Australia’s first Indigenous psychology association has appointed a CDU psychology PhD candidate to its national steering committee.
Carmen Cubillo, a Larrakia woman, said the Australian Indigenous Psychology Association (AIPA), was formed in September this year to fill a void of support for Indigenous psychology students, academics and practitioners.
Funded by Australian Government health bodies, the association was set up to improve the number of Indigenous psychologists, with long-term goals to inspire Indigenous leadership within the field.
Ms Cubillo is one of only four Indigenous psychology PhD students across Australia. Of more than 16,500 practising psychologists in Australia, only 33 are Indigenous.
Currently in the final stages of her PhD, which assesses parent-child interactions in the Let’s Start Exploring Together for Indigenous Preschools program, Ms Cubillo has a strong insight into the support Indigenous psychology students and academics need.
“The AIPA recognises the importance of having a central expert point of contact where individuals can be referred to us for advice for all Indigenous psychology matters,” Ms Cubillo said.
As a member of the national steering committee, she will play a role in setting the directions of AIPA and its support systems.
“Both undergraduate and postgraduate support is on offer through dialogue, mentoring, and there are a number of scholarships up for grabs,” she said.
The association aims to enhance Indigenous psychologist support, training, tertiary course content, academic study, and cultural competency training.
“This way we can implement set standards for Indigenous psychology to take us into the future,” she said.
Ms Cubillo is currently in the final stages of writing up her PhD thesis developing a process of change in parents throughout the SSPR Exploring Together for Indigenous Preschools program focusing on parent assessment of child behaviour and observed parent/child interaction.
APIA is supported by the national government funded Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH), through the Australian Government Health and Aging (AGHA). Auspice support provision by The University of South Australia, and by the Australian Psychological Society.