Bermuda Psychologists Council FAQ

Q: What is the BPC?

A: The BPC stands for the Bermuda Psychologists Council.  Members are nominated by current members of the BPC and the BPA.  Appointments are determined by the Health Minister.  The BPC typically is comprised of five members who “manage the professional competence and conduct in the practice of psychology in Bermuda” (Psychological Practitioners Act 2018).

Q: What are the differences between the Bermuda Psychology Association and the Bermuda Psychologist Council?

A: The Bermuda Psychologists Council (BPC) is the regulatory board for all practicing psychologists in Bermuda.  The BPC protects patients in Bermuda by ensuring that registered psychologists are properly credentialed, experienced and abide by the ethical code of conduct.

The Bermuda Psychology Association (BPA) is voluntary participation of local psychologists in Bermuda.  As a professional association, the BPA supports and enhances the development and application of psychology for the greater public good, promoting education, knowledge, and accessibility to psychological services.  

Q: How can I contact the BPA?

A: Email: bermudapsychology@gmail.com

     Address: 

     PO Box HM 954

     Hamilton

     HMDX

     Bermuda

     Phone: +441-295-9923

Q: How can I contact the BPC?

A: Email: bdapsychcouncil@gov.bm

Q: What are the BPC’s objectives?

A: The Bermuda Psychologists Council was formed to regulate the practice of psychology in Bermuda and to ensure that high quality psychological services are available to the Bermudian public.  The Council reviews applications for registration eligibility to practice as a psychologist and proposes measures which will improve the practice of psychology in the future.

Q: What is the BPC’s Mission Statement?

A: The Bermuda Psychologists Council protects consumers of psychological services by registering psychologists, regulating the practice of psychology, and supporting the evolution of the profession.

Q: How do I become a member of the BPC?

A: Members of the BPC are appointed by the Health Minister.   The appointees’ usually represent different areas of psychology, such as School Psychologist, Child Psychologist, Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice, and employment in a hospital setting.  Additionally, a legal professional is also appointed.

Q: Can I be registered as a psychologist if I am Bermudian but reside overseas?

A: Yes, if you are Bermudian or hold PRC you are eligible for Bermuda Registration as a Psychologist.

Q: Who can be registered as a psychologist locally?

A: Bermudians or persons possessing the right to work on island and who also satisfy the criteria of the psychological council can register to be a psychologist.  Criteria includes:

  • Successful completion of a program of academic completion in Clinical, Counseling, School, Industrial Organizational Psychology or any other discipline in the field that is approved by the Council at an accredited institution of higher learning
  • Completion of at least 1,000 hours of relevant experience, not fewer than 500 of which occurred after the completion of academic training under the supervision of a registered psychologist (see the Act for definition of supervisor)
  • Professional knowledge gained of at least 100 hours of psychological services per year in 2-3 of the years following the application (evidence of same to be provided) and confirmation of good character.

Q:  I am a licensed therapist/counselor in the United States. Is there a guest license that I can apply for to conduct telehealth services to my client while she visits the island?

A:  The Bermuda Psychologist Council only governs registered psychologists of Bermuda.  The BPC have no authority over other mental health professionals (i.e., therapist, counsellors, psychotherapists). There is no provision of a guest license for psychologists conducting telehealth services in this jurisdiction. You may wish to contact the Bermuda Health Council at www.bhec.bm to seek clarification about telehealth services in Bermuda.  You can also contact the Bermuda Immigration Department about Bermuda Employment Laws.

Q: What is the registration process in Bermuda?

A: Individuals looking to register as a psychologist in Bermuda must complete the registration application, which can be found at the following link:

Pyschological Practitioners Registration Application

Additionally, applicants must include copies of professional qualifications mentioned in their application, a current C.V. and a copy of a certificate for malpractice insurance coverage. After completing the application, it must be returned to the Registrar with the additional documents.

Q: Can I be registered if I complete a doctoral distance learning course in psychology?

A: You will need to prove completion of 500 supervisory hours during the training, and 1000 hours of supervision post-doctoral degree, from a registered or licensed psychologist.  Additionally, proof of licensure or registration in another jurisdiction such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand or other country that have similar registration requirements will be requested.  The council will vet all supporting mandatory documents required for Bermuda registration.

Q: How do I get a registration certificate?

A: A registration certificate is mailed to you after all documentations required have been received by the registrar. If there are outstanding documents, you will be notified to submit such documents before you can be registered. Your certificate is proof of your ability to practice as a psychologist in Bermuda.  

