North meets South: perspectives in training in clinical psychology in Canada and Australia, with comments on Singapore

Helmes, Edward (2011) North meets South: perspectives in training in clinical psychology in Canada and Australia, with comments on Singapore. In: Shimoyama, Haruhiko, (ed.) An International Comparison of Clinical psychology in Practice : west meets east. Kazama Shubo, Tokyo, Japan, pp. 119-143.

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[Extract] Clinical psychology training models vary widely in different legal jurisdictions, occasionally even those within the same country. Clinical psychology is also comparatively new as a health care profession in comparison to other disciplines, suggesting that different factors may influence its development over older professions such as nursing and medicine. There are therefore many factors that influence what approach is taken to training clinical psychologists. Here I contrast various historical, social, legislative and organizational factors that have influenced the state of training in clinical psychology in two countries with well-developed training models from opposite hemispheres, Australia and Canada. A final section then explores the progress in developing clinical training in an equatorial country that is just developing its training of professional psychologists.

Formal training in clinical psychology has a relatively short history. While individuals with an interest in helping those with psychological disturbance have practiced their craft for centuries, systematic training in methods to help people with psychological problems really began in earnest in most countries during the period following World War II. The presence of large numbers of traumatized war veterans provided the stimulus for the American Department of Veterans Affairs to consult with the American Psychological Association to establish recommendations for formal training in clinical psychology (Committee on Training in Clinical Psychology, 1947). Since that time, the American Veterans Affairs system has continued over the years to be a strong supporter of clinical psychology, providing large numbers of internship settings and employment possibilities for clinical psychologists.

Given its population size and general cultural influence, developments in professional training in the United States provide one model for training that could have a degree of appeal in other countries. However, the actual training model and system in place in a country will generally depend more upon other factors. For example, local interests and cultural factors often lead to the development of different models that are better adapted co the local social and historical context. Of particular importance is how such training fits in the local university educational practices and in the legislative systems that regulate professions.

In this paper, I will contrast developments in Canada, which has close social, cultural, and professional links with the United States (in part due simply to sheer geographic proximity) with Australia, which has based its clinical training model much more on British traditions, albeit at a substantial geographical distance. The example of Canada also illustrates well the importance of social factors in the regulation of professional training. The final section will summarize developments from a country near the equator, Singapore, which provides a central point to the previous contrast of the North and the South of the globe.

Item ID: 16560
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-4-7599-1852-6
Keywords: clinical psychology; training
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Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2011 23:48
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920209 Mental Health Services @ 100%
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