Counselling can be defined as the provision of professional assistance and guidance in resolving personal or psychological problems. There are many different areas of counselling including family counselling, relationship counselling and trauma counselling to name a few.
Christian counselling is the provision of professional counselling services that is integrated with and underpinned by Christian faith and values.
- CCAA is an association that accredits counsellors who have a Christian faith and seek to integrate their theology with psychology. Our registered members have been trained in counselling practices with accredited organisations. CCAA offers a wide range of Professional Development meetings across all of Australia, including a National Conference normally every 2 years.
- CCAA originally began in Victoria in 1982 as CCA with other state organisations gradually being established over the following years (1991-2001). During the beginnings of PACFA, CCAA representatives from the states decided to develop the national organisation in 1998. The state associations are identities with an agreement to work together under the banner and organisational structure of the national body of CCAA. The national body’s members have been the six state associations. The structure of CCAA has changed with the State Association merged into a National Body – completion June 2019. Administration is now be done by the National Office with the six branches able to work more with their local members. The Branches are situated in the States – ACT is part of NSW and NT with SA.
- Each of these Health Workers offer services that do overlap. Each will have areas of speciality and this will have to do with the training they have received.
- Counsellors will work with clients to gain an understanding of the present issues that are easily resolved on the conscious level. Counselling consultation is short-term (typically 1 day to less than 6 months). Counselling is more concerned with practical or immediate issues and outcomes. Counselling normally helps a client process powerful emotions such as grief or anger, deal with immediate causes of stress and anxiety, clarify values and identify options when making important personal or professional decisions, manage conflicts within relationships, develop better interpersonal and communication skills, or intentionally change unproductive thoughts and behaviours.
- Psychotherapists deal with longer-term treatment (more than 3 months to even 10 years) that focuses more on gaining insight into chronic physical and emotional problems. Psychotherapy intensively and extensively examines a person’s psychological history and an evolutionary process that helps a person look at long-standing attitudes, thoughts, and behaviours that have resulted in the current quality of one’s life and relationships. It goes much deeper to uncover the root causes of problems, resulting in more dramatic changes in perspective regarding oneself, one’s life experience, and the world in general. Ultimately, psychotherapy aims to empower the individual by freeing him/her from the grip of unconscious triggers or impulses through increased self-awareness. People with chronic, severe depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and etc might benefit most from psychotherapy. While a psychotherapist is qualified to provide counselling, a counsellor may or may not possess the necessary training and skills to provide psychotherapy.Counselling and psychotherapy are often used interchangeably, however are in fact very different. Counselling generally refers to short-term consultation while psychotherapy typically refers to longer-term treatment.
- Psychiatrists are mental health professionals who have been trained first as a medical practitioners but have then gone on to receive specialised
training in treating mental disorders.
- Psychologists have special training in diagnosis and assessment, and they tend to support people with more severe mental health problems. Psychologists differ from psychiatrists in one key authority. They are not medical doctors, and therefore cannot prescribe medication.
- Social Workers education differs significantly from that of other mental health professionals in that there is much greater emphasis on the role of
social factors and interventions at the social level.
Currently counsellors and psychotherapists are not covered under the Mental Health Plan (MHP). This is something that is being discussed by the Minister for Health with the stakeholders including organisations who currently are members of APHRA as well as PACFA and ACA. The desire for being able to get Medicare rebates has been in discussion for the past 20 years, with the recent change that the Minister for Health is very keen to have counsellors and psychotherapists as part the available professionals for the general public.
With regards to Private Health Funds – this is only accessible through PACFA and ACA. So CCAA members who have registered with PACFA do have access to some of the Private Health Funds – Medibank, ahm, Bupa and ARHG (encompassing St Luke’s Health, Phoenix Health, CUA, Police Health, and Emergency Services Health). Some health funds do require counsellors & psychotherapist to be a Clinical Member and the counselling training has to be done by an Australian Provider.
