PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES FOR ALL? A SOUTH AFRICAN INTERVENTION TO TRAIN PSYCHOLOGISTS TO SERVE THE COMMUNITY
Elkonin, D. and Foxcroft, C.D., University of Port Elizabeth, South Africa
The delivery of psychological services to the population of South Africa, where there are approximately 4500 registered psychologists for a population of over 37 million people, is an overwhelming problem for the profession. To redress this imbalance, wide ranging changes in the training of psychologists, are transforming the profession. Following three years of consultation, the Professional Board for Psychology produced a document in 1999 defining two separate categories for professional psychologists namely a Psychological Counsellor, with a four year B.Psych degree, and a generalist Psychologist, with a three year D. Psych degree. The category of Psychological Counsellor is designed to meet the needs of the indigenous population and has defined limits regarding intervention strategies. These changes have forced universities to radically restructure their training programs. This poster highlights the process followed by the Department of Psychology at the University of Port Elizabeth in developing the BPsych degree. The changes have required that academic courses be restructured into modular format, that specific outcomes set by the Professional Board and the National Qualifications Framework be met by adhering to the principles of outcomes-based education, and continuous assessment and the completion of a six month practicum, in a real life context, be provided. Students are individually selected to ensure that a practically trained professional, who can meet the psychological needs of the community, is produced. The first graduates of the BPsych program are expected to complete their courses at the end of 2002.