Australian Psychological Society

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Australian Psychological Society
Australian Psychological Society (APS) logo.jpg
APS logo
Formation 1966

Level 11, 257 Collins Street

Melbourne, Australia
Executive Director
Lyn Littlefield
Anthony Cichello

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) is a professional association of psychologists in Australia. The APS has more than 23,000 members, making it the largest professional body representing psychologists in Australia.[1] The Society's Code of Ethics was adopted in 2007[2] and became the Code of Ethics for the profession in Australia in 2010 when it was taken up by the newly-formed[3] Psychology Board of Australia.[4][5] The APS also provides members with recommendations of appropriate fees to charge for their professional services.[6]


The standard route to full membership (MAPS) of the APS involves six years of Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) accredited study including a two years masters program in a selected specialisation. The postgraduate training must be in one of the following nine specialist areas of psychology as recognised by the APS and reflected by their colleges (in alphabetical order): clinical neuropsychology, clinical psychology, community psychology, counselling psychology, educational and developmental psychology, forensic psychology, health psychology, organisational psychology, and sports psychology. Alternate routes are available for those who have had gained experience and reputation in the field of psychology, including practitioners who have gained specialised expertise in a particular psychological area and academics who have made substantial contributions having published in psychological journals.[7]

Other levels of membership are available, such as associate membership (Assoc. MAPS), which is normally available to those who completed four years of APAC accredited undergraduate study. Affiliate membership requires a three-year sequence of study in an APAC approved course in psychology.

Undergraduate students studying any APAC accredited psychology units are eligible to become APS student subscribers. This subscription is dependent on continuing study in psychology.

Around 60% of all state registered psychologists are APS members, and student subscribers represent 12% of members. Of this, the gender breakdown by members is 74% female and 26% male.[8]


All APS members are bound by the Society's Code of Ethics, the most recent version of which was adopted in 2007,[2] and also by the 28 Ethical Guidelines that explore the principles within specific contexts encountered in practice.[5] Guidance is also provided through position statements that are adopted by the Society at Annual General Meetings. For example, on the subject of sexual orientation change efforts and conversion therapy, the Society has joined major medical bodies like the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists in adopting a position of blanket prohibition. Its most recent comment was issued in 2015 under the heading APS Position Statement on the use of psychological practices that attempt to change sexual orientation. The statement declares (emphases in original) that the "APS strongly opposes any approach to psychological practice or research that treats lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people as disordered. The APS also strongly opposes any approach to psychological practice or research that attempts to change an individual's sexual orientation."[9] The Position Statement supports this position by reference to the ethical principles relating to the rights and dignity of individuals, whereby psychologists are required to "avoid discriminating unfairly against people on the basis of age, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, gender, disability, or any other basis proscribed by law"[2] and mandates that they

"(a) communicate respect for other people through their actions and language;
(b) do not behave in a manner that, having regard to the context, may reasonably be perceived as coercive or demeaning;
(c) respect the legal rights and moral rights of others; and
(d) do not denigrate the character of people by engaging in conduct that demeans them as persons, or defames, or harasses them."[2]

The Position Statement explicitly states that this ethical "requirement not to discriminate and to respect clients' moral rights does not equate to a justification to treat homosexuality or bisexuality as a disorder requiring treatment,"[9] relying on the Code of Ethics' section on propriety: "psychologists only provide psychological services within the boundaries of their professional competence [which] includes but is not restricted to ... basing their service on established knowledge of the discipline and profession of psychology".[2] Regarding the knowledge base relating to conversion therapy, the statement is unequivocal: "There is no peer-reviewed empirical psychological research objectively documenting the ability to 'change' an individual’s sexual orientation. Furthermore, there is no peer-reviewed empirical psychological research demonstrating that homosexuality or bisexuality constitutes a disorder. In addition to the lack of empirical support for the claim that sexual orientation can be changed, empirical evidence indicates that attempts at changing sexual orientation can be harmful."[9] The Society's position concludes by noting that it "is, of course, appropriate for psychologists to provide clinical services to clients who experience distress in regards to their sexual orientation ... [but this practice] should seek to understand the reasons for distress and how it may be alleviated. Evidence-based strategies to alleviate distress do not include attempts at changing sexual orientation, but could include challenging negative stereotypes, seeking social support, and self-acceptance, among others."[9]


The APS organises a number conferences every year, at different locations across the country, bringing together expert psychologists and speakers, as well as the latest research from different areas of psychology.