To claim the private health insurance rebate, clients would need to hold Private Health Insurance with extras cover, they may be able to claim benefits for counselling and psychotherapy services provided by you. Clients are to contact their private health insurer who will be able to advise them whether their policy is eligible for rebates for counselling and psychotherapy services. It is important that the therapist includes their Private Health Insurance number supplied by PACFA on their invoices for clients to claim.
CCAA is an association that accredits counsellors who have a Christian faith and seek to integrate their theology with psychology. Our registered members have been trained in counselling practices with accredited organisations. CCAA offers a wide range of Professional Development meetings across all of Australia, including a National Conference normally every 2 years.
Each Association has an overlap. CCAA is a Member Association of PACFA, which means that Provisional, Clinical and Clinical /Supervisors are able to register with PACFA through CCAA. It is not an automatic process. Once a CCAA member joins PACFA through CCAA – CCAA will pay their yearly membership renewal. CCAA Members can join PACFA through CCAA, however PACFA members cannot do the other way around. CCAA has an MOU with ACA for their members to join the ACA College of Christian Counsellors, which them gives them a number of benefits.
PACFA, The Psychotherapy and Counsellors Association of Australia, is a peak, Professional Association for counsellors and psychotherapists. PACFA is an association for individual members as well as an umbrella organisation uniting a select group of other counselling associations in professional standards, accountability and self-regulation. They have Clinical and Provisional Members as well as other categories.
ACA is Australia’s largest single registration body for Counsellors and Psychotherapists with over 5,000 members. ACA serves a crucial role in advocating and advancing the profession of counselling and psychotherapy. They register members on levels 1 to 4.
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. CCAA Registered Members will be automatically listed on the ARCAP register when they apply for and are accepted as Registered Members of PACFA.
The decision on which counselling course you should undertake will be predominantly affected by the outcomes you wish to achieve from your study. Decisions like whether you want to practice as a counsellor, assist at your church or volunteer will help determine which is the most appropriate course for you. For more information on the types of counselling courses recognised by CCAA and PACFA, click here. You can also contact your local CCAA Office to discuss your options.
FOR PROSPECTIVE MEMBERS
There are 3 counselling organisations that you can join – CCAA, ACA and PACFA. ARCAP is not an organisation you can join individually – if you are a registered members of ACA or PACFA you will automatically be on this register.
- CCAA – A counsellor can join CCAA as a member at a variety of different levels. All fees are paid to CCAA via the portal.
- CCAA/PACFA – Once a registered member of CCAA at either Provisional or Clinical levels, can join PACFA at Provisional or Clinical level. Application fees are payable to PACFA, however no year fees are applicable to them – this is paid by CCAA. (CCAA pays fees for all its counsellors who meet the PACFA Training Standards regardless of them being on the PACFA Register). To join a College or other categories is not covered by CCAA.
- PACFA – Can join PACFA at a number of levels including Student. and a variety of registered members. All members are given a Branch to belong to as well as a College at no extra charge. PACFA Members can transfer their membership to CCAA at the same level – please refer to this document on the process
- ACA – Can join ACA a variety of different levels. They also have a number of colleges that you can belong to as an extra fee.
- ACA/CCAA- Members of ACA can join the ACA College of Christian Counsellors. ACA CCC members can claim their Professional Development and Supervision with CCAA for their renewals. This gives members the same privileges as an Associate of CCAA. To get the same privileges of registered CCAA members would require to be a registered member of CCAA and ACA.
In applying for CCAA membership or affiliation, you will first need to determine which of our Membership/Affiliation categories is relevant to your level of qualification. Click here to read more about CCAA Membership levels or here if you already know which level of membership you wish to apply for.
- All levels of membership/affiliation are required to have a Reference from a Pastor, Educator or Similar – the reference form link is available in the application process as well as being available on the website under the JOIN tab – Apply.
