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There are many different routes to becoming a psychologist, and the 5:1 pathway is an option for those who wish to do a combination of formal education and on-the-job training. Supervising the +1 part of this pathway is a rewarding part of my work as a clinical psychologist, and I am usually open to working with new supervisees.
What is the 5+1 pathway?
The Psychology Board of Australia, part of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), has endorsed the 5+1 pathway as a means of obtaining registration as a General Psychologist. Registration as a specialist psychologist (Clinical Psychologist, Forensic Psychologist, Counselling Psychologist, Neuropsychologist, etc...) usually requires a postgraduate degree in that area.
The first 4 years consist of a 3 year bachelor's degree in psychology, followed by an honours degree in psychology. AHPRA normally requires that this degree was completed with the last 10 years- psychology as field moves quickly- you need to stay up-to-date!
The 5th year is normally a postgraduate diploma in professional psychology. When the candidate enrolls in the 5th year diploma, an application to begin the 5+1 pathway should be lodged with AHPRA so that the candidate can begin to log their hours and track progress towards their core competencies (http://www.visionpsychology.com/supervision-of-psychologists/).
The +1 year is where I usually get involved. It refers to a year of full time on-the-job psychological practice (or its part time equivalent). The Psychology Board of Australia requires the provisional psychologist to maintain 3 components during this internship year:
- Psychological Practice – involves seeing clients for assessment and treatment of psychological concerns, report and letter writing, liaising with other professionals, training others in psychological concepts, and other activities that form part of the practice of psychology.
- Under AHPRA's requirements, the supervisee will need to organise an average of 12.2 hours of direct client contact per week (assuming a 46 week working year). This means that, taking no-shows into account, the supervisee will need to organise about 14+ hours of direct client contact per week to meet the requirements during the +1 year.
- Supervision – involves attending meetings with a supervisor like me who is approved by the Psychology Board of Australia (http://www.psychologyboard.gov.au/Registration/Supervision/Search.aspx) to develop the core competencies of a practicing psychologist.
- Professional Development – involves structured learning activities that develop the candidate's psychological knowledge, including reading, discussion and reflection, online and face-to-face workshops, all focused on psychological practice or models.
Complete details on the requirements of the 5+1 program can be found here:
How could it work as a placement in a private practice?
AHPRA specifically prohibits trainee psychologists from establishing themselves as private practitioners. Placements within a private practice are however possible, where the trainee psychologist volunteers within the private practice for a set duration in order to achieve the AHPRA competencies. The +1 year can be achieved entirely within the placement in the private practice, or in combination with paid work.
A couple of examples can illustrate this:
- In the most common situation, a provisional psychologist has obtained paid work that involves some psychological practice, but they require supervision from a Board Approved Supervisor. They need some additional hours in order to cover their competencies, for instance, seeing adults, doing longer interventions than their current role offers, or doing cognitive assessments. In this case, I might be the primary or the secondary supervisor. I would introduce the candidate to the clinic to organise the sessions that the candidate requires, and the candidate would provide the administrative costs to clinic.
- In the case that a supervisee could afford to invest in the +1 year, I might be the primary supervisor, and help the supervisee to find secondary supervisors. I would introduce the supervisee to the clinic to organise their psychological practice, and the supervisee would contribute the administrative costs to the clinic.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss the possibility of organising your +1 year with me.