Joseph Gagliano DGPP candidate speaks out

I came to psychology later in life.

This was after many years working in a very large, high-profile airline in Australia.

After a workplace injury and attending several psychologists for assistance, my vocation was found.

I worked full time and studied full time to achieve this profession (with a Masters   in Counselling Psychology).

Along the journey of study I discovered the wide variety and knowledge in psychology.

The psychology profession to me was such a magnificent cornucopia of styles and manners, of individuals providing psychological training, support, theory guidance and help, in a variety of styles and manners.

I became a proud member of the profession that had been in existence for a very long time. I understood that individual clients could have their different needs, and that different psychologists would have a variety of styles, using the psychological theory that was required for their clients.  As we have a restriction on the term psychologists (as opposed to counsellor), only psychologists registered and qualified with the appropriate authorities could provide psychological services – but at least we were all psychologists.

Imagine my horror when thousands of my colleagues, and me, were relegated to second class citizens in 2006 with the introduction of the two tier Medicare rebate.

More importantly, I now see so many clients often waiting a long time to see clinical psychologists, simply because the rebate is higher for clients of clinical psychologists. Yet we non-clinical psychologists, many of whom do have qualifications of equivalent standard (Masters in Counselling), and in many cases higher, are relegated to the bottom of the two-tier rebate arrangement.

And our peak industry body (the APS) has done what to bring all psychologists into line? NOTHING

And has our peak industry body (the APS) at least advocated for ALL psychologists? NO.

Yet, as a little aside, the APS has taken the same fees from all psychologists, not a higher ‘rebate’/fee from the clinical psychologists.

The APS has been in existence for over 50 years. For a very long time it represented the interests of all psychologists, and psychology in Australia. However, with the submission to Medicare in 2006 for the two tier, and no advocating for other psychologists since, and entrenching and augmenting the support for clinicals since, the APS has blatantly represented one group only.

Essentially, the APS and the Board, when asked to consider and represent non-clinicals, their reduced income and business, the reduction in variety of psychology courses and styles, and many Australians not accessing timely services provided by all psychologists, stand as Rhett Butler did (‘Gone with the Wind’) and glared  “I don’t give a damn”.

The APS did not provide adequate evidence for a submission to government about clinical psychologists having superior abilities and has not done so since.

Yet a MAJORITY of psychologists in Australia (34,414 registered psychologists with the Psychology Board of Australia, of which 7,744 are clinical endorsed [PsyBA report 31 March 2017]), are not really represented by the APS and the Board.

I am adamant I want to change this. To keep our profession diverse, to keep our profession respectful and to keep our profession progressive. To ensure that ALL psychologists are represented by the APS.

I am very concerned that the ‘peak’ awareness of the psychology area is Psychology week, in October. Yet Australians need to be aware of the variety of work psychologists do the whole year round, since psychological issues occur 365 days per year. The APS needs to make the psychology profession and psychologists the go to for psychological information, opinion and assistance.

Yet it appears the mantle has been passed to Beyond Blue – not our peak body.

The AMA represents doctors, and is referred to at least weekly for opinions, suggestions and information, on behalf of doctors. Who publicly represents psychologists in the public’s eye? They think it is Beyond Blue

I am still shocked that there are many people I speak with who do not know what psychologists do. In 2017, so many people call us counsellors. Many in the population do not know the difference between psychiatrists and psychologists. The APS has been asleep at the wheel in promoting our profession.

There are so many opportunities for the APS and psychologists, to develop awareness of our great profession. We need to be approached for comment, knowledge, advice and public opinion for workplace issues (bullying, WorkCover and workplace injuries), for social issues, for health issues, for education issues, for relationship issues – yet the APS has not promoted this for ALL to promote our profession. The go to body has become Beyond Blue – not the APS.

My firm belief is that the APS must represent ALL qualified and registered psychologists. It must definitely represent all members, not a small group. If the APS was more inclusive, we may well increase our membership.

I would like to emphasise the ‘APS’ stands for Australian Psychological Society – not the Australian CLINICAL Psychology Society. Yet since 2006, it has represented the interests of one group. I wish to represent ALL Australian psychologists in the APS.

