobs are being given to professions with three or four years training, but clinical psychologists actively preventing registered psychologists entering these jobs.

      I have seen booklets printed by (then) Medicare Local about MHNIP and distributing to the public, stating that the program is a PSYCHOLOGICAL intervention provided by nurses. Really? I have great respect for the nursing profession, but I would not say that I provide a nursing intervention after completing a first aid course. I had to train for six years to have the right to provide psychological interventions and at the end it is not even politically correct to object to other professions claiming to do the same with minimal or no relevant training?
      I once sent a comment to APS, but never got a word back. They never seem to advocate for all psychologists.

      This brings me to a question – what is the plan B – if we don’t achieve out objective of spilling the board and all the rest? Over the years, some of my fellow psychologists asked me me if there is another association to represent us. What is the answer?

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