AHPRA Supervision Framework

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency defines policy about the practice of the profession of psychology in Australia. There are different levels of training that psychologists may complete, with different implications for supervision.

4+2 Pathway: Supervision to become a General Psychologist

People who have completed an approved 4 year tertiary course in psychology may become Registered Psychologists if they undertake 2 years of supervised practice with a board approved supervisor.

5+1 Pathway: Supervision to become a General Psychologist

People who have completed an approved 4 year tertiary course in psychology in the last 10 years may become Registered Psychologists if they undertake an approved graduate diploma in psychology, followed by one year of supervised practice with a board approved supervisor.

Clinical Psychology Registrar Pathway: Supervision to become a Clinical Psychologist

People who have completed an approved 6 year tertiary course in clinical psychology may become Clinical Psychologists if they undertake up to 2 years of supervised practice with a board approved supervisor who has held an Endorsement in Clinical Psychology for 2 years.

AHPRA Core Competencies

AHPRA defines 8 core capabilities that all psychologists must demonstrate. These competencies are what supervisors evaluate as trainee psychologists or registrars progress through their training placements.

  1. Knowledge of the Discipline; a psychologist must demonstrate knowledge of evidence-based psychological interventions, psychological processes across the lifespan, a broad understanding of psychological theories and psychopathology.
  2. Psychological Measurement and Assessment; a psychologist must demonstrate competency with mental status examinations, assessments of potential risks of harm to self or others, counselling skills, diagnostic classification systems, psychometric test use, and report writing. A key aspect of this is learning to formulate how predisposing, precipitating, perpetuating and protective factors link to presenting problems and treatment plans.
  3. Intervention Strategies; a psychologist must be able to use counselling skills and relationship building to develop evidence-based interventions that link diagnosis and psychological formulation to an individually designed treatment plan that is regularly monitored and altered as therapy evolves.
  4. Communication and Interpersonal Relationships; psychological practice requires highly developed spoken and written communication skills in order to offer treatments to a broad range of clients and liaise with their families, communities and diverse health care professionals.
  5. Research and Evaluation; offering up to date evidence-based interventions requires that a psychologist capably reviews current literature to determine which interventions enjoy the most robust empirical support. In some cases, where evidence-based practice is not yet available, a psychologist may be required to develop practice-based evidence, evaluating and monitoring adapted or novel interventions to treat specific difficulties.
  6. Ethical, Legal and Professional Matters; psychologists are in an unusual position with respect to their clients, in which they learn intimate information about a person who may be vulnerable to exploitation for various reasons. In recognition that clients of psychological services may be at risk of exploitation by psychological therapists, strict ethical and professional guidelines govern the practice of psychology. These standards are highly important to the safe practice of psychology, and are the responsibility of all psychologists on behalf of the profession. http://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/APS-Code-of-Ethics.pdf
  7. Working within a Cross Cultural Context; psychologists are required to develop therapeutic relationships and establish empathy with a broad variety of people, and thus must be aware of cultural diversity, and be comfortable working with clients from different cultural, religious, ethnic, gender and sexual milieus to their own.
  8. Practice Across the Lifespan; psychologists must have experience working with clients of all ages, and be aware of how age and stage of life may influence psychological well-being.