Welcome, Haere mai!
Piki mai, kake mai, nau mai, haere mai
We are the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists, Te Rōpū Whakaora Hinengaro, a professional organisation dedicated to the advancement of all forms of psychotherapy.
We aim to facilitate excellence in the practice of psychotherapy and to nurture and link psychotherapists across the country.
As NZAP psychotherapists, we agree to uphold the values and ethics (PDF) of our Association, to seek regular supervision as well as personal psychotherapy as needed, and to take opportunities to further learn and develop as practitioners.
Our members participate in professional enrichment, whanaungatanga and collegial connection through:
- Professional Development events
- Ata Journal of Psychotherapy of Aotearoa New Zealandse
- Advanced Clinical Practice training (ACP)
- Regional branch meetings (PDF)
- Email discussion groups
We are a voice for the value of psychotherapy as a key treatment for psychological and emotional distress and recognise that all health and wellbeing is shaped by wider social, political and economic realities. Through Public Issues we advocate for greater access to psychotherapeutic services and for social justice and equality.
We welcome new enquiries from applicants for membership. For further information please contact our Executive Officer. We are potentially able to manaaki suitably qualified people into a pathway towards provisional membership and/or full membership. The three possible routes to membership are: the Advanced Clinical Practice training (ACP), He Ara Maori ACP (further information coming soon) and via registration with the Psychotherapists Board of Aotearoa New Zealand (PBANZ). Student membership is also available, for people who are on a recognised psychotherapy training course.
A Code of Ethics (PDF) guides the practice of our members. The public are also safeguarded by the NZAP Complaints Procedure and professional practice reviews. NZAP’s structure was established by a Constitution (PDF) and is maintained by members in regional branches (PDF), and at national level by an elected President and Council with committees. An Executive Officer provides administration services.
NZAP regards supervision as essential for all psychotherapists throughout their working life. Supervision offers the opportunity to discuss and reflect on all aspects of clinical work, including the clinician’s own unconscious contributions to difficulties. It also offers an opportunity for development and support for what can be lonely and difficult work.
For Full Members there is no oversight or requirements about frequency or type of supervision or who your supervisor is. It is expected that members will exercise responsible judgment about their needs for their own and their clients’ safety. The Psychotherapy Board (PBANZ) has regulatory oversight of registered psychotherapists’ supervision and development.
For Provisional Members of NZAP there are supervision requirements. Those who are Provisional Members through Interim Registration need a supervision contract with an NZAP member. Those who are Provisional Members through the Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP) pathway to membership need a supervision contract with an approved Training Supervisor. This supervision needs to be weekly for the duration of the training and progress is discussed at the Training Supervisors’ Group.
NZAP Complaints Procedure
All members of the Association accept that they are accountable for their actions. The existence of the Complaints Procedure demonstrates one aspect of the Association’s concern for the provision of quality psychotherapy and the maintenance of high professional standards. Complaints may arise with or without foundation, and it is the Association’s responsibility to resolve the questions raised and provide an outcome.
Procedures have been developed to assist Council in dealing with complaints made against members (or provisional members) of the Association. The aim is to provide natural justice and consistency and a process that is fair, effective, timely and subject to external scrutiny.
Psychotherapists in the Association are professional practitioners who understand that psychotherapy takes place within the context of complex relationships. Sometimes psychotherapy raises boundary issues and ethical questions which are difficult for psychotherapist and client to manage.
There may be occasions when it seems appropriate to complain. The Association has a process available to members, clients, or others to enquire whether a complaint about a member is appropriate and would be supported by the Association.
If a psychotherapist or a client wants to find out whether their concerns are substantive enough to form the basis for a complaint the first step is to contact the Complaints Convenor through the Association’s Executive Officer. The Complaints Convenor is a senior member of the Association whose sole responsibility is to ensure that the process is followed correctly, and that people’s rights and confidentiality issues are attended to. Sometimes simply talking to the Complaints Convenor results in a way forward without using more steps in the process. In situations where the Convenor fails to resolve the issue or judges its nature to be in possible breach of good professional standards or the Association’s Code of Ethics, he or she forwards the complaint to the Complaints Assessment Committee. This small Committee is independent of the Complaints Convenor and has a lay person in attendance. If they decide the complaint should proceed, the complainant and the respondent are advised accordingly. A well-designed procedure ensures that each person’s rights are protected. These steps are shown in the flowchart below. If a complaint is proven, there are provisions for ensuring that members are held accountable.
There is also a Professional Practice review procedure which provides the opportunity for a practitioner’s work to be discussed and reviewed carefully. This scrutiny may be requested or required by Council. The Ethics and Professional Standards Committee meets as required, is convened by its appointed chairperson and draws its members from around the country. It reports its findings to Council and to the practitioner under review. This is another aspect of the Association’s concern to promote and support safe ethical practice and to provide guidance and review of individual practice. The Committee takes care to be respectful and helpful to those concerned. Its work may be instead of, or in addition to, the function of the complaints process.
The Complaints Procedure sits alongside the Code of Ethics (PDF) and the Constitution (PDF) of the Association. The Association reviews the process and makes amendments when necessary. The aim is to enable psychotherapists and clients to feel supported and safe. The psychotherapy profession is enhanced when boundaries are in place and there are pathways to resolve important ethical issues.
You can find useful information about the Complaints Procedure in the following documents:
- Complaints received flowchart (PDF)
- Complaints Assessment Committee flowchart (PDF)
- Professional Clinical Matters Committee flowchart (PDF)
NZAP Professional Practice Review
There is also a Professional Practice review procedure which provides the opportunity for a practitioner’s work to be discussed and reviewed carefully.
