What is the difference between a psychologist and a provisional psychologist?

You might have noticed on our website that we have a number of psychologists on our team. And you may have even noticed that some of our staff have different titles under the branch of “psychologists”.

We have called some “provisionally registered psychologists” while others are simply called “psychologists” or “registered psychologists”. Have you ever wondered why? Do you know what the difference is between a psychologist and a provisional psychologist?

Allow us to break it all down for you.

What is psychology?

Our psych staff all contribute collectively to provide an integral part of our multidisciplinary allied health service offering. What does a psychologist actually do though?

Psychology is the study of knowledge, thoughts, emotions, moods, beliefs, desires and behaviours. The psychologists at One Central Health spend their days assessing, interpreting, discussing and implementing programs for the overall psychological developmental and wellbeing of our clients.

A psychologist is a professional trained in the science of how people think, feel, behave and learn.

Australian Psychological Society (APS)

What is a provisionally registered psychologist?

Psychologists typically study a minimum of 4 to 5 years of psychology before becoming provisionally registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, also known as AHPRA. 

During this supervised practice period, provisionally registered psychologists are overseen by a fully registered psychologist. The registration being ‘provisional’ means that the psychologist will continually report to and be mentored by a psychologist with even more hands-on experience. This process and mentorship adheres to the strict regulations set in place by AHPRA regarding the application of knowledge, method, principles, techniques and ethical standards.

Once they complete 6 years of combined study/supervision the provisionally registered psychologist can then become a fully registered psychologist. If they want to, they can then complete further supervisor accredited training to become a supervisor of a provisionally registered psychologist themselves.

It may seem to be easier to simply change the titles to “psychologist with provisional registration” and “psychologist with general registration”.

The difference between a psychologist and a provisional psychologist 

All of the provisionally registered psychologists at One Central Health are fully qualified, skilled and knowledgeable in all aspects of the services they provide. Their being under supervision means that they are able to discuss their assessments, discussion and therapy implementation with a supervisor who is an even more experienced peer in the field of psychology. These fully registered supervisors can be a colleague within the same organisation (like the multiple supervisors at One Central Health) or they can be a mentor from another company.

In many cases, the qualifications of a provisional psychologist may be supplemented with further studies. This can include teaching, counselling and positive behaviours. Many members of the psych-team at One Central Health, both provisional and fully registered, do just this.

“More than 60% of Australia’s psychologists are psychologists with general registration.”


Should I see a provisional psychologist?

When it comes down to the mental health and wellbeing of yourself or a loved one, it’s understandable to want the best. In recognition of that and with an understanding of the importance of best practice allied health and therapy, One Central Health is uncompromisingly dedicated to ensuring the very highest quality of health, therapy and support is provided by each and every one of our clinicians for each and every one of our clients.

Rest assured, when you’re booked in with any one of our staff we’ll ensure you receive the care you deserve and need. It doesn’t matter whether this is with one of our speech pathologists, therapy assistants, occupational therapists, registered or provisionally registered psychologists.

Would you like to know more? Get in touch with our team today.

– Andrea Corbett, Provisionally Registered Psychologist

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