BLOGS

RAPS Public Statement

Reform APS

 United Profession – Freedom of Practice – Equity for the Public

 Organisational Vision

A landscape:

  • in which Psychologists equally value each other,
  • where all psychologists are recognised as equals by the wider system, and
  • that delivers equity to the public.

Strategic Objectives – The Seven Pillars

To Uphold and Support:

  1. The integrity of our diversity
  2. The quality of our service
  3. The depth and complexity of our experience
  4. The innovation of our science
  5. The strength of our collective voice on national policy
  6. The reformation of our society – the APS
  7. The influencing of all stakeholders to realise our overarching vision.

Action Strategies

To engage with major decision makers such as Government, The Australian Psychological Society, APAC and AHPRA to drive our strategic objectives for the benefit of the entire profession.

To consult with educational institutions.

To advocate for a single tier Medicare Rebate System.

To build a community of APS and Non APS Psychologists and other interested stakeholders.

To collaborate within this community to engender individual and group participation in effort and innovation toward implementation of our strategic objectives.

To develop ways of transitioning with businesses built around the top medicare tier if the development of a new one tier system suggests a reduced income. We are not adversaries this is our shared problem to resolve.

Bridging Courses and Two Tier Medicare Rebate System

Consistent with our vision and strategic objectives we support a single tier Medicare Rebate System. We do not generally support bridging courses.

We regard bridging courses and the two tier Medicare Rebate System as entirely separate issues – one should not be used as a mechanism to resolve the other.

There are three caveats to the above:

  1. We have not been shown any details of bridging courses. We acknowledge the possibility of the emergence of some other innovative system that equitably supports all involved and includes processes for recognition of prior learning.
  2. We recognise individual decision making for all psychologists. If any individual is offered a bridging course under a two tier system the decision to accept is rightly, entirely their own.
  3. A form of lateral bridging may be applicable across some areas of practice. Our view of psychologists is that they are increasingly multi-skilled individuals, encountering huge variety among their clientele, and many of the skills are portable.

Education and the Future

If requirements for registration change, those requirements come into effect at the time of change for future psychologists. Future requirements do not affect psychologists who registered prior to the change nor do they create inequality in any arenas between psychologists.

Organisational Values

These are our guiding principles of how we agree to deliberate and act together in order to protect and enhance our organisational vision. We use these values as a tool to monitor and reveal gaps between our espoused intentions and the actual results we achieve i.e. the values are incorporated into and operating in an ongoing learning design.

  1. Considerateness
  2. Empowerment
  3. Integrity
  4. Consensus
  5. Benevolence

Values Explicated

  1. Consistent with the Golden Rule, all deliberants give equal regard to possible effects upon others, including future generations, as they do to themselves.
  2. Mutual empowerment not power over.
  3. An individual’s integrity cannot be demonstrated in isolation. It is demonstrated in one’s interactions and relationships with others.
  4. We value consensus and therefore use consensual decision making processes in which consensus is a wide ranging field including opinion that is at least prepared to try what most have agreed to. We continue to value, listen to, and monitor opinion that falls outside this field.
  5. We exist to serve and respond to the psychological needs of our community across ALL areas of psychological practice. In this sense our organisational vision is our best articulation of how this may be achieved.

Training Supported by RAPS

RAPS supports diversity in psychology, including training.  We will, as such training opportunities become available, inform you about them.

The following information is about two workshops that RAPS believes are valid, effective, and provide very useful additions to clinical practice for all psychologists working therapeutically.  We are pleased to be able to support these workshops and urge all interested parties to read  the information below and follow the links to make your own decisions.

Gold Standard Evidence Based Treatments for Anxiety Disorders &
 Psychometric Measures for Clinical Practice

After the success of last year’s CCRT training and 2015’s Attachment Disorder treatment training with Dan P. Brown Phd. we have been able to secure him for another year.

 We are happy to announce that RAPS are assisting to promote Dan Brown’s workshops for 2018.
 
The workshops offered are part of a series of trainings Dan has delivered for over a decade to the Harvard Medical school and to a group of private clinicians he supervises in New York City.

 This training will help the speed and efficiency of your case conceptualisation and treatment planning and will also provide you with clear understanding of diagnostic tools and treatment approaches for third party reporting.