- All Registered Members are to have Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) with their name on it, or in the case of being employed, their employees PII with a letter stating they are employed by them and covered under by their PII. You are to upload the Certificate of Currency.
- All Register Membership Levels under the Training section are required to have Certified copies of their:
- Award Certificates,
- Supervisor signed copies of their Counselling & Supervision Logs (if the course if accredited by PACFA, these logs are not required). This is for hours done DURING the course only.
- All Clinical Members are to upload Documentation regarding:
- Theological Integration Training – course certificate.
- Theological Integration Supervision – document available on the website.
- Counselling hour logs – minimum of 750 hours POST training
- Supervision hour logs – minimum of 75 hours POST training.
- Supervisors are required to upload their supervision training certificate.
In order to meet your ongoing CCAA Registered Membership requirements, you must have a specified amount of your professional counselling hours overseen by a supervisor, preferably a CCAA Accredited Supervisor. To find a supervisor near you, use the CCAA ‘Find a Supervisor’ directory.
Public Liability Insurance is an important part of protecting you, as a counsellor against being sued by a client for malpractice or even suspected malpractice. CCAA will not have you as a member without it and we hope, like car insurance, never having to use it. Ensure that you have run off cover (when you retire you are still covered by the work you have done whilst covered by the policy.
You may have an Insurance Broker who can help you sort out something. There are a number of insurance companies you can use including the following:
- Fenton Green Cover is organised via the internet.
- Insurance House (PACFA initiative – use option 2)
One of the areas that can become difficult is what do I get first – Membership or Insurance? You are required to have membership to get insurance, and required to have insurance to get membership. Apply for your Insurance whilst filling out your application. When it asks for Membership Number – enter ‘Applying to CCAA for Membership’. This will help to be able to complete the Insurance application.
There are many different training institutions in Australia offering courses in counselling. CCAA recommends institutions which offer courses that integrate Christian faith with counselling practice. Furthermore, CCAA regards courses that meet PACFA’s basic training and registration eligibility standards as ‘accredited’ and offers full membership of our organisation only to counsellors having completed such courses. For more information on CCAA accredited courses, click here.
There are some courses that are accredited by ACA, however due to different criteria do not meet the standards of PACFA. We do require that courses have a significant number of in-person hours of training – this is an important factor for both CCAA and PACFA.
CCAA is in the process of developing standards to accredit training from colleges. Currently we use the PACFA Accredited Courses as a guide. These have certain criteria that have been deemed as suitable. As CCAA is an MA of PACFA, we have aimed to say if you are a registered member of CCAA (Provisional and above), you do have the training etc. to be a registered member of PACFA. There are some courses that would meet the criteria of meeting PACFA standards, although for a variety of reasons they have chosen not to have them accredited at this time.
For those courses that are not accredited there is a RPL fee charged as CCAA has to do checking on the course acceptability. Click on the link for more details on Recognised Prior Learning (RPL)
CCAA levels of membership exist to recognise the amount of training and experience a person has gained working in the field. A member at Diploma, Advanced Diploma or Provisional levels have all recently graduated from their course but with different in-training practice hours and academic requirements. Clinical Members have been working with clients for at least 750 hours since graduating. Click here to learn more about the various levels and requirements of CCAA membership.
CCAA Registered Members include Provisional and Clinical Members as well as Advanced Diploma and Diploma Members who meet our requirements for client contact and supervision hours. Registered Members are full, voting members of CCAA and are recognised by our organisation as having achieved sufficient training and qualification to practice as counsellors. Other members, such as Associates and Student Affiliates, may be in the process of gaining their qualifications or may work as pastoral carers or in other roles not requiring the same level of qualification as practicing counsellors. Click here to learn more about the various levels of CCAA membership.
FOR EXISTING MEMBERS
All CCAA Registered Members, must meet ongoing professional development and supervision requirements as well as adhering to the CCAA Code of Ethics and upholding the Christian faith. CCAA Diploma Members and Affiliates are also required to adhere to our Code of Ethics and Christian values.