In 2015, the APS is running the following conferences:


The APS also helps promote and facilitate a large number of psychology-related events throughout the year. These can be found on the APS Events Calendar, which includes an indicator of individual events’ CPD loading for professional psychologists.

The APS also regularly attends a number of national conferences as a participant. For 2015, these include:


The APS publishes three journals with Impact Factors with Wiley:[10] Australian Journal of Psychology (1.035, ISSN 1742-9536),[11] Australian Psychologist (0.724, ISSN 1742-9536)[12] and Clinical Psychologist (0.967, ISSN 1742-9552).[13]

Education and training[edit]

To be eligible for full APS membership a psychologist is required to have a master's degree or a doctorate. APS provides associate member status to those who have completed four years of university education plus two years of supervised practice.[14]

The APS has nine specialist colleges, these are in the areas of neuropsychology, forsensic, community, health, clinical, counselling, education and development, organisational and sport. The standard entry criteria for APS college membership is six or more years of full-time university education, including an accredited master's degree or doctorate in psychology, involving intensive practical training and supervised placements relevant to that speciality domain.

In 2009, the APS developed a new 5th year postgraduate diploma in professional practice. This training model has been introduced via the "5+1" pathway as a transitional alternative to the "4+2" system that has been in place for many years as a basic standard for registration as a psychologist in Australia. This is reflective of the ultimate goal of the APS to set the minimum requirement of registration at the master's degree level. The new 5+1 pathway incorporates a five-year university sequence in psychology training, followed by one year accredited workplace supervision under probationary conditions.[15]

For over 30 years in Western Australia, psychologist registration has also identified specialist title in the field of psychology across seven specialist domains (counselling psychology, forensic psychology, clinical psychology, educational and developmental psychology, neuropsychology, organisational psychology, and sport psychology). Specialist registration in WA has been available for psychologists who have attained at least a master's degree or more in their specialist domain, followed by two years of specialised practice under supervision. (See also: Psychologist#Licensing and regulation)

As of 2010, the Psychology Board of Australia became the sole agency responsible for the registration of psychologists across Australia.[3] The transition to this new body has caused significant friction within the profession as it is overseen by a government controlled executive who have made decisions at odds with previous professional practice.[citation needed] This includes not providing specialist registration which the APS has lobbied to include.[16] The Board adopted the APS Code of Ethics[2] for all members of the profession.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ About the Australian Psychological Society Archived 10 December 2005 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Australian Psychological Society (27 September 2007). "APS Code of Ethics" (PDF). Australian Psychological Society. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 March 2018. Retrieved 17 March 2018. The Australian Psychological Society Limited (the Society) adopted this Code of Ethics (the Code) at its Forty-First Annual General Meeting held on 27 September 2007. ... Reprinted October 2016 
  3. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 May 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Codes, guidelines and policies". Psychology Board of Australia. 29 January 2018. Archived from the original on 13 March 2018. Retrieved 17 March 2018. The Board has adopted the Australian Psychological Society Code of Ethics for the profession. 
  5. ^ a b c "Ethics and Practice Standards". Australian Psychological Society. 2018. Retrieved 17 March 2018. In 2010 it was adopted by the Psychology Board of Australia as the code that all psychologists should abide by. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 January 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  7. ^ APS website. Archived 16 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ APS Presentation to 1st Year Students, 2006 Archived 7 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ a b c d Australian Psychological Society (2015). "APS Position Statement on the use of psychological practices that attempt to change sexual orientation" (PDF). Australian Psychological Society. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 March 2018. Retrieved 17 March 2018. 
  10. ^ "Journals and databases". Australian Psychological Society. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  11. ^ "Australian Journal of Psychology – Author Guidelines". Wiley Online Library. 30 January 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  12. ^ "Australian Psychologist – Author Guidelines". Wiley Online Library. 30 January 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  13. ^ "Clinical Psychologist – Author Guidelines". Wiley Online Library. 30 January 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
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External links[edit]