 Dan’s approach is detail focused and will translate into your increased confidence and clarity in diagnoses and treatment planning.

 Please note this is a non-for-profit training with any funds being forwarded to Dan’s charity work in Tibet.
 
If you have any queries about the workshops, please drop me a line.

Kind Regards,

Nigel Denning

W: http://www.integrativepsychology.net.au/news

Workshop 1 – Psychometric measures for Clinical practice

The training offered this year feature Dan’s presentation of gold standard diagnostic tools for clinicians both self-report questionnaires (day 1) and diagnostic interview tools (day 2).

Tickets available

Follow the event on facebook

Workshop 2 – Evidence based treatment for Anxiety Disorders

A second workshop being offered explores best practice treatment for the various DSMV anxiety disorders and reviews best practice treatment approaches for each.  The training includes case studies and clinical vignettes to enhance the pedagogic experience.

Tickets Available

Follow the event on facebook

Dr Clive Jones Writes to the APS Board

Letter for distribution to the Australian Psychological Society’s (APS) Board of Directors, APS Branch Committee Members, APS College Committee Members and the broader membership

Dear Colleagues,

This letter communicates a concern I would like to have tabled at the respective meetings of the APS National Board, APS Branch Committee Meetings and APS state and national College Committee meetings and the broader membership.

In the October 2017 Edition of InPsych the President of the APS shared his thoughts on the RAPS initiative and the spill motion proposed. While I’m sure most reading this letter would have read the president’s statement and formed their own conclusions, I would like to offer a different opinion through a short rebuttal of three key points expressed directly by the president through the October 2017 InPsych article.

Excerpt One (APS President InPsych October 2017): “… it appears that the RAPS action to spill the entire Board was in service of dramatically changing the strategic direction of the APS to reflect their own narrow agenda, and certainly not in the interests of all psychologists.”

Rebuttal: as it now stands, all APS board members except one, are members of the college of clinical psychologists. The spill motion’s intent was to counter this unfortunate development from occuring for the sake of all members.

The spill motion failed; hence the current imbalance in APS board representation.

Excerpt Two (APS President InPsych October 2017): “The basis on which the Spill Motions had been requested by RAPS was ill-conceived…”

Rebuttal: From my understanding, it is the opinion of RAPS that the new board election process, that restricts members from voting across all areas of board representation, is ill-conceived and does not serve in the best interests of the membership.

Excerpt Three (APS President InPsych October 2017): “It is clear that a small group of the RAPS protest movement disagrees with certain decisions of the Society and has particular self-serving policies and agendas that it wishes to pursue”.

Rebuttal: I do not believe the RAPS movement has self-serving policies and agendas. It is a movement that stems from a legitimate concern over the real and ever-growing risks faced by our profession.

A primary concern expressed by RAPS is in the snowballing of clinical psychology predominance across APS board representation, private practice, academia and associated training pathways.

Most specifically, RAPS is concerned that this on-going and ever-growing predominance of clinical psychology practitioners, academics and training programs places at risk:

  1. the integrity of our diversity as a profession,
  2. the quality of our service to the community,
  3. the depth and complexity of our expertise as practitioners
  4. the breadth of our innovation as scientists, and
  5. the extent of our influence on national policy.

Confirming the motivations and position of RAPS

The APS president see’s these concerns raised by RAPS as a “narrow agenda” that is “ill-conceived” and “self-serving”. I disagree; and I advise the president to re-think his perspective.

The concerns raised by RAPS are real and need to be fully acknowledged and openly addressed.

Rather than being narrow, ill-conceived or self-serving, the RAPS initiative draws attention to and seeks to overtly address, a serious problem and the associated ramifications that are clearly understood and openly acknowledged by the APS membership across academia and private practice.

The negative impact of snowballing clinical psychology predominance permeates through the APS membership, the community, expert practice, research innovation and national policy. It is unfortunate that the APS president has chosen to publicly question the motivations of those who bring attention to such concerns.

I highly recommend, for the sake of our membership and the community we serve, to have the APS president and its Board openly acknowledge the problems raised by RAPS and communicate overtly and with clarity to the membership possible solutions for consideration.

Sincerely,

Clive M Jones PhD MAPS

Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine

Bond University

Robina, Qld. 4229.

