Types of Psychologists
Psychology is such a big field that there are 9 different types of areas of practice and endorsement. After a Psychologist becomes registered with AHPRA, they can choose to undertake an extra two years of training in a special area of interest. These special areas of interest are recognised by AHPRA and can mean that different Psychologists bring different backgrounds, training, and specialty to connect with you in a session. We've put together some common questions about the different specialties here.
What's the difference between a General Psychologist, Clinical Psychologist, and Organisational Psychologist?
All of our Psychologists are registered with the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) and listed with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). They are all trained in providing psychological assessment, diagnosis, and support and are required by law to engage in ongoing professional development and follow strict ethical standards.
All General Psychologists have a minimum of six years of nationally recognised training, including three years undergraduate in Psychology, one year for an Honours in Psychology, and two additional years to complete a Masters in Psychology (or 2 years of supervised practice under the 4+2 pathway with AHPRA).
Endorsement in an Area of Practice in Psychology
After becoming registered as a General Psychologist, General Psychologists can choose to do an additional two years of professionally supervised practice to become endorsed in a special area of practice based on their interests. An endorsement by AHPRA recognises that the psychologist has extra scope in their practice and has met additional qualifications approved by the National Board of Psychology.
Areas of practice endorsements from AHPRA can include:
Education and Developmental Psychology
Sport and Exercise Psychology
Currently, only clients of Clinical Psychologists can access a higher rebate from Medicare due to the way healthcare is funded in Australia.
What is a Clinical Psychologist?
Endorsed Clinical Psychologists have completed an additional two years of supervised practice in the assessment, diagnosis, and support of a broader range of mental health concerns. They have undertaken further training in a range of techniques and therapies to support clients with more complex clinical psychology concerns. Clinical Psychologists typically work in a 1 on 1 therapy setting and bring specialised experience working with a much wider and more complex range of mental health concerns.
What is an Organisational Psychologist?
Endorsed Organisational Psychologists have completed an additional two years of supervised practice in the psychology of people at work. They are typically hired by companies as consultants or internal advisers to help support their employees with challenges related to work, such as change, career development, leadership, performance, burnout, or recruitment to name a few. In a clinical setting, Organisational Psychologists can bring specialised knowledge of workplace dynamics and experience working with a wide range of different businesess.
How do I find the right Psychologist for me?
Research that looks into the best practice in psychology tells us that the most important predictor of success is the relationship between you and your Psychologist. In fact, the science tells us that the relationship is actually way more important than the type of treatment approach. When looking for the right fit with a Psychologist, it's important to consider:
Does this Psychologist work with the types of concerns I have?
Do I feel safe talking to them about things that are uncomfortable?
Do I feel supported?
Do I feel like they listen to my concerns?
Do I feel like they accept me without judging me?
Do I think we'll be able to work well together?
What we like and don't like is a very individual choice and you will always have the final say when choosing the right Psychologist for you. Just like any relationship, it can take time to build a strong working relationship. It's completely okay to take the time after your first session to decide if you want to book in again. It's also completely okay to look for another psychologist because you feel there is a mismatch - we won't be offended and can help recommend a better fit!
What is a Board Approved Psychology Supervisor?
Board approved supervisors are responsible for supervising the next generation of psychologists. They work on behalf of the National Board of Psychology to ensure that Provisional Psychologists (Psychologists in training) and General Psychologists on their endorsement program meet the board's competency requirements.
After practicing as an Endorsed Psychologist for two years, Endorsed Psychologists can then go on to do further training to become an AHPRA approved board supervisor. This involves three extra days of training, assessments, and ongoing professional development to be recognised as a board approved supervisor by AHPRA.
Austin Chu is a board approved supervisor in Organisational Psychology and is available for supervision. Please reach out to us if you're interested in supervision.