The Politics of Psyche

Who would have thought that the study of thought, feeling and behaviour could be so fraught with competing politicised paradigms built upon economic insecurities and fiscal fears?

Factionalism is rife now as a result of Psychology becoming a registered Health profession. Medicalisation and Medicare-isation has had the unwanted effect of driving a wedge between Fully Registered Psychologists with AHPRA endorsement as Clinical Psychologists and Fully Registered Psychologists with no AHPRA endorsement as Clinical Psychologists.

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) is imploding as a small faction of Clinical Psychologists attempt to hold onto their ill-gotten advantage, in denial of the total lack of credibility of the false distinction created by a two tiered medicare rebate system.

The Historicity of the creation of these distinctions between psychologists and the apartheid it causes, reveals a somewhat arbitrary grouping of those who - prior to Psychology becomeing an AHPRA registered health profession - were a member of a clinical college and more recent Clin Psych Masters graduates into the team with the gold star and all those who were not a member of that club or done the Clin Psych Masters are on the outside. This despite the only available evidence for the Medicare Better Acess outcomes supporting a conclusion that there are no better outcomes for clients (or do we have to call them patients now?).

Looking for Psychology in a drop down menu of courses and schools for a univerity that asked me to do an online survey, I discovered Psychology was not listed under social sciences or social studies (although I completed my Psychology undergraduate and honours degrees and research at Flinders Universities school of Social Sciences and am a fully registered Psychologist. I then looked for listings in Humanities and Allied Medical or Allied Health and still couldn't find Psychology. Eventually I found it under biological sciences. Somewhat astonished, but then not really surprised given the dumbing down and materialisation of our post-post-modern world that sells degrees and sells out knowledge and truth.

Psychology is more than biology. Biology is an important aspect of Psychology, but so are the understandings of the subjective aspects of human experience; the content and structure of thoughts and feelings; cognitions and affect; in short 'Psyche'. Psychology is not a sub-branch of biological sciences or medicine, it is a discipline in it's own right that crosses over biological sciences, philosophy, social sciences, anthropology, sociology etc. where they intersect in the realm of thoughts, feelings and behaviours at the conceptual space we call the psyche.

It is lazy and dispiriting to try to reduce psychology to a soulless ('Psyche' translates to 'Soul') subranch of biological sciences that takes the seemingly easy option of 'treating' through medication and an adjunct of insipid and soulless cognitive behaviour therapies.

The APS board is in the process of possibly being spilled by the membership, along with the executive director, so that a truly representative executive can go into bat for the entire membership including the majority of GPPs and the vast majority who are not endorsed as 'Clinical Psychologist.'

Watch this space!!

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