Core AIPEP Frameworks

In response to its research findings, the first iteration of AIPEP produced three key outcome and framework documents. These Frameworks provide guidance and direction for future action on curriculum transformation, student support, and workforce capabilities. Read the core Frameworks and Guidelines by clicking below.

Examples of Good Practice

My Indigenous Psychology Journey

Professor Monica Thielking, Chair, Psychological Sciences at Swinburne University of Technology

Following the inaugural Heads of Departments and Schools of Psychology Association in Australia – Indigenous Psychology Education Project (HoDSPA-AIPEP) meeting in Sydney in April 2018, my colleague, Dr Ben Bullock, and I were inspired to develop the Swinburne Indigenous Psychology Committee (SIPC), which meets once a month to discuss how we can make important changes in our Department to transform staff Indigenous Psychology awareness and teaching and to increase Indigenous student enrolments, particularly in our Honours and postgraduate levels.

We were (and continue to be) very fortunate to have the support and guidance of the Moondani Toombadool Centre at Swinburne, which is responsible for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander matters at Swinburne, including governance, student services, teaching and learning, research, staff, culture, engagement and governance. We started with limited knowledge, but a whole lot of purpose, and so SIPC is a true demonstration of ‘from little things big things grow’. Since 2018 we have created a Terms of Reference for SIPC which mirrors the goals of AIPEP and the Swinburne RAP, established Indigenous psychology student recruitment pathways, and this year was successful in obtaining university recognition for our efforts through workload support for SIPC leadership. Our department is now closely integrated with other initiatives across the university in improving Indigenous health training, and regularly engages in important events to improve Indigenous cultural knowledge, such as regular yarning meetings, whole of staff training at the Koorie Heritage Trust, and an Indigenous literature book and movie club.

The role of leadership that seeks to cultivate best practice and innovation is crucial. As Department Chair, my continued and dedicated leadership of this initiative, of making time to listen to staff and to be present, of supporting staff to ‘give it a go’, guiding staff to be involved in professional development to support Indigenous psychology initiatives, connecting staff with Indigenous academics and celebrating staff success (however small) is key to building a culture of innovation and change in Indigenous Psychology. Being open about my own journey, and actively demonstrating a commitment to Indigenous Psychology, like always including an Acknowledgement of Country in staff meetings and guest lectures, or advocating for workload, for example, is a message to all staff and students that Indigenous Psychology is valued and matters. I am proud of the many staff members in my department who are now also leading the way in different areas of Indigenous Psychology teaching and learning.

To reiterate my earlier point, none of our achievements would be possible without the support and leadership of Indigenous staff at Swinburne, the Moondani Toombadool Centre and groups like AIPEP. I strongly encourage all psychology schools and departments who have an intention to make a difference in Indigenous psychology higher education teaching and learning to join with their university’s Indigenous Centre and staff, to turn to AIPEP for resources and support, to honour the need for Indigenous self-determination, and to go gently, go bravely and go purposefully towards Indigenous psychological teaching and learning.

Decolonisation Journey

Associate Professor Paul Rhodes, Convener Psychologists for Social Justice, The University of Sydney

The Clinical Psychology Program at The University of Sydney is a typically white course for mostly privileged students. It is one of the countries most “elite” programs, a word that is obviously problematic when it comes to issues of culture and colonialism. In the past five years we have been on a journey trying to understand how we might leverage our privilege and engage in a process of reform regarding Indigenous knowledge and cultural humility. This has been both an academic and personal journey involving a reckoning with our own colourblindness and ignorance regarding these issues. 

With the support of many, including Pat Dudgeon, Rob Brockman, our own National Centre for Cultural Competence, black scholars overseas we are seeing changes. 

  1. We have enrolled our first two Cadigal applicants 
  2. We have begun to include Indigenous Psychology in the program through standalone lectures and also integrated into our foundation Unit of Study
  3. We have conducted two international studies on Decolonising Clinical Psychology 
  4. We are taking advantage of the Cadigal program at Usyd and providing Indigenous candidates with a fast track to interview
  5. We are currently working on systemic change at the undergraduate level 

These things occur very slowly but they add up. 

These initiatives are also supported by Psychologists for Social Justice, a group of over 1000 psychologists who have been formed during this time, centred on Activist Practice (find us on Facebook). We aim to challenge the hegemony of traditional psychology and hold regular seminars and publish The Activist Practitioner.

The additional benefit is that Indigenous knowledge and participation challenges the field in important epistemological ways, opening up an awareness that our traditions are not to be taken for granted and that there are other ways of knowing and practicing. There are now research projects on eco-anxiety, place-based distress, social determinants on mental health, topics that we wouldn’t have typically been embraced. 

Decolonising Psychology (InPsych)

Professor Pat Dudgeon, University of Western Australia; Dr Dawn Darlaston-Jones, University of Notre Dame; Associate Professor Jeneva Ohan, University of Western Australia; Danielle Amiet, Monash University; Dr Meegan Kilcullen, James Cook University; & Dr Kate Derry, University of Western Australia

Read the full text here.