A new UNE psychology clinic officially opening in Armidale this week has already become so popular that there are waiting lists for some clinical services.
Director Dr Warren Bartik said the spacious clinic – located in the Tablelands Clinical School on the Armidale Hospital campus – more than doubles the number of trainee clinical psychologists who can treat clients, but even that is insufficient to meet current demand.
He said the clinic is receiving referrals from as far afield as Tamworth, Brisbane, Moree, Narrabri and Coffs Harbour.
“Our waiting lists highlight the quality of assessment and treatment we offer, but also the need for subsidised clinical psychology services in the New England region,” he said.
“Our relocation into the community (from a site on the UNE campus) and five consultation rooms will enable students to see as many as 250 clients a year, and to deliver professional services that are second-to-none at a greatly reduced rate to private practice.”
UNE students completing placements as part of their Master of Clinical Psychology treat the full range of rural clients under full clinical supervision – from children needing cognitive and learning assessments to the elderly struggling with memory loss.
Demand is especially high from families with children suspected of being on the autism spectrum.
Dr Bartik said the clinic is the only university psychology clinic contracted to Centrecare to provide free services to clients requiring psychological support on referral from their GP, under the Access To Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program.
“This gives us the opportunity to help another suite of people for whom psychological services would otherwise be too expensive,” Dr Bartik said.
“The reputation of the UNE Psychology Clinic among GPs, paediatricians and schools in the New England continues to grow, and clients and referrers appreciate our professional approach.
“Being within the medical centre and more accessible to the community, we have already seen an increase in referrals from GPs.”
UNE’s intake of psychology students is growing by the year, and Dr Bartik said 90-95% of graduates gain employment in psychology or clinical psychology fields.
The UNE psychology clinic will be officially opened on Thursday evening. It is on the ground floor of the Tablelands Clinical School at 110 Butler Street, Armidale.
Image: (l-r) UNE Psychology Clinic administrative assistant Pamela Roberts, Master of Clinical Psychology student Cara McKinstry and Director Warren Bartik in one of the five consultation rooms at the new clinic.