Q: What are the fees for registration and re-registration?

A: The fee for registration and re-registration is decided by the Ministry of Health.  Due to periodic amendments, it is best to consult the Bermuda Government webpage for the current fee schedule at:  Registration Fees

Q: How often is renewal of registration?

A: Every three years.

Q:  What Is Continuing Professional Development?

A: Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is learning that develops and maintains professional competence to enable members to continue to perform their professional roles. Any learning and development that is relevant and appropriate to a member’s work and professional responsibilities and growth as a psychologist will qualify for CPD.

Q: How many CPD credits are required for re-registration?

A: 60 credit hours.

Q: What is meant by relevant programs/workshops?

A:  Professionally relevant programs/workshops are those events that enhance knowledge relevant to the psychological services a member provides. Content need not be primarily psychological in nature but must be directly related to the services provided by the member. For example, a member working within the correctional system might benefit from an educational event provided by correctional officers regarding the management of offenders within the prison system.

Q:  Can I count presentation hours at a workshop as also attendance at a workshop toward CPD hours?

A: No, that would be viewed as double counting.

Q: Can I use the title name "Psychologist?"

A:  The title "Psychologist" is protected under legislature.  There is a $10,000 dollar fine if there is unauthorized usage. Until you have been registered with the Bermuda Psychologist Council (BPC) you may use the title "Psychological Associate" or "Psychology Associate."  For instance, the title Associate Psychologist is forbidden unless you have been registered with the BPC. 

Q: What is accreditation?

A:  Accreditation demonstrates that a program of study, such as a graduate psychology program, internship or postdoctoral residency program has met the Standards of Accreditation, which prepares graduates to provide evidence-based services that are associated with improved wellbeing. Accreditation is important because it: Helps determine if an institution meets or exceeds minimum quality standards.

Q: How do you get indemnity insurance while practicing in Bermuda?

A:  Effective October 2018, malpractice insurance became mandatory for psychologists to register and practice in Bermuda.

Currently, if not covered through one’s employer or company insurance policy, or for added indemnity, individual psychologists and private practitioners may open individual liability insurance policies with any local insurance company. Additionally, some overseas insurance companies may offer individual coverage for local practitioners.

Q: Does the BPC endorse specific doctoral programs of study?

A:  The BPC does not endorse any specific doctoral programs of study, however, in accordance with the Psychologists Practitioners Act 2018, as part of the relevant criteria to be registered as a psychologist in Bermuda, “successful completion of a program of academic training in Clinical Psychology, Counselling Psychology, School Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychology or any other applied field of psychology approved by the Council at an institution of higher learning approved by the Council is required.”

It is therefore suggested that individuals consider doctoral programs that meet standards that are approved by accrediting bodies in their jurisdiction of study (the American Psychological Association (APA), Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), and British Psychological Society (BPS), Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) etc.).

Q: What are the telehealth laws in Bermuda?

A: “A client I have been seeing for some time has recently moved overseas.  He would like to continue to receive service from me.  Can I continue to provide psychological services to him through telepsychology”?

At the moment, there are no formal legislation laws with respect to telehealth or telepsychology in Bermuda.  The Bermuda Regulatory body expects a practitioner to be registered/licensed in the jurisdiction in which the service is to be provided.

For members considering providing service by telepsychology into another country or jurisdiction, it is recommended that they contact the regulatory body of the jurisdiction into which they may be considering practising to determine what may be required of them in terms of registration/licensing or formal notification of the regulatory body for psychology.

Q: Can I provide temporary telehealth services to a current patient that is overseas?

A:  The Bermuda Psychologist Council recommends that offering services via telehealth should occur no more than a six month period.  According to the Code of Conduct it is considered unethical if the practitioner is not registered or licensed in the jurisdiction which they are providing services.  The six month period is considered a transitional period until the individual finds a health professional within his or her jurisdiction/state or province. 

We strongly recommend a member or practitioner to contact the Bermuda Psychologist Council if he/she is considering conducting telehealth services in a jurisdiction other than their own to ensure one is legally entitled to practice in another locality and is familiar with the relevant laws and regulations applicable within that jurisdiction.

Q: Can I conduct telehealth sessions across jurisdictions if I live overseas?

A:  You are urged to contact your statutory body for the necessary requirements and eligibility to offer professional services outside of your place of residence and licensure.

