Anthony Pillay, PhD

President: Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA)

Clearly the year has been an eventful one at PsySSA with much transpiring on all fronts.

Since the last communication in PsyTalk, where I noted PsySSA’s concern about the court matter between the Recognition of Life Long Learning in Psychology Action Group (RELPAG) and others, and the Professional Board for Psychology, and our recommendation that the Board meets with the parties to resolve the matter, there has been a new development. Considering the national significance of this matter PsySSA approached the two parties and offered to facilitate a meeting between them as a way to help them reach a resolution out-of-court. Both parties accepted PsySSA’s offer and a meeting date was set for 11 August. A team of skilled facilitators was selected to represent PsySSA in this crucial meeting led by Past-President Professor Juan Nel and very ably assisted by President-Elect Professor Sumaya Laher, and Executive Committee members Dr Helen Dunbar-Krige and Dr Ewald Crause. We have since learned that the meeting was held in a good spirit and we will be kept informed of developments emanating from the meeting. The holding of such a meeting also gives us much faith in our abilities as Psychologists and learned societies to work together to resolve issues of discord in an amicable manner.

PsySSA has continued in its attempts to engage Medical Aid companies regarding the reimbursement difficulties experienced by our members. We have been increasingly met with the response that companies are awaiting the outcome of the court matter (above) and, therefore, not willing to engage further with us at this stage. Nevertheless, PsySSA will continue to pursue this matter. We are also persisting in our efforts to have some of the Medical Aid groups participate in a panel discussion at our 22nd National Congress in September, although thus far we have had limited success.

The Annual Congress is well under way and we look forward to a large presence at Emperor’s Palace from 21-23 September. Exciting workshops are on offer and aimed very much at practitioners with the emphasis on application of ethical, assessment and intervention techniques. I encourage you to consider including one or two of these workshops in your conference plans. The range of papers on the conference buffet is enormous and will address all tastes and preferences. The final programme is on our website.

PsySSA has also had success in recommending to the Department of Justice to amend the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977, to ensure that Clinical Psychologists are included as a more significant part of the panel to assess fitness to stand trial and criminal responsibility. This will substantially reduce the waiting period for such examinations and address the delays in justice.

South African psychologists and PsySSA in particular were very well represented at the 31st  International Congress of Psychology (ICP 2016) in Japan at the end of July. As a country we had a notable presence both in presentations as well as delegate attendance. Plans are already underway to host the inaugural Pan African Psychology Union congress scheduled for 17-22 September 2017 at the Durban International Convention Centre. For early notice and details see http://www.panafricanpsychologyunion.org/?page_id=144

We look forward to seeing you at Emperor’s Palace in September.

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