This article is adapted from "New Zealand National Tour" prepared by Judith McDougall, Ian Evans, George Shouksmith, William Whittaker, and Linden Williams, 2008, which appeared in Wedding, D., & Stevens, M. J. (Eds). (2009). Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resource (Edition 2009) [CD-ROM]. International Journal of Psychology, 44 (Suppl. 1).
Psychology in New Zealand developed from the British philosophical tradition brought by the early settlers in the nineteenth century, particularly those from Scotland. The applied tradition arrived only in the twentieth century, and flourished only intermittently, except in education. Not until the 1950s did psychology begin to emerge as a modern discipline, freed from its historical ties with philosophy, with the establishment of separate university psychology departments. Educational psychology was the first field to which the discipline was applied, through a centralized "Psychological Service" (more recently a "Specialist Education Service"), providing specialist consultants to schools. Clinical psychology was not centralized, being largely in the hands of autonomous local health authorities. Mainstream hospital-based clinical psychology is dominated by applied behavior analysis and behavior modification procedures. Cognitive behaviorism and its clinical applications are just beginning to have an impact. The remarkable growth in New Zealand industry in recent decades has led to the need for expert management and industrial psychology services, and recently course options and professional training have become available in these areas.
Psychological research in New Zealand is predominantly university based, with funding through a government-funded foundation and from individual universities. Doctoral programs on predominantly British lines based on intensive study and research are the major methods for training advanced researchers. Each of the six universities, Auckland, Waikato University at Hamilton, Victoria University of Wellington, Massey University at Palmerston North (but with a campus also at Albany), Canterbury at Christchurch, and Otago at Dunedin, has tended to develop its own specialist research traditions.
Training in psychology in New Zealand is offered from undergraduate (to Honours) and through postgraduate, e.g., Diploma in Clinical Psychology, plus research for a doctorate. Some polytechnics offer undergraduate courses in psychology. Training occurs predominantly in New Zealand's universities.
Registration of psychologists is the responsibility of the Psychologists' Board, established under the Psychologists Act 1981 and coming under the aegis of the Ministry of Health. Registration for practice has not been compulsory, nor has the term "psychologist" been protected (though "registered psychologist" is). Many psychologists are required by their employers, e.g., government departments and Crown Health Enterprises (health service providers) to be registered. The Society is lobbying government for amendment to the Act. The Act is currently under review, largely because of:
- the increasing number of complaints against psychologists, which has highlighted the need to revise disciplinary procedures;
- the widening gulf between academic and professional practice psychologists, which has ramifications for the registration process; and
- the modern trend towards greater lay participation in the control of professional bodies.
New legislation went into effect on September 18, 2004 (the Health Practitioners Compeence Assurance Act) that changed the requirements for registration of psychologists in New Zealand. The registering body is the New Zealand Psychologists Board and their website is: http://www.psychologistsboard.org.nz. Registration for New Zealand psychologists is only compulsory for those working in or for the state sector.
The New Zealand Psychological Society's Code of Ethics (1986) is the standard code for psychologists in New Zealand whether they are members of the Society or not. It is currently under review with the Society favoring the values and principles-based Canadian Psychological Association Code of Ethics as a model. The Code of Ethics for Psychologists Working in Aotearoa/New Zealand 2002 is available on our website: http://www.psychology.org.nz/about/Code_of_Ethics_2002.html.
New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 1972- , 2/year