You can download the full letter in pdf format here.

Member Responds to Invitation to Subscribe to Clinical Psychologist Journal

I just want to share my reply to the email received inviting subscription to the ‘Latest Practice and Research in Clinical Psychology’ journal – Clinical Psychologist (see ‘offer’ below my reply).

Good evening

Thank you for your email offer.

Pray tell though, why on earth would I want to pay money for a journal, as fascinating as it looks, that relates to an area of psychology I am apparently ‘not allowed’ to practice in?

This is despite my twenty years as a practising psychologist, ten of which were in full-time employment as a Clinical Psychologist for Queensland Health. Surely this qualifies me to be recognised as a ‘clinical’ psychologist? And to continue to work in ‘clinical’ psychology? As it appears I am ‘allowed’ to subscribe to, and read, the ‘clinical’ psychology journal.

Regards
Tracey Angel
Psychologist with over ten years clinical experience

On 24 Nov 2017, at 3:53 pm, APS Science Team wrote:

Special subscription offer for our members

Clinical Psychologist

Tracey, take advantage of our special offer for the latest clinical psychology practice guidelines and research. Clinical Psychologist is the official journal of the APS College of Clinical Psychologists, publishing evidence-based, state-of-the-art reviews, clinical case studies and empirical papers.

Expressions of Interest: Two APS Non-Executive Board Directors

It is an extremely welcome and positive step that the APS has advertised two Board positions for non-executive directors working in general psychological practice. The Division of General Practice has approximately 13,000 members and constitutes about 57% of the APS membership. Obviously, such a large proportion of the membership should be adequately represented on the Board. Mr Joseph Gagliano is already on the Board and when the proposed non-executive directors are appointed, the representation of psychologists working as generalists everywhere and in their own practices will be increased. For this we should all be appreciative.

For this reason, it is important that as many registered psychologists as possible apply for the positions! This is an opportunity for more diverse membership of the Board and a greater voice for the bulk of psychologists who work in private practice. It is extremely important for registered psychologists who have the necessary skills and abilities to apply for these positions to give the Board the maximum opportunity to find the best applicants.

The fact that the APS has decided to advertise these positions is, perhaps, a recognition of the fact that the recent Board elections failed to provide proportional representation for the greatest proportion of registered psychologists. In spite of considerable efforts, psychologists who are not members of Colleges remain under-represented on the Board. The voting system for the APS Board will need to be reformed before this situation can be improved.

Another misgiving is that any appointed members must be approved by the Board. From the field of applicants, the Board will select the non-executive directors whom they approve. It would have been far better for the non-executive directors to have been elected by the broad membership, but since this did not happen we should encourage as many applicants as possible.

Everyone eligible to apply will have received an email from the APS National Office on Friday 17th November titled, “Call for Expressions of Interest – APS Board of Directors”.

If you would like to apply for one of the Additional Director positions, please submit your CV and a covering letter of no more than three pages (outlining how your knowledge, experience, and qualities would add value to the APS Board of Directors), to the Chair of the Nominations c/o Tina Yemettas by close of business Friday, 1st December 2017.

Blog Moderation and New Website

As many of you have probably noticed our moderation has changed recently, in particular since the recent AGM which heralded the emergence of a new RAPS team.  The moderation is still in a slightly experimental stage.  We have been encouraging people to stick to topic and be respectful of others.  Some posts contain a mix and, on that basis, have been let through, others containing a mix haven’t.  You have probably noticed some inconsistency and, in part, this is because moderation is a judgement call but also because we have different moderators.  We discussed moderation again in our recent team meeting.  We did discuss the notion of acknowledging on topic information in a post by deleting aspects that are disrespectful to others and then letting the post through.  However, this would be more work for our moderators and we would prefer not to interfere in your content.  Our preference now is to devolve the responsibility to you to self moderate.  This means that any posts that are disrespectful to others, way off topic or that, as some of you have suggested, ‘play the man’ will not be let through.

On another note ….

This website is undergoing a complete redesign for better presentation, form, functionality and ease of visitor experience.  We also have a professional graphic artist designing a RAPS logo. Stay tuned!

Some musings on the ‘Clinical’

What’s in a name?

