SGPsychStud: (Proposed) Issues with the Singapore psychological arena


Before I start this post, I would like to acknowledge the psychologists in Singapore and the work that they have done in raising the levels of mental health and the work of psychologists to where we are now.  However, there are always some issues, no matter where we are.
This research and post is done as a follow-up from the letter as posted before.  After some research and comparisons with the psychological arenas in other countries, these might be some current 'surface' issues that psychologists in Singapore face.  There might be other issues and/or other 'deep' underlying issues (which may not be so obvious) that affects Singaporean psychologists.

Hence this list is not the full extensive list, but cover the more obvious issues:

1. Professional Regulatory Body
The only professional regulatory body that governs over psychologists in Singapore is overseen by the Singapore Register of Psychologists, and the list only has 236 registered psychologists (updated on January 2014).  To be registered, you need at least a postgraduate degree and fulfil the requirements. However, the question is: "Are there only 236 psychologists in Singapore?"
Issue 1:  Unlike the other health professions, the governing of psychologists is not by the government or Ministry of Health.  Hence there is no compulsory obligation  for all psychologists to follow the rules or code of conduct as proposed by the SPS, if they are not registered with the SRP.
Issue 2:  By right, only registered psychologists are allowed to call them as 'psychologists', which this is the common regulation in other countries.  Following Issue 1, there is no law or whatsoever in Singapore to govern over this, resulting in many unregistered people calling themselves psychologists, whether or not with the minimum  training and education.  This may result in some clients not getting the appropriate professional service which they have paid for.

2. Membership
Issue 1:  Despite the low annual SPS membership fees, the number of members as registered with SPS are low.  There should be much more members, with the increase of interest in psychology in recent years, but the numbers do not reflect so.  To truly promote the psychological arena and interest of psychology in Singapore, membership numbers do help in one way or another.
Issue 2:  Despite the benefits of being a SPS member, they do not seem to be attractive enough to pull in more members.  This may be due to the inclusiveness of the membership or lack of frequent benefits for the members?

3. Classification of psychologists
According to the First Schedule of the Allied Health Professions Act, it indicated that "clinical psychologists" are covered under the Act.  This meant that only those who have the relevant training and education and practicing as "clinical psychologists" are required to to abide by the Act.
Update: This has not been enforced for psychologists till today since the passing of the Act.
Issue:  The Act did not cover the psychologists of other specialities, such as educational, counselling, etc. But other than clinical psychologists in Singapore, there are also other psychologists working in the different areas, though they may be a minority group.  This exclusion may mean that their psychological services may not as recognised as "psychological services" in Singapore and that the non-clinical psychologists may not be truly recognised as "real" psychologists, hence affecting their recognition and pay rates.

4.Prestige and recognition
Due to the above issues mentioned, they may affect the prestige and recognition of all psychologists (experienced or not/clinical or non-clinical) in Singapore.  Though the interest of psychology may be increasing hence resulting in more people to study psychology, but to take up the position and work as a psychologist, the recognition of psychologists should be increased  through the resolving of the above issues.  A contrasting example would be the prestige and recognition of doctors and/or lawyers in Singapore (and probably Asia) resulting in more people taking up those professions, despite similar years of education as a psychologist.

These issues may be pending to be resolved or not resolved at the time of publication of this post, and any changes will be reflected in future posts.
(P.S. Lastly the author apologise for the long delay between posts due to work.)