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Psychotherapy and counselling federation of australia

Find a therapist


You can search PACFA’s ‘Find a therapist’ directory to find a therapist by proximity to you, languages spoken, whether they offer telehealth, private health rebates, or are an NDIS provider; type of therapy and the issues in which they specialise.

Use ‘Advanced search’  for a full list of PACFA-member therapists who provide telehealth; to search for a therapist by name or membership association; or to find a mental health practitioner or accredited supervisor.

PACFA’s clinical members are highly experienced counsellors and psychotherapists with a Bachelor degree level or above plus at least 750 client contact hours. Provisional members are early career counsellors and psychotherapists with a Bachelor degree level education or above, and at least 40 client contact hours.


PACFA’s members are:

  • Individual members who are practising psychotherapists or counsellors, educators in the counselling and psychotherapy field, students of counselling or psychotherapy and other individuals who wish to be affiliated with PACFA
  • Member Associations which are professional associations for psychotherapy and counselling that meet rigorous standards for professional training and ethical practice, together with their members
  • Affiliated Organisations which are a range of other organisations interested in maintain affiliation with PACFA

Individual PACFA Members

Individual practitioners, educators and students, and others wishing to be affiliated with PACFA as non-practising members,may apply to be individual members of PACFA.

Joining PACFA as an Individual Member

For eligible members, individual membership includes PACFA registration. For details of other membership benefits, see the Individual PACFA Membership page.

Member Associations

Member Associations are professional associations within the counselling and psychotherapy profession who are full voting members of PACFA. These professional associations have developed to support and represent members practising specific types of counselling and psychotherapy, or to support and represent members practising in particular geographic locations.

There are 9 PACFA Member Associations (MAs) incorporating a wide range of modalities within the fields of counselling and psychotherapy. This diversity contributes to PACFA’s strength and credibility. PACFA has been able to unite professionals from this wide range and give them a voice and presence.

Each Member Association is entitled to send two delegates to PACFA Council meetings, which take place twice a year, and to vote on governance issues affecting PACFA. Representatives of Member Associations are also eligible to have representation on the PACFA Board of Management and to contribute to various projects, committees, reference groups and initiatives at PACFA.

Joining PACFA as a Member Association

Professional Associations interested in becoming a PACFA Member Association should view the information at the Join as a Member Association page.

Affiliated Organisations

Affiliated Organisations are non-voting organisational members PACFA. Affiliated Organisations wish to be affiliated with PACFA in order to access the following benefits:

1. Observer status at PACFA Council meetings
2. Member discounts for employees and volunteers
3. The opportunity to be affiliated with the leading body for the counselling and psychotherapy profession in Australia
4. The opportunity to support PACFA as the peak body for counselling and psychotherapy in Australia.

For more information on eligibility and member benefits, see the Affiliated Organisation Membership page.

Joining PACFA as an Affiliated Organisation

Organisations interested in becoming an Affiliated Organisation should view the information at the Affiliated Organisation Membership page.

PACFA has established a course accreditation program to support high standards in counselling and psychotherapy education, and to help students choose quality training courses for their counselling or psychotherapy studies.

Training providers and educational institutions can apply to have counselling and psychotherapy education programs assessed and accredited by PACFA.  The accreditation process involves rigorous, independent assessment of counselling and psychotherapy training programs and leads to the designation of ‘PACFA Accredited Course’.

Each training provider accredited with PACFA has the opportunity to nominate one outstanding graduating student per year.

If you are a Training Provider or external stakeholder seeking further information on how to gain PACFA Accredited status, see the Apply for Course Accreditation page, or email [email protected]






The Australian Counselling Association (ACA) is a non-profit, professional organisation that is dedicated to the counselling profession. ACA represents over 11,000 Registered Counsellors and Psychotherapists in Australia. ACA is the largest peak body for counselling and psychotherapy in Australia.[1]





The mission of the Australian Counselling Association is to enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counsellors, advancing the counselling and psychotherapy profession, and using the profession and practice of counselling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity.

Government accreditation




The counselling profession in Australia is currently not government regulated. Therefore, clients are faced with the task of evaluating qualifications of various counsellors and psychotherapists. ACA is one of two industry associations (with PACFA) that is campaigning for government accreditation of counselling in Australia. As of 2010, none of the federal or state jurisdictions are actively considering regulation of the counselling profession. The Council of Australian Governments(COAG) have agreed that regulation of the counselling profession would only be considered if the public were at serious risk and that those risks could only be ameliorated through a regulatory framework.[2]

See also








  1. ^

    Counsellors in Australia: Profiling the Membership of the Australian Counselling Association

  2. ^International Journal of Psychology, 41.3, pp.194-203 10.1080/00207590544000194

    Pelling, N. Sullivan, B. (2006) “The credentialing of counselling in Australia”,, 41.3, pp.194-203 doi


  1. ^

    Counsellors in Australia: Profiling the Membership of the Australian Counselling Association – Counselling, Psychotherapy, and Health, 1(1), 1-18, July 2005. Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine

In Australia, Psychology is a restricted title and registered profession protected by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). The sections above deal with studying an approved pathway in psychology so you can become registered with AHPRA as a psychologist at the end of your studies (and internship is applicable). 

Psychotherapist and Counsellor are not legally regulated titles in Australia. However, they are professionally regulated by their accrediting associations, the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) and the Australian Counselling Association (ACA).

These associations have particular Training Standards to ensure the quality of counselling and psychotherapy education and practice.

In order to obtain professional insurance and maintain required standards of their professional practice, practitioners should join PACFA or ACA.

Students wishing to become psychotherapists and/or counselling professionals are encouraged to consider the Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy, which is a qualification approved for membership to either (or both) the ACA and PACFA.

The program at Cairnmillar does offer two lower level exit points, a Graduate Certificate of Counselling and Psychotherapy and a Graduate Diploma of Counselling and Psychotherapy however these qualifications are generally considered foundational only and are more suitable exit points for graduates with existing careers where counselling and psychotherapy skills may be useful or even required but may not be sufficient for those planning to practise primarily as a psychotherapist. The lower qualifications alone are not normally sufficient for those wishing to practice primarily as psychotherapists or counsellors, although the Graduate Diploma level may make some graduates eligible for membership of the ACA or of PACFA under an RPL membership pathway in some circumstances, normally only if studied part-time.

The Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy is a two year full-time program, or can be studied over four years part-time. Entry to the program is open to anyone with an undergraduate degree. Counselling or Psychotherapy may be a more suitable change of career for those who cannot commit to a full APAC accredited sequence as well as those for whom psychotherapy is a more appropriate methodological fit.