There are nine Colleges of the APS, representing a range of specialist areas in psychology. Each College promotes its area, maintains practice standards and quality assurance, and encourages and supports the education and professional development of specialist practitioners.
A summary of each college is listed below.
Clinical neuropsychologists study changes in thinking and behaviour that may arise from brain dysfunction such as head injury, epilepsy, neurological disease and stroke, drug and alcohol disorders, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, dementia and psychiatric disorders. They deal with the cognitive, emotional and behavioural problems related to brain dysfunction through assessment, rehabilitation, education and psychological therapy. Clinical neuropsychologists often work in the public health sector, in larger hospitals or rehabilitation centres. Many also work in private practice. They have completed a minimum of six years full-time university training, including postgraduate study in a recognised clinical neuropsychology training program, plus further supervised experience.
Clinical psychologists are specialists in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems and mental illness. They are located in private practice, hospitals, universities, general medical practices, community health centres and mental health services.
Clinical psychologists work with infants, children, adolescents, adults and older adults. They are also involved in designing and implementing a wide range of prevention and mental health promotion programs.
Clinical psychologists are specialist psychologists with a minimum of six years university training, including approved postgraduate clinical studies and placements in psychiatric settings. In order to become a full member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) College of Clinical Psychologists, two years of further approved supervision in the clinical field is required.
Community psychologists have specific training and experience in understanding and supporting the needs of people in their communities. They focus less on ‘problems’ and more on the strengths and competencies of community members. They value human differences and are committed to core principles of flexibility, equity and respect for cultural diversity in meeting the needs of different communities. They work in partnership with people, groups and organisations to achieve the goals and aspirations of their community or social groups and to prevent or reduce individual and community problems.
Community psychology developed in Australia in the 1970s with the recognition that the psychological wellbeing of individuals could not be understood in isolation from broader social contexts. The discipline has its roots in such fields as community mental health, organisational, social and more recently, environmental and health psychology. It focuses on communities as the primary unit for understanding and action.
Community psychologists work in a variety of roles in urban and rural settings, in areas such as local government, education, community health and non-government organisations. They have completed a minimum of six years full-time university training, including postgraduate study in a recognised community psychology training program, plus further supervised practice as a community psychologist.
Counselling psychologists employ a wide range of therapeutic methods, each of which places a significant emphasis on the quality of the relationship between the client and the psychologist. They assist individuals, families and groups in areas related to personal wellbeing, interpersonal relationships, work, recreation and health. They are also trained to assist people experiencing both acute and chronic life crises.
Counselling psychologists have completed a minimum of six years full-time university training, including two years of approved postgraduate study in counselling psychology, plus further supervised practice in the speciality.
Educational and developmental psychologists are concerned with how people develop and learn throughout their lives. They work in many, different settings with individuals, couples, groups and organisations. As a result they have various titles, such as school psychologist, guidance officer, child and adolescent counsellor.
All psychologists must have at least four years of approved university training in psychology followed by two years of supervised professional experience in order to be registered with their State or Territory Psychologists Registration Board.
Forensic psychologists apply psychological theory and skills to the understanding and functioning of the legal and criminal justice system. They often work in criminal, civil and family legal contexts and provide services for perpetrators, victims and justice personnel. Forensic psychology encompasses issues such as: the causes, prevention and treatment of criminal behaviour; the psychology of police, the courts and the correctional system; and the contributions of psychological evidence to legal proceedings.
Membership of the APS College of Forensic Psychologists is restricted to psychologists who have completed specialised training and have experience in the field. To remain a member of the College, practitioners are required to undertake a program of continuing professional development, with a particular focus on forensic psychology.
Health psychologists specialise in understanding the effects of psychological factors related to health and illness. They practice in two main areas health promotion and clinical health. Many health psychologists are engaged in the prevention of illness and the promotion of health-related behaviours. They also work in clinical health and the application of psychology to illness assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.
Health psychologists are specialist psychologists with a minimum of six years full-time university study, including two years of approved postgraduate study in health psychology, plus further supervised practice as a health psychologist. Membership of the APS College of Health Psychologists is restricted to psychologists who have completed training and have experience in the field. To remain a member of the College, practitioners are required to undertake a program of continuing professional development, with a particular focus on health psychology.
Organisational psychologists seek to understand the complex relationships occurring in workplaces in order to enhance organisational effectiveness, productivity and individual wellbeing.
Organisational psychologists apply psychological principles and methods to understand and influence work behaviour and attitudes, and organisational structures. Organisational psychology encompasses the disciplines of industrial and organisational (I/O) psychology; work psychology; occupational psychology; personnel psychology; human resource management and development; ergonomics, and vocational psychology; managerial psychology including coaching; and consumer psychology.
Organisational psychologists have completed a minimum of six years full-time university training, including postgraduate study in a recognised organisational psychology training program, plus further supervised practice.
The APS College of Sport Psychologists develops and safeguards the standards of practice and supervised experience. It sets the quality of service in sport psychology, and advises and makes recommendations regarding the education and training of sport psychologists. The College also acts as a focal point for consumer and other general inquiries relating to sport.
The only people who can legally use the title ‘psychologist’ are those who are registered with the registration board of each state or territory within Australia.
Members of the APS College of Sport Psychologists have qualifications beyond those required for basic registration. Attaining full membership requires a minimum of six years of university training, plus two years of supervised practical experience in sport psychology.