February is Psychology Month in Alberta. In 2006 I was asked to be a Coordinator and Liaison Worker for the Psychologist’s Association in the province. That was the first time that my column “All Psyched Up” was published in the Medicine Hat News. Hard to believe that I have submitted weekly articles for seventeen years!
Time changes things. The Saskatchewan small-town newspaper where I had written a column in my high school years asked me if they could also publish my column. This continued until November 2021 when, sadly, the newspaper was handed over to a larger entity.
In the summer of 2021, The Lethbridge Herald asked me to submit articles to them and they appear on a weekly basis in that city’s paper.
So, this week I thought it would be appropriate to go back to the very beginning and talk about the profession of psychology.
In Alberta, The College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP) is the regulatory body for those who have completed requirements to become Registered under the Health Professions Act. These include completion of appropriate courses to the master’s or doctorate degree level, a 1600-hour supervision with specialty focus, passing of an examination and approval by a panel who interviews the candidate. These things require about eight years of commitment.
Registered Psychologists carry a minimum of $5 million in liability insurance, pay annual dues, submit and complete professional development plans each year and have the option of becoming a member of various committees to further the profession. Standards of Practice and Ethical Guidelines are promoted, practiced and enforced by CAP.
Practice for psychologists is diverse and can be found in Educational/School, Forensic/Criminal, Neuropsychology, Health, Sport/Exercise, Industrial/Organizational, Clinical/Counselling, Experimental and Family subfields.
Many Registered Psychologists are also members of the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta (PAA) which is a collegial body that helps with referrals, advocacy, support, training and promotion.
So, why would you want to see a psychologist? If you are struggling with a problem, you will be able to get confidential help from a professional who has expertise. Assessing, diagnosing, referring and facilitating the recovery process are just some of the benefits.
According to the PAA, one in five Albertans experience psychological problems each year. Half (50%) of Albertans, have or will have psychological illness by the age of 40 years.
You are not alone. In fact, you are just one phone call away from help!