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Future direction of the Australian Psychological Society

Author: Dr Simon Moss

This article presents some potential policy directions, initiatives, goals, and programs the Australian Psychological Society should consider. Most of these suggestions were derived from the statements of nominees for the position of general director.

Communication and marketing

The Australian Psychological Society should promulgate the value of psychological practices to other stakeholders, including community organizations, industry representatives, professional associations, public agencies, and government bodies. For example, representation at key media events and responses to media releases need to be improved. Misconceptions about psychology need to be rectified.

Indeed, the role of psychology should be clarified. For example, psychology, because of its affiliation with both natural and human science, could facilitate the integration of other disciplines, such as the natural, social, and health sciences together with arts and humanities.

In addition, the Australian Psychological Society needs to attract members, partly through improved communication and marketing to diverse regions.

Relationships with other bodies

The Australian Psychological Society should introduce initiatives to improve relationships with other bodies, such as the Australian Medical Association and aligned organizations. Conflicts should be collaborative, striving to uncover solutions that advance all parties, rather than competitive. Improved relationships could augment the accessibility of psychological services to a broader community.

Cohesion within the Australian Psychological Society

Initiatives should be introduced to facilitate cohesion and overcome conflict, between the various collectives within the Australian Psychological Society, such as the branches, colleges, interest groups, directors, and national office.

In addition, although diversity within the Australian Psychological Society should be embraced, a unifying sense of purpose and direction needs to be forged to overcome any undue fragmentation. The sense of disengagement that some members experience needs to be addressed.

Collaborations within the Australian Psychological Society

Policies and processes, such as communities of practices in which members with related needs discuss complex issues, need to be introduced to facilitate the sharing of information and the formulation of ideas.

Representation of diverse perspectives within the Australian Psychological Society

Policies should be instigated that facilitate contributions and involvement of all members and affiliates, including students and individuals in regional, rural, remote, and indigenous communities. These processes should clarify the potential role of the Australian Psychological Society, to ensure this association is recognized as more important than a means to reduce indemnity insurance.

Professional standards

The Australian Psychological Society will need to assist members comply with the additional responsibilities and accountabilities that recognition of psychology as a primary health pathway confers.

Several changes to the industry could threaten performance standards, such as the forthcoming national registration framework and psychology training at TAFE. For example, psychologists could be regarded as providing opportunities for professional practice too late in the educational process. Hence, the key merits of our training model will need to be defended, and this model will need to be reinforced, to ensure that standards do not diminish.

Professional development

The professional development needs of members, and opportunities to fulfill these needs, should be considered more systematically, ultimately to enhance member satisfaction. These opportunities need to accommodate all members, including individuals who live in remote communities or are especially busy.

Relationships between science and practice needs to be enhanced, perhaps through facilitate collaborations between universities and industry.

Community impact

The Australian Psychological Society needs to formulate strategies and tactics to enhance the psychological wellbeing of individuals in society, through collaborative models of care. That is, the society needs to contribute to national health initiatives. Psychology needs to become involved in a more extensive range of domains and contribute, for example, to decision making at levels of government and the non-government sector, including on issues such as environmental management, risk management, chronic disease, lifestyle management, and cultural diversity.

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Last Update: 5/30/2016