I am a psychologist, but I do not, and cannot, label myself as a ‘clinical psychologist’.

However…

I am sometimes referred to as a Clinician.

I have spent nearly two decades of my life working in a Clinic, where my Clinical judgment was offered to clients and discussed amongst my peers in Clinical supervision.

My highest qualification is called a Clinical Doctorate.

The etymology of the word ‘clinic’ goes back to the Greek klinikē tekhnē which translates approximately as ‘bedside art’. I don’t see any of my clients in bed (however you read that phrase) and I am regularly informed that what psychologists do is not an art, but a science.

‘Clinical’ is often linked to the world of medicine. Yet, as a psychologist, I don’t see ‘patients’, don’t work in a hospital and have no medical training.

My cloudiness around the word ‘Clinical’ is fogged up further when I consult my dictionary. It tells me that ‘Clinical’ has a number of meanings and a long and chilly list of synonyms including;

…detached, impersonal, dispassionate, objective, uninvolved, distant, remote, aloof, removed, cold, indifferent, neutral, unsympathetic, unfeeling, unemotional, non-emotional, unsentimental; scientific, analytic, rational, logical, hard-headed, sober, businesslike…

If my work as a ‘Clinician’ was ever to be described using these ‘Clinical’ synonyms, I would be deeply concerned. With the possible and rare exception of the word ‘objective’, none of my clients have used any of these Clinical words to describe the kind of person they want sitting with them as they work on their psychological material.

Language is absolutely central to psychotherapy, a form of engagement sometimes called ‘the talking cure’. Our use of the words ‘clinical’, ‘clinic’ and ‘clinician’ has been slipshod and inaccurate as a label of who we are and what we do.

I suspect our misuse and misappropriation of the word ‘clinical’ has its roots in mainstream psychology’s desire to be seen as a legitimate science. This wish has fuelled a campaign that began over 100 years ago and continues to this day. Despite limited success, conservative forces within psychology routinely do push for a recognition of our work as a ‘clinical science’ – within the discipline, across science in general and throughout the general populous. Outside enclaves of self-interest, the public, legitimate scientists and our clients have not bought the ‘psychological science’ message.

What’s in a name? Perhaps by making our labels and monikers sound scientific, we might get to play with the real scientists.

– RAPS Supporter

RAPS Update

RAPS has been very busy behind the scenes in the last two weeks. The new team, together with already existing team members, has been developing a statement of what RAPS is and aligning our purposes with this statement. This is a time consuming and complex exercise. We don’t want to rush it as we consider it a vital task for us and our supporters. When we have finished, we are close now, we will post our unified purpose document here. The document is in draft form and it is due for another round of discussions in the RAPS team. Therefore it will change a little, but currently the document includes;

  • Our Vision
  • Our Strategic Objectives
  • Action Strategies
  • Bridging Programs and the Two Tier Medicare Rebate System
  • Bridging Courses and Recognition of Prior Learning
  • Bridging Courses
  • Education and the Future
  • A Statement of RAPS Values

We have been working very hard for our supporters and in the interests of all psychologists in Australia. We do want the above document to be as inclusive as we can make it and to suggest a future that produces the best possible outcomes for ALL psychologists and for those we serve across the great diversity of what psychology can truly offer our community. We aim to not only preserve this diversity, which is currently under threat, but to grow and enhance it and amplify it’s effectiveness.

Many of us have experienced strong reactions to the words of Anthony Cichello in the lastest InPsych. We were hoping for an enlightened acknowledgement of the current state of psychology by our society’s president. We were hoping that the acknowledgement would be realistic, accurate, helpful for all and that it would point towards mechanisms for resolution. Our hopes were not realised. We may respond to our president’s narrowly focused description in coming weeks. We have no wish to be distracted from the work we are currently doing as it is far more important than responding to the opinion’s of Anthony Cichello as expressed in InPsych. We would, however, welcome the responses of RAPS supporters to this article titled, “A takeover attempt voted upon at the recent APS AGM”. You can view the article here -> www.psychology.org.au/inpsych/2017/october/presidents-note/?ID=8108

Donations

We are in need of continuing donations. RAPS have received a large legal bill in the wake of recent efforts, in particular the AGM. Additionally, some of the future structures we are setting up will require further financial assistance.

