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2018 APS Congress

The 2018 APS Congress will be held in Sydney from Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 September 2018

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Reconciliation and the APS

Artwork by Anyupa Butcher © 2012

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of lands and waters throughout Australia, and pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging. We recognise the importance of continued connection to culture, country and community to the health and the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The APS is committed to Reconciliation and building respect, relationships and understanding between Australia's First People and other Australians to close the gap in social and emotional wellbeing outcomes.

The APS recognises the core principles of Indigenous governance and self-determination. We are committed to ensuring active involvement and input by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in matters regarding the social and emotional wellbeing and mental health of our First People. An essential part of this commitment is our partnership with the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA).

We have a longstanding commitment to working in culturally responsive and safe ways with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In 1973, a Working Party on Aboriginal Issues was established and APS members became involved in research via the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Since the 1990s progress has slowly been made in translating the APS' commitment into actual steps toward changing psychology in Australia and engaging in reconciliation. In the last three decades we have been active in developing an understanding of, and commitment to, working respectfully and effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.

The APS reconciliation journey

1992 Establishment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Interest Group of the APS
1995 The first Welcome to Country and keynote address by an Aboriginal activist, Rob Riley, at the 1995 APS Conference
1997 The APS was a signatory to the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) Statement of Apology to the Stolen Generation (ACOSS, 1997)
2000 The special edition of the Australian Psychologist on Indigenous psychology
2001 Reconciliation Australia the lead body on reconciliation was launched
2006 Bendi Lango bursary established to support Indigenous postgraduate psychology students
2008 The National Apology was delivered by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on behalf of the Australian people on 13th February
2008 The first ever meeting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander psychologists and establishment of the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA)

Aboriginal psychologists and AIPA have been instrumental in encouraging the APS in becoming involved in more formal ways of working toward reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, leading to the APS developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

2012 The APS first RAP Report (2011-2014) was released
2013 - 2016 The Australian Indigenous Psychology Education Project (AIPEP) grew out of the APS RAP actions related to psychology education
2016 APS staff members and the APS Board participated in cultural awareness and responsiveness workshops
2016 Tim Carey read the APS apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at APS Congress in Melbourne

Partnership with AIPA

The Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA) 

AIPA is the national body representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander psychologists in Australia. AIPA is committed to improving the social and emotional wellbeing and mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by leading the change required to deliver equitable, accessible, sustainable, timely and culturally safe psychological care. Furthermore, AIPA is dedicated to supporting and representing the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander psychologists and students, working toward achieving equity within the profession.

Since being establishment in 2008, AIPA’s considerable achievements include:

  • providing national leadership on the social and emotional wellbeing and mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,
  • leading national workshops to provide the non-Indigenous mental health workforce with the capabilities to work in a culturally responsive and safe manner

AIPA and the APS Working Together

AIPA has been instrumental in encouraging the APS to work toward reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in more formal ways. This partnership has helped drive:

  • the development of APS’s Reconciliation Action Plan
  • involvement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group (ATSIMHSPAG)
  • the Australian Indigenous Psychology Education Project (AIPEP)
  • the establishment of the Indigenous Psychology Advisor Group to the APS Board (2015)
  • the APS’ Apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People (2016)
Australian Indigenous Psychology Education Project (AIPEP)

The Australian Psychological Society joined several universities across Australia in the project titled: Curricular approaches to increasing cultural competence and Indigenous participation in psychology education and training

How to get involved

This is information for members on how they can get involved in the reconciliation action plan