Q: Can I obtain registration as a psychologist in Bermuda if I am a foreigner and live overseas?

A: No, you are not eligible to be registered as a psychologist in Bermuda.

Q: Can I obtain a temporary license or provisional registration if I am not a Bermudian national? 

A:  There are no provisions for temporary licensure or registration that would enable persons that reside overseas to conduct psychological services via electronic media.

Q: Where can I find the Guidelines for Ethical Behaviour and Code of Conduct?

A: There is reference to the Code of Conduct in the Psychological Practitioners Act 2018, Under Part II Section 8 – titled Code of Conduct. The Psychological Practitioners Act 2018 is online at www.gov.bm/psychology . The Bermuda Psychologist council follow the APA Psychological Ethics and Code of Conduct (https://www.apa.org/ethics/code/ethics-code-2017.pdf). The guidelines are available on the Bermuda Government website at www.gov.bm/psychology.

Q: Is there a non-English fluency register available? This includes sign language.

A: Unfortunately a non-English register for document translation or communication purposes is not available.

Q: Who handles misconduct complaints?

A: Under the Psychological Practitioners Act (PPA2018) there is a Conduct Committee appointed by the Minister of Health that receives complaints regarding the conduct of registered psychologists. The Conduct Committee has the authority to receive and investigate complaints.  Decisions regarding complaints are made by the Bermuda Psychologists Council (BPC), if the Conduct Committee refers the complaint on to the BPC for this purpose. 

Q: How can one make a complaint?

A: To make a complaint you can contact the appropriate Professional Conduct Committee (PCC):

  1. The complaint has to be made in writing.   If there are mental or physical reasons why this is difficult for the complainant to do, the Conduct Committee representative will work with the complainant to ensure s/he has the support needed to make a written complaint.
  2. The complaint and/or completed complaint form and any accompanying support documents can be submitted electronically, in person or by mail to the respective PCC as follows:

           Professional Conduct/Complaints Committee

           CONFIDENTIAL

           Ministry of Health Headquarters,

           Continental Building 25 Church Street,

           Hamilton HM 11

           Email:  psychpcc@gov.bm or PCC@gov.bm

           Complete and submit this online complaints form.

Q: Who can make a complaint?

A:  Complaints must be made by the complainant her/himself; or by the parent or legal guardian in the case of a minor; or by a friend (guardian or advocate) in the case of a vulnerable individual, or in the case of a person who is deceased, their executor.

Q: Who is covered by this complaints process?

A:  The Conduct Committee and the Bermuda Psychologists Council have authority under the PPA (2018) to receive complaints regarding registered psychologists and individuals representing themselves as psychologists in Bermuda.  It is illegal to represent oneself as a psychologist in Bermuda if an individual is not registered in good standing.  To learn if a psychologist is registered please refer:  Registered Psychologists.

This Act does not cover psychiatrists, social workers, counsellors, psychiatric nurses or other mental health professionals.  For information regarding any other professionals please refer to that professions legal and statutory bodies or contact the Ministry of Health/Bermuda Health Council.

Q: What title can students of psychology and professionals who have obtained their professional qualifications use?

A:  Students of psychology and professionals who have obtained their professional qualifications, but who do not yet meet the criteria for registration cannot use the title of psychologist nor can they practice in private settings. They must inform clients of their student status saying that they are under supervision and pending meeting the criteria for registration.

Q: What situations typically call for complaints to be made to the Conduct Committee?

A:

  1. If a psychologist has obtained their registration improperly 
  2. If a registered psychologist is alleged to have committed professional misconduct.  For details of the Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct for Psychologists please refer to: Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct
  3. If a registered psychologist is unfit to practice in a specialty area or to be registered.
  4. If a registered psychologist is unfit to practice because s/he has been convicted of an indictable offense; due to physical or mental health; due to substance or any impairment(s). 

Q: Can I make a complaint anonymously to the Council or to the Conduct Committee?

A: The regulatory authority does not review or investigate complaints. All complaints must go directly to the Conduct Committee. You are unable to make an anonymous complaint to the Conduct Committee (PCC).

Q: How does the Conduct Committee handle complaints?

A:  The Conduct Committee will review and investigate all complaints received to determine:

  1. If the complaint should be dismissed because it is frivolous; made in bad faith; or for any other reason should not be taken further.
  2.  If the complaint arises from a misunderstanding between the complainant and the registered psychologist.
  3. If the complaint warrants further investigation and referral to the BPC for a decision.

