Australian Association of Psychologists Inc

True Voice of Australian Psychology

News and Updates

Latest news and updates from AAPi

Bushfire Recovery- Free Resources for Mental Health Professionals 

The Australian bushfire crisis has impacted millions, putting individuals, families and entire communities at higher risk of trauma and psychological/emotional distress.
 
In response, many mental health professionals across the country are putting their hands up to assist those impacted by the disaster. AAPi members have volunteered in droves and we thank each and every one of you.
 
To support the recovery efforts, AAPi has partnered with the Mental Health Academy to bring a collection of freely accessible educational resources focusing on disaster mental health topics, including:

  • Psychological First Aid
  • Understanding the Traumatic Effects of Disasters
  • Suicide Prevention with Disaster- and Trauma-affected Clients
  • Working with Traumatised Clients and,
  • Early Intervention for Children Who Experience Trauma.

These resources are entirely free and available here:
 
https://www.mentalhealthacademy.com.au/bushfire-resources
 
We hope this collection will reach as many mental health professionals as possible and assist in their endeavours to provide to our struggling communities. So, we encourage you to share the link with your peers – and encourage them to do the same.  
 
If you are currently involved in helping those affected by the bushfire crisis, we would like to express our gratitude for the much-needed support you are providing. Thank you.

PS If you have any questions about our free educational resources, don’t hesitate to email Mental Health Academy on help@mentalhealthacademy.com and they will respond as soon as possible.
 
PPS Below are some useful links to some other leading industry organisations providing additional resources and services related to the current bushfire crisis:

AAPi presents a special event for our members:

A facilitated discussion on Trauma and Recovery by traumatologist and international trauma expert Paul Stevenson OAM

 

When:Wednesday 22 January 8pm-10pm AEDT

Where: Online

Who: AAPi members- preference will be given to those in the Trauma Interest Group and those Volunteering with the bushfire recovery process.

How much: This is a free session for AAPi members, however we encourage a donation to the bushfire recovery.

Please register via email admin@aapi.org.au

 

More about the facilitator:

Paul J. Stevenson is an accredited Traumatologist with the International Green Cross Academy of Traumatology, as well as a registered Psychologist in Australia with forty-Seven years experience.

Paul has provided on-site consultancy services to most major disasters in Australia over the past twenty years, and more recently to international disasters involving Australians. Paul was honoured with an Order of Australia Medal in 2004, in recognition of his International Disaster Management interventions. He has subsequently (2012) received the United Nations Association of Australia Award.

For more information Please visit www.pauljstevenson.com

The Australian Government has announced $76 million in funding for mental health support for those affected by the bushfires.

Some key points for AAPi members.

• Bushfire affected individuals and families, and emergency response personnel will be eligible to receive Medicare rebates for up to 10 psychological therapy sessions through GPs, psychologists and other mental health professionals.

• These 10 sessions are over and above what is currently available through Better Access.

• People can self-refer directly to the mental health professional of their choice for the 10 sessions- no GP referral or mental health treatment plan.

• Allied Mental Health Professionals who are eligible to provide these sessions include Psychologists, Occupational Therapists and Social Workers.

• Telehealth options will be available for those who cannot access services in person.

• This is available to anyone who has been affected by the fires and includes people living in residential aged care facilities. There is no age restriction.

• The full package of services will be available for 2 years commencing 17 January 2020.

• Health professionals are encouraged to bulk bill fire affected clients if you can.

• There will also be on the ground recover efforts in the fire affected areas and community recovery projects.

AAPi will circulate more information to our members when it becomes available.

We encourage you to read the full details by visiting:

https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/01/mental-health-support-for-australians-affected-by-the-2019-20-bushfires-mental-health-support-for-australians-affected-by-the-2019-20-bushfires_0.pdf

Our thoughts go out to all those currently involved with or affected by the bushfires throughout Australia.
Thank you to all the fireys, police, defence force, volunteers and support staff. You are our heroes and we are proud to stand beside you and support the recovery process in any way we can.

If any of our members have experience in trauma or disaster counselling and would like to volunteer, either face to face or via telehealth/online, please contact your state based emergency service or your local relief centre. 

For donations of money, please visit the Community Enterprise Foundation website. 100% of donations are going to communiteis in need. 

We would also like to share information on VirtualPsychologist, a free text message psychology/counselling service founded by AAPi Member Dervla Loughnane. Just text 0488 807 266 or visit their website. https://www.virtualpsychologist.com.au/rural-remote/

Please stay safe and look after each other. AAPi is here to support our members and our community.

