2021: The Year in Review

Dr Pauline Mawson & Dr Linda Blokland

And what a year it has been!

As 2021 starts drawing to a close, I am reminded of how tired I am, how much I wish that I could be like Rupunzel, hidden alone in a castle, far, far away from all of this.  I’m sure that I am not alone in this. 2021 has certainly proven to be a very challenging year!

However, looking back on the year I am also reminded of what the CPF has achieved and the strides that we have taken in improving not only our members well being, but that of our profession and ultimately then our patients.

The ongoing advent of technology has increased accessibility to clinical psychologists for our patients through ZOOM or Skype. Disputes have been won with medical aids in CPF’s ongoing endeavour to protect our profession and there have been some interesting and insightful CPD webinars. There was, also, of course the face-to-face congress of SASOP.

Our chairperson, Dr Linda Blokland summarises the year below. Thank you Linda!

Wishing all of our members a safe, happy, prosperous and restful festive season and New Year. I know that I am certainly going to prioritise my family and self-care, my wish for all of you as well.

From our Chairperson


Dear Members

This news article summarises the process that the CPF have been engaged with for the past months.

1. Communication re Policy Framework for the Psychology Profession (PBP)

On 13th November the CPF, along with all registered members of the psychology profession, received the recent communication from the Chair of the PBP, dated 4 November 2021. The communication addressed the profession on matters of the policy framework regulating the professional acts of persons registered under the ambit of the Professional Board for Psychology.

Since this communication reached our members and colleagues who are registered as clinical psychologists with the Board, the CPF has received numerous questions and concerns about the content and how to interpret it in the light of previous communications received since November 2019.

These several communications have each confirmed the legal requirement for a scope of practice which guides the profession in terms of categories of registration. The minimum standards for education and training provide a guidance while applying Ethical Rule 21. Furthermore the communications have defined what is meant by “formal education and training” and what the role of CPD training plays. Also the Board has provided a distinction between scope of the profession and the scope of practice.

Concerningly, these communications seem to be contradicted by the most recent communication from the Chair of the new Professional Board for Psychology.

The CPF recognises that the profession urgently needs clarity on the scope of practice matter, once and for all. What is necessary for the profession is to know with certainty and clarity what the legally required scopes are, such that these can guide professional psychologists in their practice, protect the public from practitioners not formally trained, and make it clear how the Board will regulate the practice of professional psychologists.

Presently psychologists seem to be left in a vacuum of knowledge about these matters. Psychologists experience this as a lack of clear guidance in their profession.

The CPF has communicated these concerns to the PBP and is in discussion with other prominent stakeholders of the profession around these matters.

Please find our communication letter with regard to the issue to the PBP here.

The CPF is also in ongoing discussions with the CMS and various medical schemes where regulations are influenced by these ongoing confusions referred to above.

2. Claiming for Assessment Work

The CPF were engaged in a lengthy negotiation with a major medical scheme around the recognition of claiming for assessment work. This was brought to our attention when that scheme wanted to claim back an amount of approximately R500 000.00 of paid out claims.

The issue at hand was the recognition of all the steps involved in the assessment process. The final negotiated process for claiming is set out below. Please take note of it of your practice makes use of assessments.

What this process has also highlighted is the need for further work on the coding system. We will be addressing this in the new year.

Please find the full guidelines here.

3. Events


The Saturday morning webinars have proved popular among our members. We listened to some fascinating presentations this year, including a talk on the Psychology of Pandemics presented by Prof Jenny Watermeyer of Wits, what the POPI Act means for us and how to manage it (docs are on the website) presented by legal expert Verine Etsebeth, our own Mardi Roos spoke to us on the importance of keeping good professional clinical notes records, and provided tips on doing so, clinical psychologists Umesh Bawa & Rashid Ahmed shared findings from their research in post conflict Sierra Leone and their learnings of trauma treatment in a post war society. Our final speaker this year was Prof Sahba Besharati of the Neuroscience Institute at Wits. She spoke most engagingly on the neuroscience of resilience. All presentations were highly informative and well worth the Saturday morning attention!

4. SASOP Congress – October 2021

Some of us attended the SASOP Congress in the Drakensberg at Champagne Sports Resort. The venue was a great choice, nestled in the spectacular mountain range. Participants were well attended, and the programme presented excellent topic choices in the field of psychiatry, pertinent to clinical psychology.

SASOP invited the CPF to use a Saturday morning slot and also asked us to invite a guest speaker for the one session. We focussed on pandemic issues in psychology and so invited Prof Steven Taylor who spoke to us all the way from Toronto over the internet. It was a captivating talk on the psychology of pandemics, drawn from his book on the topic published in November 2019.

Our other speakers were Prof Jenny Watermeyer who dovetailed her presentation on Steven Taylor’s, and then Dr Alicia Porter spoke on the work of the Healthcare Workers Care Network she co-established to assist healthcare workers during the pandemic. That network is doing wonderful work to help the carers!

We look forward to getting more involved in SASOP congresses in the future.

07h00 mindfulness walk

5. Membership Drive

We are embarkeding on a membership drive for 2022. Attached here is our membership flyer and application form. Please forward to your colleagues who are not yet members and also to newly qualified Clinical Psychologists.

Finally, the CPF exco extends good wishes to all its members for the coming festive season!

We wish you joy and health, safe travels if you travel, and we look forward to further engagement in the new year!

Dr Linda ME Blokland
MA Clin Psych (SA); PhD (UP)