When I see politicians wearing their Queensland, Victorian, NSW or other state badges, I am always filled with sadness. I believe that Australia is the focus, not just states. Yet each State is diverse, with its own style, needs, quirks, and opportunities, to provide its resources and people to make one country.

I believe the same in psychology.

We are all psychologists, with different styles, educational history, passion and knowledge, willing to be a part of one big profession – not just individuals (clinicals). The profession existed prior to 2006 with the different styles. It must be allowed to become a multidisciplinary profession again.

And our peak body must allow this to occur through representation and advocacy as a peak body to government and government agencies.

At this point, I am reminded of a scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Brian stood on the balcony of his chamber and, addressing a crowd, exclaimed,

“You are all individuals”.  In unison, the crowd replied, “YES! We are all individuals”. Then one voice yelled out “I’m not”.

The APS must be the one body representing all individual and unique psychologists. I would be honoured to be given the opportunity by you to make the APS our truly representative body.

6 thoughts on “Joseph Gagliano DGPP candidate speaks out

  1. Dear Interested Clinical,
    As I have mentioned in my election statements I firmly believe that all psychologists who were qualified and registered with the Psychology Board of Australia, and previously the various state and Territory Boards, must be remunerated at the same level.
    Of course I will campaign for ALL psychologists. Psychology did not start in 2006, ground zero according to the Medicare rebate.

    Many brilliant experienced, talented and professional psychologists obtained their qualifications (which were often not required to be beyond 4+2) in the 1960’s, 1970’s 1980’, 1990’s and early 2000’s. They did not require Masters or PhD – and were registered with their various bodies. Why should they be treated as inferior because of a quirk of politicking from various sectors, to gild a certain group as the chosen ones?
    It is these longer standing brilliant psychologists who have been thrown under the bus since 2006, and it is these people who set up the psychology profession and promoted and promulgated it when there were no government rebates. Why should they be penalised because they don’t have a higher degree, such as Masters or higher, when they didn’t need one prior to 2006? SO yes, I will actively campaign for them, as I actually respect my predecessors, and those who may not have been required to get the higher degrees to practice their varieties of psychological theory (there are many varieties you know).

    I am unsure if the government will agree to remunerate all psychologists at the higher rate. That’s why I am running for this position. To get the APS to advocate for ALL psychologists to be on the same tier.

    However, despite your loaded question suggesting a significant proportion of the membership would receive a lower remuneration, you may forget that it is the non-clinicals, a much larger proportion than clinicals you refer to, who have been receiving the lower remuneration for over ten years, whilst clinicals have gained at the expense of non-clinicals. At March 2017, the Psychology Board of Australia had registered 34,414 psychologists in Australia and 7,744 are clinical endorsed psychologists. That difference is 26,670. So a significant majority have had reduced remuneration for 10 (TEN) years, with the representative body, the APS, not advocating and agitating for a higher rebate for the non-clinicals. And most clinicals have not sought to right this injustice on behalf of their non-clinical colleagues. So, the loaded question you ask about campaigning for the lower remuneration for colleagues is inaccurate. I am campaigning for all registered and qualified psychologists to be rebated at a higher rate and at an equal rate. That is my preference.

    My proposal to unify the profession is to push for the same remuneration. It is one significant minority that have created the disunity, by not supporting a majority of colleagues in obtaining the same remuneration, by not advocating to the APS to advocate and represent the majority of psychologists, and by in many instances, denigrating the qualifications and professionalism of non-clinicals, with comments such as being the worst trained psychologists in the Western World. The majority have always wanted to be a unified body. And I am NOT seeking to lower anyone’s income. The clinicals however have been happy for the non-clinicals to have a reduced income since 2006. I am looking to unify the profession to all have the one income.

