About the Society
The Australian Society for Psychological Medicine (ASPM) aims to connect, train and support medical practitioners in the complex work of caring for the whole person through trauma-informed, strengths focused and culturally respectful approaches. We are a responsive member-run organisation inclusive of GPs across Australia from RACGP, ACCRM, non-aligned GPs and other doctors who have an interest in mental health and social and emotional wellbeing. ASPM promotes generalist priorities, process, and content that care for the whole person within their relationships and community. We also value and seek to honour the wisdom and experience of older members within our community.
We advocate for generalist whole person care through teaching of medical students and GPs, research and innovative clinical practice. As generalists, we value training by GPs for GPs, and offer peer case consultation groups, small group learning and high quality accredited training.
We are passionate about caring for GPs, aware of the high emotional load of this work on behalf of the community.
Originally named the Australian College of Psychological Medicine in 1998, it became the 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. ASPM membership is open to Australian and New Zealand medical practitioners.
Who are the Australian Society for Psychological Medicine Members?
- GPs from Australia and New Zealand.
- Medical Specialists of various kinds whose specialty requires an interest in psychological issues.
- GPs with further training in mental health – such as PhD and Masters qualifications.
- 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 GPs and specialists with psychological skills 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.
- Generalist mental health skills are distinct from psychiatric and psychological skills and therefore require an organisation to champion and support those who do this important work in our community.
- ASPM can develop Advanced Mental Health skills in its members to better serve our communities.
- 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 generalist 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 – we welcome members starting these in their local area to support other members.
- Hosting a biennial conference.
- Developing and delivering Focussed Psychological Strategies training modules – across the country with a focus on rural delivery.
- Providing networking opportunities for like-minded practitioners – see our Facebook site: The Australian Society For Psychological Medicine.
- 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 archived 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 share our passions, become a member and support our work. Connect with us on Facebook, join a discussion group, share your skills in education, research, technology, advocacy, or help us to build our membership goals of high quality generalist mental health. If you are interested to join the ASPM please see our Membership Application to enjoy the collegiate support that we can provide.