Futher information please email admin@aapi.org.au

 

 

For those affected by the fires that are ravaging our beautiful country, AAPi is partnering with VirtualPsychologist to promote a free text message counselling service to Rural and Remote Australians. 
Details include:
• Free text-based mental health service (24/7) for rural and remote community members in need of emotional assistance
• Confidential, easy-to-access, and immediate help during these distressing times
• Assistance when you need it most!
It only takes one text to change a life.
Let's connect! TexT 0488 807 266 (TexT Line OnLy)
This Federally-funded initiative provides Mental Health Services to Rural and Remote Communities in Australia. (You will need to provide some qualifying information.)

Please share this post so we can get the information out to those who need it. 

Please stay safe. Our thoughts are with you.

⭐️Crisis and Disaster TRAINING for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals⭐️

We have recently had several requests for recommendations for training from members wanting to support those who have been affected by the bushfires across the country. 

The AAPi has a partnership with Mental Health Academy, who are offering a 25% discount on their yearly subscription price for AAPi members. Mental Health Academy offers over 500 hours of online, on demand training and CPD run by local and international subject matter experts. 

The training we’re recommending are:
- The Traumatic Effects of Disasters by Dr. Cirecie A. West-Olatunji, and 
- Crisis Counseling: The ABC Model by Dr. Kristi Kanel
You can search in the catalogue for these and other titles.

As an AAPi member you can also access Psychological First Aid traning and Fit Your Own Mask First: Professional Self-care for Helpers through Mnetal Health Academy. 

To sign up to Mental Health Academy and take advantage of the special AAPi Member discount, go to: https://www.mentalhealthacademy.com.au/aapi

If you would like to find out more about this partnership, or if you’d like to join the AAPi or renew your membership, please email Tegan at admin@aapi.org.au

Thank you to all our members who have gotten in contact, and are willing to donate their time and efforts to helping the affected communities. 

The Australian Association of Psychologists Inc (AAPi) would like to comment on Interim Report from the Royal Commission into the Victorian Mental Health System Released in November 2019.

 

AAPi acknowledges and thanks the Royal Commission for the opportunity to provide feedback on behalf of our membership base. 

 

The work of this landmark commission is vitally important and AAPi acknowledges and agrees with the failures of the current system in Victoria and nationally. We commend many elements of the interim report especially the need for transformational change throughout the entirety of the mental health system.

 

The core messages AAPi would like to convey are:

  • AAPi would like to assert that there is an immediate need to cease the two-tier Medicare Rebate for psychological services. There is no evidence of greater effectiveness associated with any particular subtype of psychologist or in relation to their endorsement status. The two-tier system disadvantages clients and reduces access to psychology services. Furthermore, the community should not be expected to pay higher rebates/loadings for the services of endorsed psychologists when there is no evidence of greater outcomes or effectiveness. All psychologists should be on the one, higher rate allowing for more sessions to be bulk billed or gap payments minimised. 
  • AAPi is supportive of a collaborative, multidisciplinary model of care and thank all those working tirelessly in the field.
  • AAPi applauds the Royal Commission and the Victorian Government for the increase in funding for mental health services in Victoria and would suggest that other states and territories follow their example.
  • AAPi appreciates the opportunity to be consulted and contribute to this important work.
  • AAPi would like the Royal Commission to acknowledge the large role of Psychologists in all levels of care and service delivery.
  • As part of the ongoing Royal Commission, AAPi advocates for further peer reviewed, high quality research into the question of whether outcomes between registered psychologists and endorsed clinical psychologists differ significantly in a direction that suggests tertiary masters or doctorates in clinical psychology are correlated with better outcomes. Our hypothesis is that there is no significant difference in outcomes. Only if ethical research supports that the null hypothesis is rejected, there may be an argument for additional funding and rebates for endorsed clinical psychologists. To date no such research exists. The little which has been done supports either no difference (Pirkis et al 2011 and Jorm) and in research conducted specifically about any differences due to clinical psychology training no evidence of outcomes for clients being different was provided[1]. AAPi is strongly opposed to the two-tier Medicare Rebate for psychology, especially without clear evidence to justify this additional expenditure. 
  • AAPi supports and values the input and contribution of psychologists across the spectrum from prevention, early intervention, treatment and continuing care and acknowledges the specialised skills that psychologists contribute.
  • AAPi agrees with the commissions findings that current funding is inadequate, especially the reactive nature of input-based funding, which misses the complex nature of mental health and unmet need/demand. 
  • AAPi acknowledges the high cost of poor mental health in Victoria, estimated in this report to be 14.2 billion annually and highlight the economic benefits to increased funding and a revolutionised mental health care system. 
  • AAPi agrees that the capped 10 sessions currently offered under the Commonwealths Better Access Scheme is grossly inadequate for Psychology Treatment. AAPi supports the Productivity Commissions recommendation that this be increased to up to 20 sessions and would like to suggest that this be increased further to up to 40 sessions, similar to the new Eating Disorder Medicare Items.
  • The establishment of the Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing is meet with praise and AAPi looks forward to working with the collaborative.
  • AAPi would like The Royal Commission to acknowledge the important part private practice psychologists play in the mental health care of Victorians, especially where publicly accessible services are lacking and urges the Royal Commission to investigate properly funded access to psychologists in private practice, through a one-tier Medicare rebate with little to no gap payments from those requiring this service.

