Australian Association of Psychologists Inc

True Voice of Australian Psychology

News and Updates

Latest news and updates from AAPi

Download our COVID-19 March 27 Update- Telehealth Special 

This contains loads of resources and a comprehensive answers to your most common questions.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Full Update March 20

A update for psychologists regarding COVID-19 can be downloaded here

Coronavirus Downloadable Flyer

We have been receiving a large volume of requests for a printable flyer that can be displayed in workplaces, so we thought we would share this with our whole community.

Please see below a flyer you may choose to use regarding Coronavirus.

Download Flyer Here

Please note, this is based on current advice from government and may change depending on the spread of the virus. We will update this if any major changes occur.

We are in regular communication with state and federal governments regarding Coronavirus and will continue to advocate for access to Telehealth.

 

 

AAPi Advocacy for increased access to Telehealth in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Australian Association of Psychologists Incorporated (AAPi) would like to advocate for a proactive approach through increased access to Medicare rebated Telehealth services by the Australian Government due to the current threat and increased prevalence of Coronavirus in Australia. 

Whilst we do not wish to be alarmist, AAPi strives to be forward thinking and have systems in place in case of a ‘worst case scenario’. It is for this reason, that AAPi is lobbying the Australian Government to provide Medicare rebated Telehealth services for all psychologists in the below circumstances. AAPi requests that the Australian Government establish new telehealth item numbers, without the need for a Mental Health Care Plan so that immediate access to vital psychological support can be provided without the barrier of seeking out a GP, during this time of self-isolation, risking the spread of the virus and without placing a further burden on our overstretched health care system. AAPi respectfully requests that the suggested Coronavirus Telehealth item numbers be set at the same rate for all psychologists and at an amount that will allow for a higher likelihood of bulk billing, to remove the barrier of a gap fee payment being a deterrent to those who need mental health services at this challenging time, especially for those clients who are unable to work due to illness or the need to self-isolate.  

Suggested circumstances for access to psychological services via Telehealth:

  • When a diagnosis of Coronavirus has been made for a client of the service, or a new client to a service.
  • Access to psychology telehealth services when a client or new client who is required to self-quarantine due to national guidelines. 
  • Those choosing to self-isolate due to fear or concern of the virus.
  • Due to the nature of their work, many health professionals, including psychologists, are at an increased risk of exposure, and therefore the need to self-quarantine. Thus being the case, AAPi would like to appeal to the government to allow all psychologists to provide Telehealth services when they, as practitioners, are unable to see clients in person. This will allow psychologists to continue to provide support to their clients, as well as ensure they are not financially penalised.

AAPi also requests the government to consider increased psychological sessions (Telehealth or in person) over and above the current Better Access, Eating Disorder or Bushfire recovery session allowance when a client’s mental health diagnosis or status has been effectively setback by the psychological impact caused by Coronavirus either through the diagnosis of, exposure to, need to self-isolate or the vicarious effect of media reporting and social concerns about the virus.

Why the importance of access to psychologists at this time:

Outbreaks such as Coronavirus and the intense media reporting surrounding it, can significantly and negatively impact the mental health of individuals and our communities, especially those already experiencing mental illness. High levels of stress and anxiety about oneself or loved ones contracting the disease and the concerns about employment and financial stability if required to self-isolate, can culminate in a perfect storm of conditions to create or exacerbate mental ill-health. We know that early intervention in mental health is important.

Continued, and where appropriate, increased, access to psychologists is essential at this time.  

Extra message to our members and the psychology community:

Whilst we do not want to overwhelm or contribute to the fear surrounding a Coronavirus outbreak in Australia, we did want to provide our members with the assurance that AAPi is taking the Coronavirus threat seriously and taking the proactive approach in advocating for access to psychologists.

If you would like information on the steps you can take to protect yourself personally from the spread of the virus, you can access this via the World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public 

There is also useful visual downloadable documents that you can display in your workplaces, such as coping with the stress of Coronavirus (adult and child version) and the importance of good hand hygiene, that can be accessed by the above link. 

AAPi will continue to keep our members informed of any developments.

 

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