What is PACFA?

PACFA, The Psychotherapy and Counsellors Association of Australia, is a peak, professional association for counsellors and psychotherapists, operating as both an umbrella organisation uniting a selection of other counselling and psychotherapy associations, as well as representing individuals in professional standards, accountability and self-regulation.

PACFA’s mission is to represent the counselling and psychotherapy professions to communities and government, develop the evidence base for the counselling and psychotherapy practice and support the diversity of approaches within the field. They provide a united forum for practitioners, as well as Counselling and Psychotherapy Associations, to foster professional identity, support training and research and ensure public accountability.

CCAA is a founding member of PACFA, a Member Association and was actively involved in its establishment in 2005.

CCAA Registered Members, whose basic training meets PACFA’s training standards, are entitled to free membership of PACFA, after having paid their initial application fee, by virtue of their ongoing CCAA Membership. Application can be made through registering on PACFA’s portal here in the ‘new membership category’ and by selecting ’I am a member of a PACFA Member Association’ from the drop-down menu. A small annual fee applies for Accredited Supervisor, Mental Health Practitioner and PACFA Colleges Membership categories.

How to add PACFA to your CCAA membership

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What is ACA?

ACA is Australia’s largest single registration body for Counsellors and Psychotherapists with over 5,500 members. ACA serves a crucial role in advocating and advancing the profession of counselling and psychotherapy.

All registered ACA counsellors have completed professional qualifications in counselling or psychotherapy, meet ongoing professional development requirements and have clinical supervision of their practice to ensure they provide a quality service to clients and abide by the ethical guidelines of the profession.

ACA’s objectives include:

  • Promote and advocate for the counselling profession.
  • Represent its members to government and industry.
  • Establish appropriate training standards for the profession.
  • Accredit education courses for Counsellors.
  • Assist members with employment and practice development.
  • Recognise appropriate professional development opportunities for members.
  • Establish and oversee codes of ethical practice.
  • Assist the mental health consumer access ethical and appropriate service providers.

For more information about the ACA or to join the ACA, please click on the following link:

Ongoing Professional Development

ACA members are required to undertake a minimum of 25-hours of relevant OPD each year. OPD is the process through which members improve and broaden their skills, knowledge and expertise, and develop the qualities required for professional practice.

ACA members can attain their OPD through a diverse range of options including ACA endorsed OPD activities; or through non-endorsed activities that are relevant to professional practice.  Examples of OPD include eLearning (online courses), conferences, courses, seminars and workshops. Click on the following link to learn more about ongoing professional development opportunities listed on the ACA website:

What is ARCAP?

ARCAP, the Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, is a national, independent organisation jointly established by PACFA and the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) in 2012. ARCAP was established to provide an Australia-wide, self-regulating register of practicing counsellors and psychotherapists. Whilst intended to be inclusive and supportive of the diversity that exists within the profession, it is also designed to establish, recognise and uphold rigorous quality and accountability standards. ARCAP acts as a collective voice for the counselling profession within the community and government as well as providing a united platform for the members registered under both PACFA and the ACA.

For some time, the federal government was keen to see the establishment of a unified register which would not only progress the recognition of counsellors and psychotherapists, but also provide a single, searchable platform for members of the general public to utilise. ARCAP now acts as this unified register allowing people looking for qualified and ethical counsellors and psychotherapists to find practitioners registered on both the PACFA and ACA registers. ARCAP also provides a single point of contact for any member of the public wishing to lodge a complaint against either PACFA or ACA registrants. Once lodged via ARCAP, complaints are then referred to the individual registering organisation to address.

How to Achieve
ARCAP Registration

To achieve ARCAP registration, individuals need to possess approved, professional qualifications in counselling or psychotherapy, must meet ongoing professional development requirements including clinical supervision of their practice and are bound by a code of ethical guidelines. By meeting ARCAP’s standards for registration, practitioners achieve an elevated level of credibility among members of the public, governments and health funds as well as enjoying professional recognition by their colleagues.

As a counsellor, if you are a Registered Member of PACFA or the ACA, you will be automatically listed on ARCAP.

PACFA Online Training Courses

In supporting the ongoing professional development of counsellors and psychotherapists, PACFA offers various online training courses on key issues relevant to therapeutic practice. Topics covered in the courses currently being offered are Mental Health and Practical Ethics for Counsellors and Psychotherapists. Further information on these courses is provided below and we encourage regular visits to PACFA’s website for the latest short courses available here.

Mental Health Course

PACFA has developed an online Mental Health Course in partnership with the Cairnmillar Institute, one of Australia’s pre-eminent centres for psychological and trauma counselling and psychology education. This course has been designed to be a basis for training to become recognised as a PACFA Mental Health Practitioner. It is comprised of four modules, each of which is approximately two hours in duration. In total, the course takes a minimum of eight hours to complete with the potential for considerably more hours if participants choose to engage in discussion forums and complete suggested additional reading.

Participants work through each module in their own time over the course’s two-week duration and courses accept a maximum of 15 participants at a time.

To register or find out more about PACFA’s online Mental Health Course, visit PACFA’s website here.

Practical Ethics for Counsellors and Psychotherapists

Also run in conjunction with the Cairnmillar Institute, this six-hour course is offered either as a face-to-face workshop or as an online course. The course aims to develop practical skills when dealing with ethical issues in counselling or psychotherapy practice. Participants complete the course at their own pace over a two-week period which includes mandatory completion of at least two out of four interactive sessions.

To register or find out more about PACFA’s Ethics Course, visit PACFA’s website here.