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Cherrie’s Sharing in FLC Newsletter June 2023

Dear brothers, sisters and friends,

I was asked to write about my journey of training in Psychology and Clinical Psychology and share it in the newsletter so you will be more confident in what we do at First Light Care. I gladly accepted the challenge and thought this might also encourage anyone interested in working in this profession to plan ahead, persevere and do it for His glory.

In Australia, there are many pathways to becoming a psychologist. For me, I went through a pathway called 4+2. It includes a 4-year accredited sequence of study in psychology, followed by two years of internship. The 4-year study program can be broken down into two parts. The first part is about learning fundamental theories and statistics. The second part involves a year-long research project and practical counselling skills training.

After I graduated from my undergraduate studies, I took a year break, then entered a 2-year internship which required 3,000 hours of direct-client, client-related and supervision hours. In those hours, I needed to complete eight case reports, pass the National Psychology Exam, and pass the training requirements in adult and child tests of intelligence, specialised test of memory and personality tests. I am also required to practise and report about working with diverse groups, people across the lifespan and ethical dilemmas. I used to think an internship was just about work experience. Unfortunately, in psychology, they ask for more, which is absolutely understandablebecause the next stop after 4+2 is to obtain a general registration as a psychologist.

The study of clinical psychology prepares a psychologist to work with complex cases with additional emphasis on multi-model case formulation and evidence-based interventions. To be endorsed as a clinical psychologist, one has to complete a 2-year clinical registrar program after completing the Master’s degree. Interestingly, the Medicare rebate for seeing a clinical psychologist is significantly higher, contributing to its popularity as the highest in-demand area of practice endorsement. Personally, I respect all areas of practice endorsement and believe they are equally valuable in our society.

I am now on my way to completing the study of clinical psychology. For those interested in this path, knowing what is required from the start would be helpful. Academically, the minimum requirement is around distinction in the average grade. The admission rate for a postgraduate degree in clinical psychology is notoriously low. If I use the most recent 2023 references from my college and Western Sydney University, where one of my friend is studying at, the acceptance rate is about 5-8%. I would imagine the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales would be even more competitive. Generally speaking, each cohort is around 20 people selected from hundreds of applicants. The selection process varies. For me, it involved an entrance test (multiple choice and short essay questions) and 6 individual interviews which asked about my responses to different case presentations, my career goals, my strengths and weaknesses.    

God has good purposes for each and every one of us. If He leads you to work in this caring profession, He will provide and bring it to fruition. I pray that we all work hard and faithfully wherever He positions us for His glory. May God help us to see His beautiful plans and the Holy Spirit empower us to follow where He leads.

“For with you is the fountain of life, in your light we see light.” Psalm 36:9

Blessings

Cherrie

Registered Psychologist

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