Q: What happens during an incident investigation?

A:  The Conduct Committee has the right to recommend to the BPC that the registered psychologist be suspended during the investigation and decision-making process.

  1. If the complaint should be dismissed because it is frivolous; made in bad faith; or for any other reason should not be taken further.
  2. If the complaint arises from a misunderstanding between the complainant and the registered psychologist.
  3. If the complaint warrants further investigation and referral to the BPC for a decision.

Q: What happens during an investigation?

A:

  1. The Conduct Committee will provide written notice to the psychologist who is the subject of the complaint that a complaint has been made and provides a written summary of the complaint. 
  2. The Conduct Committee will ask the psychologist who is the subject of the complaint to provide a written response within 21 days explaining why the complaint should not proceed after notice of the complaint has been given.  
  3. The Conduct Committee may require individuals (both psychologists and non-psychologists) to provide relevant information or documentation.  
  4. The Conduct Committee may take evidence from witnesses on oath or affirmation.  
  5. The Conduct Committee will give the psychologist who is the subject of the complaint the opportunity to be heard.
  6. The Conduct Committee may call a hearing to obtain evidence.
  7. The Conduct Committee may call the psychologist for the purpose of evidence gathering. 

Q: How long does the Complaints Investigation process take?

A:  All complaints received by the PCC will be acknowledged within three (3) working days after it is received. Within no more than ten (10) business days of receipt of a formal complaint, the PCC shall review and determine if the preponderance of the evidence contained within the
complaint warrants investigation.

Currently, it takes an average of approximately 180 days (six months) from the time a complaint is received until a decision is provided to the member and complainant. While in some cases it takes less time, in others it takes more, due to a number of factors, (e.g. difficulty contacting witnesses or obtaining documents, excessive demands on committee resources). The range of times for disposition of complaints is wide and in some rare cases, an investigation may take more than a year.

Q: What are the possible outcomes of a Conduct Committee investigation?

A:  During or after an investigation of a complaint, the PCC determines whether:

  1. The Conduct Committee may dismiss the complaint by providing written notice of the dismissal to the complainant and the psychologist who was the subject of the complaint that includes the reasons for the dismissal. (i.e. frivolous; misunderstanding; etc.) and thus not be considered by the regulatory authority (BPC).
  2. The Conduct Committee may, in the case of a misunderstanding between the complainant and psychologist who is the subject of the complaint, request that parties involved appear before the Conduct Committee to informally resolve the matter.  A written summary of this meeting will be provided to the complainant and the psychologist who is the subject of the complaint /all parties.
  3. The Conduct Committee may refer the matter to the BPC informing the BPC of its’ findings. That is, formal charges should be laid before the regulatory authority (BPC) for the convening of disciplinary proceedings

Q: What actions does the BPC take when a matter is referred to it by the Conduct Committee?

A:  If the complaint is proven, in whole or in part, then the BPC can make a disciplinary decision. Sanctions can include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Admonishing, warning or censuring the registered person;
  2. Imposing conditions on the person’s registration;
  3. Suspending the person’s registration;
  4. Suspending or disqualifying the person’s registration in a specified specialty; and
  5. Striking the offender off the register.

Q: What course of action is taken if the psychologist who is the subject of the complaint disagrees with the BPC’s decision? 

A:  The registered person against whom the complaint is made may appeal to the
Supreme Court against a decision or order of the Council.

Q: Who is on the Conduct Committee? 

A:  The Minister of Health appoints the Professional Conduct Committee. It consists of two registered persons under the relevant regulatory authority and one legal representative. These individuals are appointed to the Conduct Committee for three (3) year terms.

Q: What is The Mental Health Act?

A: The Act provides guidance to medical practitioners, and mental health professionals on carrying out their duties under the Mental Health Act when providing psychiatric care.  It also informs patients and families on legislative responsibilities of health professionals when treating relatives suffering from mental health disorders.  Follow this link to the Mental Health https://www.gov.bm/mental-health to learn more.

Q: What type of indemnity insurance do I need if I am a Bermudian employed overseas and wish registration by the BPC?

A: Your indemnity insurance will need to cover work provided in the jurisdiction that the client/patient resides and/or where you are employed to provide psychological services. Hence, the indemnity/liability insurance must cover work provided to local Bermudians if you intend to work/provide service in Bermuda.

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