Why are there provisional psychologists working at 3P?

There are a number of provisional psychologists working at Peninsula Paediatric Psychology (3P) and there are a few reasons for this. This text aims to explain these reasons as well as outline what this means.

What are provisional psychologists?

Provisional psychologists all have at least 4 years of psychology studies completed. Some have 5 and some others may have 6 depending where they are at in their training journey.

Current Situation about Mental Health/Psychology Services Nationally

The pandemic has triggered a number of needs in terms of mental health as many have experienced additional challenges. This was anticipated by the government and there was an increase of possible rebatable Medicare sessions under Better Access from 10/year to 20/year. Telehealth also became to become part of the service delivery allowing this program to be much more accessible for many.

As a result (and other contributing factors see in this article https://3ppsychologies.com/2022/09/23/why-is-there-a-psychologist-shortage-in-australia), there is currently a shortage of professionals working in this industry. This has been reported by a number of organisations where there have been reports that 1 in 3 psychologists have closed their books or not able to take on clients.

Paediatric Psychology More Particularly

Paediatric psychology has also been particularly impacted with shortages because of what the pandemic has brought in terms of challenges to children and families such as home learning (isolation, learning needs, self-efficacy, behaviour, school refusal, etc.), mental health, as well as as many other challenges families may have experienced. In addition, assessment work was delayed during lockdowns creating a backlog. Paediatric psychology was also already challenged before the pandemic with long waitlist and shortages of qualified psychologists in the paediatric space. The public sector has seen very long waitlists and this had an impact on private practices.

The Importance of Training the Workforce

At 3P, we really value the importance of training the workforce. We offer supervision, team days, training on the 3P learning platform.

When I arrived in Australia, it was very difficult to find a supervisor and paid work as I was considered as a provisional psychologist despite having a doctorate and professional practice experience in the UK. I also worked in a number of schools and when I moved on to leadership roles, there was no-one to replace me and I felt disheartened to leave as many needed support. I promised myself that I would support the training of others in the paediatric space to ensure children, families and schools continue to be well supported”. (Dr P.)

In addition to all of this, supervision is often accessed externally by many and there is a clear to continue support the workforce in gaining the appropriate skills to work with a paediatric population.

I have supervised many now in Australia and I have realised how different some of the learnings are compared to my training in Canada and the UK. Many supervisees have commented on how I bring a very different view of professional educational psychology practice and this has been refreshing for them. It is so important that we continue to engage in learning and offer different perspectives to our work. This helps meet better outcomes for clients” (Dr P.).

Passion for Learning and Teaching

In our profession it is very important that we continue to learn even if we have acquired a certain level of qualifications. This support growth as a clinician as well as better outcomes for clients. When supervising others and creating an environment where continued learning is planned, learning and teaching become embedded in professional practice. This also helps achieve best outcomes for clients as the environment encourages learning, supervision, reflections.

Dr P. has continued to study and learn throughout her career which has led to her becoming an educational and developmental psychologist with doctorate qualifications.

I love learning and transmit knowledge. It’s just beautiful to hear supervisees express their gratitude for the learning opportunities and growth as a result of teachings and supervision.” (Dr P.)

Supervision

All provisional psychologists engage in continued learning and also supervision. They are allocated a board approved supervisor who oversees their work. This includes observations, working together in sessions, reviewing of reports and group/individual supervision sessions. A specific ratio of professional practice to hours of supervision is required. A clear plan for developing competencies is also in place and a number of requirements must be met during the placement/internship.

What to expect when working with a provisional psychologist?

All provisional psychologists at 3P have gone through a careful selection process, with clear evidence of previous experience relevant to the paediatric psychology field.

The fees are slightly reduced so you may be able to access more sessions with a provisional psychologist than you would with a fully registered psychologists. For example, sessions under NDIS are $156 with provisionals compared to $214 with a fully registered psychologist. This is also the case for assessment work, although some of the allocation of the fees also goes to supervision from the board approved supervisor.

At 3P, we aim to offer a varied training program so provisional psychologists experience diversity of work. As result, we offer a school outreach program so provisional psychologists are in clinic on specific days and in schools on other days.

The following professional tasks are likely to take place as part of the supervision process:

  • the board approved supervisor to come in sessions for observations of the provisional psychologist
  • discussions in supervision about presenting needs, assessment work/counselling program and next steps
  • review of all reports and letters by the board approved supervisor and countersigned
  • collaborative work such as joint sessions

If you have doubts about the support, assessment or therapy process is at, or finding that you would like some additional support during sessions, speak to the provisional psychologist who will make a plan with he supervisor and may invite the supervisor in sessions to discuss together.

Dr Pascale Paradis

Educational and Developmental Psychologist

Director at Peninsula Paediatric Psychology

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