This ALTC priority project grant described here was awarded in 2008 to a consortium of universities across Australia and led by the University of Queensland. The project aimed to re-imagine the curriculum for professional postgraduate clinical psychology training in Australia.
Discussions of clinical psychology training can be placed within broader discussions of the best ways to train health professionals more broadly. At issue is how to improve the ability of new graduates operating within the health system of Australia to respond to the changes in a dynamic health care environment, bringing to bear a high level of competency to their work that has its basis in high quality, cost-effective and innovative university training programmes.
This project was ambitious in the breadth of aspects of training tackled, from supervision and assessment of competencies through to issues of how to cope with students’ failure to meet a standard of fitness to practice while enrolled in such a programme. These are issues that are faced by clinical programmes internationally, involving again a balance between pressures to satisfy the demands of a number of stakeholders: student and academic staff aspirations, accreditation guidelines, university practices and employer preferences. Fortunately the empirical data base with which to successfully negotiate these challenges while still providing high quality training experiences is expanding. This database is more robust for some areas (e.g. supervision, fitness to practice, problem based learning (PBL)), and rapidly expanding in other areas (e.g. rural training concerns, ehealth and telemedicine approaches in training). Sophisticated models of conceptualising and operationalising core clinical competencies in clinical psychology are available; they need to find a greater place within the day-to-day functioning of clinical training programmes.
It is important that the course individual institutions set out upon when making training decisions is based upon this international empirical literature, as well as upon local data gleaned from all of these aforementioned stakeholders. The value of interpreting such local data within the broader empirical literature, as well as a willingness to invest in innovation and to support the key individuals and institutions responsible for implementing innovative clinical training experiences are the major overarching recommendations from this project.
For further information and project deliverables, including publications and conference presentations, please visit the website: