COURSE APPROVAL GUIDELINES APS COLLEGE OF HEALTH PSYCHOLOGISTS

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1 COURSE APPROVAL GUIDELINES APS COLLEGE OF HEALTH PSYCHOLOGISTS Updated October 2000

2 Page 2 1. General Introduction and Principles The College of Health Psychologists aims to promote excellence in teaching, practice and research in Health Psychology within Australia. As a means to this end it aims to encourage high quality advanced level training of psychologists in the area of Health Psychology in Masters degrees and Doctoral programs. The guidelines for postgraduate courses in Health Psychology described in this document have been established in order to identify the content areas, and professional skills and standards, the College believes are pertinent to Health Psychologists. Graduates of courses which are deemed to meet these guidelines by the College will be eligible for membership of the College following completion of supervised experience. The Guidelines have been established to assist in the development of postgraduate Health Psychology courses and courses deemed to meet these Guidelines will be approved by the College of Health Psychologists. The College recognises that the area of Health Psychology is a broad one. It is the area in which psychological principles are applied to enhance physical health and wellbeing, and to reduce the psychological impact of physical illness. The College suggests that Health Psychology may be viewed as falling on a continuum anchored at one end by principles of psychology applied to health promotion and public health, and at the other, by psychology applied to the care of the physically ill. For convenience, the College has identified two broad areas of Health Psychology representing respective ends of the continuum, Health Promotion and Clinical Health Psychology. While this dichotomy is useful, the College recognises that both ends of the Health Psychology spectrum inform each other, and that there is considerable overlap. As a consequence of the breadth of Health Psychology it is recognised that many Health Psychologists will have particular expertise in Health Promotion or Clinical Health Psychology, but not both. However, the College deems it essential that members of the College of Health Psychologists will have at least a general knowledge of both ends of the continuum of Health Psychology. In accord with the Australian Psychological Society, the College of Health Psychologists endorses training in Health Psychology on the basis of the scientistprofessional model. Acceptable postgraduate courses in Health Psychology will be firmly established on an understanding of the established knowledge and current research in the area and will adopt an evidence-based approach to training. The following guidelines incorporate information from the APS Accreditation Guidelines to facilitate access to course guideline information. The APS Accreditation Guidelines do, however, provide additional procedural information regarding the course approval process and should be consulted in conjunction with these specific guidelines.

3 Page 3 2. General Program Requirements 2.1 Entry Requirements See Accreditation Guidelines Length See Accreditation Guidelines Advisory/Liaison Committee See Accreditation Guideline Program Structure 2.5 Credit See Accreditation Guidelines See Accreditation Guidelines Resourcing the Program 3.1 Staffing See Accreditation Guidelines Administration and teaching resources See Accreditation Guidelines 2.5 and Content of Coursework Consistent with the APS Accreditation Guidelines for fifth- and sixth-year programs, training in Health Psychology is based on the scientist-professional model. General knowledge and skills required by psychological practitioners as well as knowledge of Health Psychology are required. 4.1 General Knowledge for Practitioners See Accreditation Guidelines Specialist Content Structure All accredited courses will cover, at an advanced level, core specialist content outlined below. In addition, accredited courses will offer two or more advanced level units (approximately 24 hours per unit) in either Health Promotion or Clinical Health

4 Page 4 Psychology, and one advanced level unit in the alternative sub-specialty (e.g., one unit in Health Promotion Psychology and two in Clinical Health Psychology) Core Specialist Content Consistent with the core content specified for the College of Health Psychologists, the following content areas will be addressed at an advanced level in all courses accredited by the College. Biological, psychological and social determinants of health and illness ; Epidemiology of Australian population groups; Basic physical systems; Models of health behaviours and behaviour change; Psychology of health risk factors; Health beliefs and attitudes; Systems approaches relevant to health; Stress, stress management, coping and social support in health and illness Health Promotion Content Behavioural epidemiology; Health promotion strategies and methods (e.g., applied to exercise, lifestyle and nutrition); Public health marketing and communication; Disease prevention (e.g., coronary heart disease, cancer, STDs, smoking related diseases and dietary related problems); Consumer behaviour; Systems and organisations for health promotion in Australia; Community needs analysis; Community development, intervention and empowerment strategies Clinical Health Psychology Content Models of health care; Processes of acute and chronic illness, and seeking medical care; Developmental issues in acute and chronic illness; Communication in health settings; The patient-practitioner relationship; Psychosomatic, psychophysiological and behavioural medicine principles; Psychological treatment relevant to health and illness (e.g., pain, addiction, sleep and eating problems); Adjustment (e.g., grief, bereavement, death and dying) Trauma, disability and rehabilitation; 4.3 Additional Areas of Study Accredited Health Psychology courses may offer specialised instruction not covered in the core areas above, but related to the practice of Health Psychology, such as the diagnosis of psychological problems in general health settings, advanced therapeutic techniques, critical incident management, grief counselling, addiction, management of eating and sleeping problems and advanced physiology. 5. Research

5 Page 5 See Accreditation Guidelines It is expected that the research will have direct relevance to Health Psychology. 6. Practical Placements Practical placements in accredited Health Psychology courses will be consistent with APS Accreditation Guidelines The practical placements will be designed to provide students with the opportunity to apply, under supervision, the knowledge and skills acquired in the coursework component of the Health Psychology course. In addition students will experience issues related to inter-professional relationships and understand and explore the ethical considerations and implications in their work. 6.2 Placements should expose students to a range of Health Psychology experiences, and in accord with the requirement to obtain experience and skills in the breadth of Health Psychology, at least one practical placement will be conducted in the Health Promotion and Clinical Health Psychology domains. 6.3 Students are expected to complete a minimum of 1000 hours (125 days) placement. The practical work will be made up of three or more practical placements. These will include both Health Promotion and Clinical Health Psychology experiences although the balance of these will be determined by the course. 6.4 The quality of all practical work will be strictly supervised and monitored with students experiences recorded in a logbook and evaluated by practical supervisors. The practical experiences will result in a logbook of placement activities. This will record detailed case notes in Clinical Health Psychology settings and a record of activities in the Health Promotion settings. It will include: (a) a written statement of the activities the student will be engaged in while on placement. This statement should be developed prior to the placement and be the result of consultation between the course coordinator (or nominee) and the practical supervisor. (b) a detailed written assessment of the student by the practical supervisor, provided at the end of each placement. The report should specify the students strengths and weaknesses, and whether the student has satisfactorily completed the placement. (c) a written evaluation of the practical venue and of the supervisor by the student at the end of each practical placement.

6 Page The supervising psychologist would normally be a member of the APS College of Health Psychologists. If not, in accordance with Accreditation Guideline , a staff member from the AOU meeting this requirement may be assigned the responsibility for the placement in conjunction with a member of the staff of the supervising agency. 6.6 The institution which offers the course should ensure that the supervisors are clearly informed as to their expected role and responsibilities. It is the responsibility of the University to liaise with the supervisor to ensure communication throughout the placement. The University should provide the means for issues raised on placement to be discussed with forthcoming supervisors where appropriate. 6.7 If a placement is failed the student is required to undertake and pass another placement of the same duration and if possible, in a similar setting. 7. Assessment See Accreditation Guidelines and Programs have the responsibility to develop assessment processes which are appropriately objective, and ensure that students have acquired an advanced knowledge, research and skill base in Health Psychology. These processes must also ensure that students whose behaviour is professionally incompetent or unethical do not obtain a formal qualification in Health Psychology.

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