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University psychology clinics in Australia: Their place in professional training

University psychology clinics in Australia: Their place in professional training

Abstract

There is universal recognition of the need for developmentally appropriate supervised clinical experience in professional psychology training. University clinics were established to provide a bridging function for postgraduate clinical psychology students, assisting the integration of psychological theory and research into real-world clinical applications and professional identity development. The aim of training in university clinics is to provide opportunities for clinical practice and high-quality supervision to monitor and shape clinical skills. The experiences gained in external practicum settings complement this initial training but cannot replace it. The recent introduction of Medicare rebates for psychology services has threatened the survival of university clinics because low-cost psychological treatment is now available from experienced practitioners. This paper provides data on Australian university clinics collected before the introduction of Medicare. Concerted efforts are needed to protect university clinics in order to maintain standards required for accreditation of clinical psychology training programs. The potential impact of the loss of university training clinics is discussed and strategies to ensure their survival are suggested.
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