We look forward, in the near future, to joining all of our supporters in our new community and organisational structure. We thank you for your patience, this was never going to be quick, your belief in us and moral support and your unwavering integrity in the face of enormous undemocratic forces.

The RAPS Team

Follow Our Leader

It is important that all APS members read the latest article from Mr Anthony Cichello in InPsych. It is especially important for the hundreds of APS members who are supporters of the Reform APS groups (RAPS). It is unpleasant to read the article partly because a significant proportion has a regrettably self-congratulatory and self-approbationary tone. APS members are assured by Mr Cichello that the Board has acted “sincerely, diligently, and in the best interests of the Society”. Many APS members who are supporters of the RAPS group will remain unconvinced. The following quotes are taken from Mr Cichello’s article for analysis.

“Ongoing Pattern of Divisions”

The APS Board has institutionalised divisions within the membership. The two-tiered system divides the membership. The APS Board is responsible for this division and determinedly fights for its preservation. Neither RAPS, nor any of its supporters created this division in the APS; the responsibility lies solely with the APS Board. The Reform APS movement seeks to heal this division by unifying the profession of all registered psychologists, recognising the expertise and skills of all. The emergence of RAPS is a consequence of the division created by the APS Board; RAPS may be the remedy for that division.

“Interests of a particular group”

The two-tier system clearly provides an advantage for Clinical Psychologists, that is, it promotes the interests of this particular group above the interests of all other registered psychologists. Clinical Psychologists, both before the recent election and now as a result of the election, form an overwhelming majority of Board members. The practices of the APS Board have cemented the influence of this particular group. It is the Board, and not RAPS which is effectively acting in the interests of a particular group.

“Duly and Democratically elected”

While Mr Cichello acknowledges that APS members have the right to remove directors, his whole article is a condemnation of those members for attempting just that! Participating in a democratic process has attracted Mr Cichello’s diatribe against APS members having the temerity to exercise this right. Furthermore, serious reservations exist about the degree to which Board elections are democratic. Some APS members can vote for a number of Board positions, other APS members are restricted to only one. This kind of gerrymander is a travesty of a democratic system. It is the APS Board that has created that system, not the APS members who are supporters of the RAPS movement.

“Competence”

On 16th June, 2014, writing as the National Chair of the College of Clinical Psychologists, Mr Cichello (with Ms Ros Knight) made a submission to the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council on APS letterhead, stating

“Australia has the lowest standards of training of professional psychologists in the Western World…”. This statement has achieved notoriety among many APS members who have been so insulted and traduced. This statement alone indicates that the hollowness of his claim that “The Board has an ongoing commitment to support all members of the Society.” All members of the Society were betrayed by this statement. This statement alone justifies a call for the position of chair to be spilled.

Many APS members who attended the Extraordinary General Meeting in Melbourne were appalled at the procedural irregularities.   Votes in favour of motions were acknowledged, while votes against were not requested. Because of overcrowding, some participants were in an adjoining room making vote counting problematic. Several vote counters moved through the crowd, trying to count raised hands, inevitably coming to different results. Absurdly, their different numbers were averaged to decide outcomes. On the basis of these irregularities, important decisions were mandated. The EGM was a prominent example of Board incompetence, more than adequately justifying the call for a spill.

“Self-Serving Policies and Agendas”

Clearly APS Board decisions benefit one sector of the membership, submissions are made to undermine the status of some psychologists, and meetings are manipulated to promote the policies and agenda of the existing Board. An examination of the decisions and policies of the existing APS Board reveals a persistent bias in favour of Clinical psychologists, to the detriment of all other registered psychologists who are APS members.

………………………………………………………………….

Mr Cichello’s article is prefaced by a quote from Dan Millman in the 1980’s, misattributed to Socrates:

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

The very name of the Reform APS group indicates that its supporters are focussed on constructive reform. The entrenched authorities within the APS are resisting reform calls from their members with all available resources. While Mr Cichello appears to be leading the attack, we supporters of Reform APS should be cautious and recall that, eventually, the historical Socrates was executed by the Athenian authorities.

Reform APS

Members frustrated by lack of healthy dialogue with APS executive

An example of the long history many APS members have had in trying to establish healthy collaborative dialogue with the APS executive.

By Clive Jones PhD MAPS

Attached is a letter I sent to the APS Executive Director Prof Lyn Littlefield on 6th April 2006. It is a clear example of the way in which the APS executive seems to disengage from the proper address of legitimate concerns raised by its membership.

It is also a clear example of the length of time a significant cohort of the membership have been respectfully voicing concern, seeking clarity and encouraging open and honest discussion over the APS agenda on key issues faced by the APS membership.

I wrote this letter to the Executive Director and the APS board in April of 2006. That’s six months prior to the 2-tier Medicare Better Access Initiative being introduced. I was prompted to write in response to the growing hype around the initiative and the language and underpinning inference made through an InPsych article around the same time from Littlefield on the soon to be implemented Initiative in November of 2006.

I did not receive a reply.

This letter is one of probably hundreds, if not thousands of letters the APS executive would have received in the lead up to the Medicare Better Access Initiative in 2006 and thereafter over the proceeding 11 years up to and including the present day.

And still no clarity given, or practical solutions of resolve implemented.

RAPS: AN INEVITABLE BY-PRODUCT OF THE JOURNEY TAKEN AND THE JOURNEY SHARED

It is clear to see that the formation of RAPS is an obvious by-product of the indifference and/or contempt the APS executive seems to have shown towards key concerns that have continued to be raised by the membership well before the Medicare Better Access Initiative and associated developments were introduced and over the many years after their implementation.

From my perspective the APS did not and continues not to engage the membership in the process. It is the ‘closed shop’, ‘top down’ decision making process that also needs to be reformed in the APS.

The most recent InPsych address from the APS President is, from my perspective, a clear demonstration of contempt for those members who have chosen to express more openly and publicly their long-term concerns.

It’s unfortunate to say that our own team Captain, (the APS President) in his most recent message to his team (the APS membership) via InPsych, has chosen to degrade the intent of his own players by calling RAPS sympathisers, associates, supporters as “self-serving”.

By the tone of Mr Cichello’s message I am not surprised the formal mediation with RAPS did not come to bear any fruit.

PICKING A FIGHT RATHER THAN WORKING A SOLUTION

The fact is, thousands of psychologists who are APS members have for many years expressed grave concern over the growing developments in our profession that undermine their practice domain, and those of their colleagues, through a slow erosion of their credibility to practice across the many areas of expertise they have acquired.

It is unfortunate that the APS president, in his formal public address on the matter through the most recent edition of InPsych, could only offer a derogatory comment towards those who express such concern, rather than speak directly to those concerns. RAPS supporters and sympathisers are Mr Cichello’s team mates, colleagues, who share in APS membership with him and who want the best for Australian Psychologists and the community we all serve.

If we were serious about a unified voice, the APS executive would continue to openly and overtly promote and sell the expertise of ALL APS colleagues as they present in their practice expertise regardless of the pathway they have chosen.

Unfortunately, for over 11 years now, this has not occurred in a way that unambiguously demonstrates a commitment to all members and their expertise. And to top it all off now; in November of 2017, 11 years on from the commencement of the 2-tier issues; the APS president has chosen the tactic of playing the persons in the public allegation of some APS members being “self-serving” instead of offering a clear solution to the legitimate concerns raised.

As president of the APS this language does only serve to divide, not unite. Unfortunately, I personally consider this most recent statement from the APS president an unfortunate development that will only serve to trigger more unrest and distrust between colleagues.

I implore everyone – Don’t take the bait.

HOW TO RESPOND TO OUR PRESIDENT’S ACCUSATION OF SOME COLLEAGUES BEING SELF SERVING?

Start from the position of ACCEPTING and RESPECTING the expertise of ALL your colleagues. Regardless of the officially recognised and legislated pathway they have taken to acquire their expertise! Whether from a 4+2, 5+1, masters or any other pathway to registration and practice your colleagues have taken; accept the expertise they have and respect them for it.

Quite simple really. Nothing self-serving about this at all.

I will be following up directly with a letter to Mr Cichello to share the concerns I have raised here.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Dr Clive M Jones Dipt, DipCouns, DipLC, BEd, MEd, GradDipPsych, PhD (psych), MAPS, MCSEP, MCCOUNSP

Psychological Services

 

Asst Professor – Bond University Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine