Australian Society for Psychological Medicine

About the Society

The Society started out as the Australian College of Psychological Medicine in 1998. The College was formed by a group of doctors with a special interest in psychological medicine. The name was changed to Society instead of College in 2011, to reflect our desire to focus on providing support to members and to forge links with relevant training colleges. The ASPM now has members in every state and territory and membership is also open to doctors in New Zealand.

Who are the Australian Society for Psychological Medicine Members?

  • GPs from every state and territory in Australia
  • Medical Specialists of various kinds whose specialty requires an interest in psychological issues.
  • GPs with qualifications such as Masters degrees in CBT or Psychotherapy.
  • Medical graduates with additional training and skills in areas such as hypnosis, weight management, eating disorders, pain management, family therapy, relationship therapy, sexual counseling, etc.
  • Medical practitioners with no special training and skill but an awareness of the importance of psychological issues in medical practice and a desire to learn to address them within their own lives and practices.

Who are the Australian Society for Psychological Medicine Friends?

  • Doctors who are not registered in Australia or New Zealand.
  • Psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, psychiatric nurses and other counsellors.
  • Other individuals and organisations who are interested in psychological medicine and in promoting information and contributing to research about psychological medicine, when relevant; and people who want to receive the benefits of membership of our organisation.

Why do we need psychologically skilled GPs and specialists when we can refer to psychologists and psychiatrists?

  • Skilled GPs have a combination of medical and psychological skills which puts them in a unique position to understand the nature of a patient’s distress be it physical, social, psychological or emotional or, as is more usual, a combination of some or all of these factors. Assessment and treatment become more holistic and more efficient.
  • A psychologically skilled medical workforce who can make appropriate assessments and do simple interventions rather than just give patients more drugs.
  • A medically trained counsellor will be less likely to overlook physical conditions which can cause, mimic or exacerbate psychological distress.
  • Introducing effective psychological interventions is a very natural part of the whole-person care such doctors can provide.

Patients are often much more willing to accept interventions from the doctor of first contact than to accept a referral to a specialist.

So where does the Australian Society for Psychological Medicine fit in?

The Society aims to encourage practitioners to expand their interest and skill as mental health care providers by providing  opportunities for further education and encouraging and facilitating interaction between practitioners who can thus support and teach each other. It does so in the following ways:

  • Holding regular local chapter events in each state and territory.
  • Hosting a biennial conference.
  • Regularly publishing an excellent clinically-relevant newsletter, ‘Connection’, approximately four times a year, in posted hard copy or emailed version, to members. Connection also provides an opportunity for members to communicate with each other on issues relevant to the Society.
  • Developing and delivering psychological medicine training modules
  • Providing networking opportunities for like-minded practitioners
  • Providing a website with a database for members to obtain information about Fellows of the Society and to access articles from previous editions of Connection, the Society newsletter
  • Disseminating information about educational opportunities locally and abroad
  • Broadcasting on the internet ‘Webcasts’ of particular relevance to psychological medicine practitioners
  • Disseminating news of the Society and of educational and training opportunities
  • Promoting research.
  • Lobbying for better conditions and recognition for members.

If you are interested in psychological medicine, please see our Membership Application to enjoy the collegiate support that we can provide.