This scrutiny may be requested or required by Council. This would be carried out by the Ethics and Professional Standards Committee convened by its appointed chairperson. It reports its findings and recommendations to Council and to the practitioner under review. This is another aspect of the Association’s concern to promote and support safe ethical practice and to provide guidance and review of individual practice. The Committee takes care to be respectful and helpful to those concerned. This process may be instead of, or in addition to, the function of the complaints process.
Members of the Association are supported by a professional structure that includes The Constitution and Rules, a Code of Ethics, and a Complaints Procedure (note that a complaints procedure is also available through the regulating authority, The Psychotherapists Board of Aotearoa New Zealand and the office of the Health and Disability Commissioner). This structure has regional and national components.
NZAP is governed by a Council of twelve representatives, six elected by the members at the Annual General Meeting, four elected by the Council itself, and two appointed by our partnership organisation, Waka Oranga. It is made up as follows:
- President (elected by Council)
- Immediate Past President or President-Elect (depending on the year – elected by Council)
- Honorary Secretary (elected by members)
- Treasurer (elected by members)
- Chair of Ethics and Professional Standards Committee (elected by Council)
- Chair of ACP Committee (elected by Council)
- Four Ordinary Members (elected by members)
- Two Waka Oranga representatives
The Executive Committee consists of the President, Past President or President-Elect, Honorary Secretary, Treasurer, Chair of the Advanced Clinical Practice, and Chair of Ethics and Professional Standards Committee.
Council meets face-to-face three times a year, and by electronic means as necessary. Any member may, upon request, attend a Council meeting, except when the Council is ‘in committee’ (needing to talk privately).
There are several permanent and temporary committees. The main ones are:
- ACP (Advanced Clinical Practice – a qualification offered by NZAP which is sufficient for registration with PBANZ) Committee oversees and administers the admission of Provisional Members on the ACP pathway, and their training, including the written and oral assessments that lead to Full Membership and the awarding of the ACP certificate.
- Ethics and Professional Standards Committee is concerned with the Code of Ethics and matters arising from it, including the Complaints Procedure. There is a Complaints Convener who actually deals with complaints against members of NZAP. From time to time a Professional Practice Committee, usually of three experienced members, is set up to deal with a specific complaint against a member.
- Te Tiriti Bicultural Advisory Committee has members from each region and oversees matters arising from the Treaty of Waitangi (Māori version) and biculturalism throughout the activities of NZAP. It normally has two co-Chairs, Māori and Pākehā.
- Public Issues Committee deals with NZAP influence in public policy and social issues wider than the immediate concerns of psychotherapy practice. It advises on government policy, issues press statements and monitors social policy and equity in society.
- He Ara Māori Advanced Clinical Practice Committee (HAMACP) works to develop a Māori pathway to membership, equivalent to the ACP, and administers and oversees matters relating to it.
- Education Fund Committee administers a fund to which members can apply for support for professional education.
- Professional Development and Conference Committee organises educational events.
The Chairs of the ACP and Ethics Committees sit on Council. The Chairs of Te Tiriti, Public Issues, HAMACP, Education Fund and Professional Development Committees may, but do not necessarily, sit on Council.
An Executive Officer is employed to assist in all administrative matters.
Members of NZAP
- Full Members
- Provisional Members
- Retired Members
- Student Members
- Life Members
The Association has regional branches in Otago, Canterbury, Nelson-Marlborough, Wellington, Central Districts, Hawkes Bay, Bay of Plenty/Waikato and Northern. The branches are autonomous in the way they organise their affairs, though it is usual to have a convenor, and sometimes also a treasurer. Branches have their own finances, deriving income from various events including national conferences, which traditionally are organised by a branch.
Meetings are organised according to each region’s needs and wishes. Branches often host academic meetings and business meetings, and often a mixture of the two.
Each branch establishes a means to support the training and supervision of Provisional Members. Usually this is done by means of a Supervisors Training Group. The means to do this is flexible and determined at the local level. This group will liaise with the national ACP Committee. In addition, the branches each have their own rituals for welcoming new members.
Conferences and professional development
Conferences are usually organised by a branch. Currently (as of 2018) they are two-yearly and are held in the organising region.
Workshops and other events are organised nationally as well as regionally. NZAP aims to have at least one major event – conference or workshop – each year.
- The ACP Handbook is updated as needed. It is a resource for members on the ACP pathway.
- The Newsletter, reflecting the varied viewpoints and concerns of members, is published and distributed to all members periodically, usually three times a year.
- A peer-reviewed Journal of collected papers is published twice a year. Hard copies are distributed to all members, and electronic copies are also available online.
The Public Issues Committee works to influence public policy and social issues wider than the immediate concerns of psychotherapy practice. We advise on government policy, issue press statements and monitor social policy and equity in society. We advocate for recognition of psychotherapy to the media, to other professional groups and to the community at large. We also raise awareness amongst our members of public issues that may concern their practice. Our press statements can be found on Scoop and our submissions can be read on the NZ Parliament website.
Child and Whanau Advocacy Group
Child and Whanau psychotherapists from our membership work under the umbrella of the Public Issues portfolio to organise pre-conference days dedicated to child and family work, and to advocate for early intervention, attachment informed and family inclusive services for children and young people within NZAP and through the media. We have an open access NZAP Child and Whanau Advocacy Facebook page which is a source of links to articles and opinions on therapy for children, young people and their families and opinion on social justice and wellbeing of the children of Aotearoa. We also run an email group.
NZAP members have access to subsidised indemnity insurance as part of their membership benefits.