 

In conclusion, AAPi thanks and acknowledges the work of the Royal Commission and reiterates our commitment to further contribution to the final report in 2020.

 


[1] O’Donovan, A., Bain, J., Dyck, J.  (2005)  Does clinical psychology education enhance the clinical competence of practitioners? Journal of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice,36 (1)  APA     

Two Day Training: 21-22 Mar 2020, 9:00 am – 5pm

Melbourne VIC, Australia

Member Price: $295.00 (Normally $350)

There is a re-emerging recognition that many mental illnesses have their origins in unresolved trauma, not just PTSD and adjustment disorders. Trauma competent clinicians treat these symptomatic conditions as adaptations to adverse events and unresolved trauma memories, and seek to resolve the underlying distress rather that just control the symptoms. This enables them to deliver effective short-term treatments that create significant positive change for their clients. If we resolve the cause, the symptoms cease, as they are no longer needed. The explosion in our understanding of trauma and its impact on the brain has also led to the development of treatments that minimise or completely avoid the need for painful re-exposure and re-experiencing, making treatment a lot easier and less aversive for our clients. In short - treatment that is effective, relatively easy and brief, even for complicated conditions.

This is our level 1 practitioner training that will equip you to safely and effectively deliver brief trauma interventions to most people who are suffering from simple trauma, acute trauma, developmental trauma and multiple traumas. This training does not fully equip you to work with some complex trauma presentations where there is significant personality distortion or dissociative symptoms (level 2 does) but it provides the foundations for complex trauma work.

https://www.good-psychology.com/events 

AAPi has participated in the consultation process currently being undertaken by the NSW Government State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA). On behalf of our NSW-based psychologists, we thank SIRA for the opportunity to contribute to this consultation.  We understand the aim of this process is to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, affordability and sustainability of delivering medical and allied health services to injured workers and motorists.  The AAPi would like to thank SIRA for the current use of a one rate (one tier) schedule of psychology services related fees for all psychologists. It is the clear and unequivocal stance of AAPi that this one rate or one tier system for psychology services continue. During our submission, AAPi provided an evidence backed response why the schedule of fees should be consistent for all psychologists.

Interested AAPi members can request a full copy of the submission by emailing admin@aapi.org.au

The Psychology Board of Australia website contains codes, guidelines and policies to provide guidance to psychologists.

Please visit their website here for more information.

AAPi is expanding the services we offer to our members.

Please check back soon for more details.

 

AAPi wants to support and celebrate our members. Check back soon for some of the achievements and contributions our members are making to psychology and their communities.

AAPi supports the implementation of evidence-based practice and ensuring practitioners are adequality trained and qualified to deliver services. AAPi supports the increased number of sessions available to eligible patients. AAPi supports a multi-disciplinary team approach to patient care. What the AAPi does not support is the discrimination of registered psychologists that are providing the same service for less money. The AAPi does not support the restriction of service provision to such a vulnerable population based on this discriminatory pricing strategy and the reduced ability for eligible patients to see the psychologist of their choosing due to financial restrictions. There is no evidence that endorsed ‘clinical psychologists’ provide better outcomes or are better trained than registered psychologists to justify receiving approximately 30% higher fees from Medicare.  

The basics:

  • Starting 1 November, 2019 a group of 64 new Eating Disorder MBS items will commence. 
  • These include 16 new item numbers for Psychologists.
  • Sadly, the two-tier model has again been adapted with 8 separate item numbers for eligible ‘clinical psychologists’ and 8 item numbers for eligible registered psychologists. Clients of registered psychologists are set to receive approximately 30% less for providing the same service.
  • Up to 40 sessions in a 12-month period will be available for evidence-based eating disorder psychology treatment (EDPT). These 40 sessions can be claimed by suitable trained Registered Psychologists, ‘Clinical Psychologists’, Accredited Mental Health Social Workers, Accredited Mental Health Occupational Therapists or GP’s meeting Standards Collaboration requirements.  
  • The new item numbers are focused on anorexia nervosa or patients with severe presentations of other eating disorders including bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and other specified feed and eating disorders (OSFED). Further information on patient eligibility criteria can be found in the more information section.
  • There will be a review of the group of items after 12 months of implementation.

