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Returning to practice

Returning to practice after 3 or more years

Section 27 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCAA)states that the Registrar of the Board must give careful consideration to annual practising certificate applications from persons who:
-have not held an annual practising certificate within the 3 years preceding the date of the current application
-have not, within the 3 years immediately preceding the date of the current application, lawfully practised the profession to which the application relates.

This careful consideration relates back to the principal purpose of the HPCAA, to protect the health and safety of members of the public by providing for mechanisms to ensure that health practitioners are competent and fit to practise their professions.

The Board must determine if the applicant meets the required standard of competence before an APC can be issued and may impose conditions or vary existing conditions to safeguard the safety of the public.

The following decision guidelines have been developed to assist the Board and its committees in making fair, reasonable and lawful decisions which are consistent and equitable.

Decision guidelines relating to registered practitioners who have not held an APC within the 3 years immediately preceding the date of their application
Click here to download the document.

Decision guidelines relating to practitioners who have not held an APC within the 3 years immediately preceding the date of their application but who have been consistently practising psychotherapy outside of NZ
Click here to download the document.

Decision guidelines relating to practitioners who have not registered as a psychotherapist within 3 years of obtaining their qualification or obtaining an association membership status eligible for registration
Click here to download the document.

What you can do to demonstrate your competence

  • Engage with a senior psychotherapist who is an experienced supervisor to supervise your return to clinical practise. Clinical supervision is to be provided by either a registered psychotherapist with a current APC or a health practitioner registered under the HPCAA with a current APC, approved by the Board as having sufficient psychotherapy knowledge and skills.

  • Provide the Board with a self appraisal that outlines how you have maintained the "currency of your psychotherapy knowledge" during the time you have not been practising psychotherapy. This self appraisal should be detailed and provide specific information i.e. courses undertaken, books read etc. The self appraisal should be developed with your clinical supervisor and will be guided by the Psychotherapist Core Clinical Competencies.

    Note: having not maintained the currency of practice will not exclude you from applying for an APC, this section will guide the Board on the level of support you are likely to need when returning to practice.

  • Provide the Board with a remedial plan using input from your supervisor that demonstrates how you intend to manage your on-going professional development as you return to the practice of psychotherapy. This plan should cover at least the next 12 months and show specifically how you intend to develop your psychotherapy knowledge and skills. The return to practice remedial plan should be formulated with the help of your supervisor.


    The frequency and duration of the supervision, and the intensity of the remedial plan, will be determined by the length of time away from active practice. It will also take into account the factors which are perceived to increase or mitigate the risk of loss of competence (refer to the decision guideline document above).

    The return to practice remedial plan may be waived or modified in circumstances where the returner has undertaken relevant activity during the period of absence from practice. This may include, but is not limited to, circumstances such as practising psychotherapy in another country or further training.

    The Board reserves the right to not issue an APC in circumstances where the risks of loss of competence are deemed too high to be addressed by a return to practise remedial plan and supervision. Such circumstances may include, but are not limited to:
    -a lack of consolidated experience prior to requesting an APC
    -an extended period of time away from professional psychotherapy activity
    -academic knowledge now deemed to be significantly out of date.


    If you have questions about what to provide with your APC application, please contact the Board's Registrar.