A registered psychologist in South Africa is a psychologist registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as a psychologist in Independent Practice. All practicing psychologists are required to have completed the HPCSA criteria for their registration category, which includes completion of the relevant master’s degree, passing the ethics board exam of the HPCSA and then registering and maintaining yearly payment to the Board of Psychology at the HPCSA. You can visit the HPCSA website http://isystems.hpcsa.co.za/iregister/ to search for the practitioner and view their registration status.
In South Africa, there are different categories of registered psychologists, including:
- Clinical psychologist
- Counselling psychologist
- Educational psychologist
- Industrial or organisational psychologist
- Research psychologist
- Forensic psychologist
- Registered counsellor
Each of the categories has a specific scope of practice related to their specific field. This means that each has a specific focus direction. Visit the HPCSA site to view the various scope of practice, this will also help to clarify the difference between the various registration categories under the umbrella field Psychology.
In respect of clinical psychology, the process of qualifying as a clinical psychologist involves completion of a master’s degree in clinical psychology (MA or MSc Clinical Psychology). This is generally a one-year course work programme which includes theoretical and practical training in therapy, assessment, diagnosis and treatment. Thereafter, the training involves a second year, which focuses on completion of a research dissertation. In addition, clinical psychologists must complete a full-year internship programme. Thereafter they can receive their master’s degree qualification. Once having received their master’s qualification, clinical psychologists are required to complete a full-year community service or public service programme, where they work as a clinical psychologist in the public setting. They are also required to pass the HPCSA board examinations.
Once the psychologist has met all of these criteria they can register in the category Clinical Psychologist in Independent Practice.