Summary of item numbers

Item number

Detail

Who

Fee

82360

 

EDPT Service

Location: Consult rooms

Duration: 20-50 minutes

Registered Psychologist

$71.80

 

82361

 

EDPT Service Video Conference

Duration: 20-50 minutes

Registered Psychologist

$71.80

 

82362

 

EDPT Service

Location: other than consult rooms but not inpatient hospital

Duration: 20-50 mins

Registered Psychologist

$97.70

 

82363

 

EDPT Service

Location: Consult Rooms

Duration: at least 50 minutes

Registered Psychologist

$101.35

 

82364

 

EDPT Service

Video Conference

Duration: at least 50 minutes

Registered Psychologist

$101.35

82365

 

EDPT Service

Location: other than consult rooms but not inpatient hospital

Duration: at least 50 minutes

Registered Psychologist

$127.30

 

82366

 

EDPT Group of 6-10 patients

Location: in person

Duration: at least 60 mins

Registered Psychologist

$25.85

 

82367

 

EDPT Group of 6-10 patients

Location: Video Conference

Duration: at least 60 mins

Registered Psychologist

$25.85

82352

EDPT Service

Location: Consult rooms

Duration: 30-50 minutes

Clinical Psychologist

$101.35

 

82353

 

EDPT Service Video Conference

Duration: 30-50 minutes

Clinical Psychologist

$101.35

 

82354

 

EDPT Service

Location: other than consult rooms but not inpatient hospital

Duration: 30-50 mins

Clinical Psychologist

$126.65

 

82355

 

EDPT Service

Location: Consult Rooms

Duration: at least 50 minutes

Clinical Psychologist

$148.80

 

82356

 

EDPT Service

Video Conference

Duration: at least 50 minutes

Clinical Psychologist

$148.80

 

82357

 

EDPT Service

Location: Other than consult rooms but not inpatient hospital

Duration: at least 50 minutes

Clinical Psychologist

$174.10

 

82358

 

EDPT Group of 6-10 patients

Location: in person

Duration: at least 60 mins

Clinical Psychologist

$37.80

 

82359

 

EDPT Group of 6-10 patients

Location: Video Conference

Duration: at least 60 mins

Clinical Psychologist

$37.80

 

What is the approved evidence-based treatments and am I an eligible service provider?

The evidence-based treatments that have been approved are:

    • Family Based Treatment (FBT) for Eating Disorders
    • Adolescent Focused Therapy for Eating Disorders
    • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Eating Disorders (CBT-E)
    • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Anorexia Nervosa (CBT-AN)
    • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder (CBT-BN or CBT-BED)
    • Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM) for Eating Disorders
    • Maudsley Model of Anorexia Treatment in Adults (MANTRA)
    • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) for Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder
    • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) for Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder
    • Focal Psychodynamic Therapy for Eating Disorders

The allied mental health provider must be recognised by the Department of Human Services (DHS) as eligible to provide focussed psychological strategies. For registered psychologists this as “The person is a psychologist who is registered without limitation as a person who may provide that kind of service under the applicable law in force in that State or Territory in which the service is provided”.

It is expected that professionals will have the relevant education and training to deliver these services and meet the national core competencies for the safe and effective identification, response and treatment of eating disorders. Ongoing professional development is required. 

Flow on effects to other areas of Mental Health funding:

If the discrimination between pay rates for registered psychologists for eating disorders is allowed to continue, this will no doubt also lead to the same discrimination for the upcoming Mental Health Medicare Taskforce Review due for release in the coming months. All those working in Mental Health, not just eating disorders, should be concerned.

What the AAPi is doing:

The AAPi has met with the head of the Mental Health and Eating Disorders Medicare Review Unit as well as the Health Minister and other influential parties to advocate for our members. 

The AAPi is currently doing everything possible to challenge and stop the pay disparity and discrimination. This includes:

  • Investigating all possible legal and other avenues
  • Employment of a lobbyist to further advocate and petition for our rights and the rights of our patients
  • Extensive media campaigns
  • Partnering with other organisations/associations to increase our reach and resources.

What you can do to ensure fair and equal pay for Psychologists:

  • Join AAPi today. Now is the time that we need as many members and voices as possible in order to make the biggest impact. This is time sensitive. We need to act now. If you are not a member, we need you to join today. www.aapi.org.au
  • Ask other psychologists to join AAPi- forward this on to all the psychologists you know. Students, provisional psychologists, retired psychologists, educators, researchers. Everyone.
  • Community stakeholders and other allied health professionals are welcome to join AAPi as community members.
  • If you are an AAPi member, please ensure you are paid up for 2019-2020.

More information:

MBS Online Eating Disorders Fact Sheets

MBS Book Category 8 (Full details- Eating Disorders M16)

Eating Disorders Working Group Report

Federal Register of Legislation Health Insurance (Allied Health Services) Amendment (Eating Disorders) Determination 2019

ANZAED Mental Health and Dietetic Clinical Practice and Training Standards for the Treatment of Eating Disorders 

National Practice Standards for Eating Disorders- National Eating Disorders Collaboration