The Ballarat Branch has approximately160 members and covers a substantial geographic area. From Ballarat, our region heads west through Halls Gap and the Pyrenees region, to the South Australian border via Edenhope. To the north, our area includes the Wimmera (e.g., Horsham), through Hopetoun, down to Maryborough and Daylesford. The majority of our members are in private practice and/or employed by government organisations (mainly schools and health services), or the University of Ballarat. We also have a healthy student membership as a result of enrolments at the University of Ballarat.
Our private practitioners continue to experience high workloads and long waiting lists, as clients use the Medicare system to access services. A Private Practice Psychologist Network was established in 2008 to bring private practitioners together to discuss issues of relevance to practice. The group meets monthly, with topics including the Private Practice Management Standards (one standard is covered every second month); or clinical topics which have included screening for cognitive deficits, and managing anxiety in children and adolescents. The Network provides an opportunity for members to participate in professional development activities, as well as network with other private practitioners in a collegial environment. Many of the topics are relevant for psychologists in public health and other settings, so all members are welcome to attend the sessions. Enquiries should be directed to Kate Skilbeck (email@example.com).
A key issue for our members is access to professional development activities. The Branch Committee is dedicated to organising quality professional development activities at reasonable prices. We draw upon the expertise of practitioners from around Australia, although our most successful recent workshops have been conducted by our members. Our Branch has members with expertise in a range of areas (research and practice), and the Branch will continue to draw upon that expertise for professional development activities. Details of activities are always emailed to members and will also be posted here on the APS Branch website.