    I have no intention of throwing anyone under the bus. Unlike the clinicals who since 2006 have been content to have non-clinicals stay under the bus the non-clinicals were thrown under, with the approximately 38% lower remuneration, I will actively campaign for ALL qualified and registered psychologists to be remunerated at an equal rate.
    And most importantly, it is the public of Australia who have missed out on very good, qualified and registered psychologists taking care of them When many Australians who are under financial pressure see a lower rebate for a majority of the profession, there is an implied assumption that those psychologists with higher rebates must be better, and be paid more. These Australians who require psychological support are then missing out, as they often wait many weeks and months, when many psychologists who have been trained and have the requisite qualifications, and many of whom have superb experience.

    Dear Interested Clinical, far from your question being ignored, I am quite grateful you have posted it. With respect, your loaded question has highlighted the selfishness of the group of psychologists within our profession, a significant minority, but minority nonetheless, who were willing to throw other non-clinical psychologists under the bus for their own gain, and keep them under the bus, at the cost of others, the majority of the profession. That is why I wish to unify the profession.

  2. Hi Joseph,

    your post is interesting but frustrating as it provides no detail about your actual position on the divisive one tier/two tier debate. Given that you’re campaigning here I hope that you’ll be able to answer the following:

    Can you clarify what your position is in relation to the divisive one tier/two tier debate?
    For example, do you, like Dr Carr-Gregg, support a one tier system? Like him, do you support a system that psychologists all be paid at the higher tier or do you support that everyone should be paid on a lower tier?
    I note that both yourself and Dr Carr-Gregg are higher degree psychologists which suggests that you believe a higher degree adds value to knowledge and skills. I’m wondering if you believe that non higher degree psychologists should be remunerated at the same level as higher degree psychologists?
    — will you actively campaign for non higher degree psychologists to be remunerated at the same level as higher degree psychologists if you obtain office?
    Do you believe that the government will agree to remunerate non higher degree psychologists at the same level as higher degree psychologists.
    If you succeed, will you actively campaign for a significant proportion of your membership to receive lower remuneration for their work?
    — if so, how do you propose to UNIFY a profession when you would be actively seeking to lower certain sections of your members’ income?
    If you are prepared to throw clinical psychologists under the bus, will you also be prepared to throw non higher degree psychologists under the bus at some point?

    I’ll be very interested to if the RAPS group are prepared to allow this post through moderation given the previous censorship of these questions on this site. If they do, I’ll be most interested to see your answers. If this is censored again, RAPS, why would you not want your membership to think about these issues?

  3. Joseph it is so refreshing to hear a psychologist advocating for representation for us all all. When I joined the Counselling College I was proud to be identified by my area of interest within the rich diversity of the society of psychologists.
    We live in a community where marriage rights for LGBTIQ people is now being voted on because the majority of Australians recognise and value diversity and choice.
    I will vote for you Joseph because I respect – and share – your values.

      1. Hello Concerned psychologist, as I have mentioned I firmly believe as we are all psychologists having fulfilled the Psychology Board of Australia registration, then I will advocate for all psychologists to be remunerated at the one tier level.
        I am not a member of any college either, so why should psychologists who are not members of colleges, or even the APS, be remunerated at a lower rate, and disrespected by many of our colleagues, and the APS?

        And as I have said, there are many who came before me, who did not require higher degrees, that are entitled to be respected at the higher rate.

        Most importantly, if the authorities feel the 4+2 was not an option why did they accept students into these streams? Why did they take their fees? If 4+2 were allowed to pay for study, and obtain their qualifications, why are they disrespected or not recognised just because they do not have a higher degree?

        Again, as it is Medicare that sets the rebates, I will advocate as firmly and strongly as I can for ALL psychologists – not just a significant minority.

    1. Dear Sarah, thank you for you thoughts. I know so many psychologists who like yourself have been practicing their profession well before I even considered it as mine. What right do I have to say my skills are superior to someone with 4+2, or other even earlier skills, which did not require a Masters, which I have. And what right to clinicals have to say their qualification, whether with Masters or 4+2 but were able to get into the clinical college, is superior to others? My Masters in Counselling had only 1 subject difference – not more, just different. Yet this profession has been decimated due to a superiority bent by a minority of our profession, and the less than representative professional body APS. Again 1 tier for one profession.

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