Read more on the specific requirements for your level of membership/affiliation by clicking here.
Supervision and PD Requirements for Registered Members
Annual CPD requirement – 20 hours (from 1/7/17)
There are 2 categories from which the 20 CPD Hours may be accrued:
Category A – MANDATORY: Minimum annual requirement – 10 hours
Category B – OPTIONAL: Maximum annual allowance – 10 hours
The annual requirement of 20 CPD hours may all be accrued from category A if preferred as Categories B is optional.
CATEGORY A A minimum requirement of 10 hours per year accumulated by:
– Attendance at person-to-person courses, workshops, seminars and conferences
– Participation in online facilitated learning – that is in real time. CCAA Zoom sessions fit this criteria.
Online facilitated learning takes place in an online learning environment. The presence and contribution of an online facilitator is required, providing synchronous* or asynchronous* interaction between the facilitator and the participants. This involves interactive learning where participants carry out a number of learning activities rather than passively listening to a lecture or presentation. Examples of online facilitated learning are online courses that include facilitated online discussions or forums, and may also include assessment components.
*Synchronous interaction takes place during the online training
*Asynchronous interaction takes place at another time, for example via an online forum, or email
CATEGORY B A maximum allowance of 10 hours per year accumulated by:
– Participation in peer learning groups
– Imparting knowledge relating to counselling and psychotherapy through formal presentations, teaching, research and publications
– Participation in supervision above the annual renewal requirement
– Participation in online non-facilitated learning
– Reading and taking notes on psychotherapy and counselling journals and books (to be logged in a reflective journal)
Peer learning groups are groups of peers who meet to discuss and explore counselling and psychotherapy topics or resources, without a formal facilitator. Online non-facilitated learning takes place in an online learning environment without synchronous or asynchronous interaction with an online facilitator. For example, recorded webinars or webinars that are not substantially interactive in nature. A reflective journal is a written record, that reflects on the learning activity undertaken and how it relates to and enhances professional practice.
- Diploma members are required to complete 10 hours of Supervision and 20 hours of PD per annum.
- The supervision and PD can be acquired as part of their ongoing course training.
- Provisional Members are required to complete a minimum of 10 hours of Supervision, or 15 hours if client hours are over 400, as part of renewal their requirements per annum.
- 20 hours of PD as part of their renewal requirements per annum.
- Provisional members working towards Clinical membership are required to have 75 hours of supervision linked to 750 client hours over a minimum of 2 years. These are post training hours.
- Clinical Members are required to have a minimum of 10 hours of supervision, or 15 if client hours are over 400 as part of their renewal requirements per annum.
- 20 hours of PD as part of their renewal requirements per annum.
Clinical / Supervisor Members
- Clinical Supervisors are required to have a minimum of 10 hours of supervision, or 15 if client hours are over 400, as part of their renewal requirements per annum.
- 20 hours of PD as part of their renewal requirements per annum.
- It is recommended 1/3 of supervision be linked to supervision of supervision.
For more information on the different levels of CCAA membership/affiliation, please click here.
When you desire to become a Clinical Member of CCAA, we ask that all applicants have done an workshop on Theological Training as well as 4 hours of supervision who will work with you and do an assessment of your ability to integrate your theology with your counselling practice. These Supervisors can be found under the FOR MEMBERS tab – Find a Supervisor.
If you have done a Theological Integration Degree within your Training, this can be used in your application for Clinical. You will be required to do at least 1 and up to 4 supervision sessions to assess this area. Your Theological Integration Supervisor will fill out the necessary form for submission to CCAA. The form can be found on the FOR MEMBERS – FORMS AND DOCUMENTS
The National Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners sets out a range of minimum standards for health practitioners not regulated by AHPRA (the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency). This National Code is then enacted by every state and territory.
While counselling and psychotherapy is a self-regulating profession and CCAA in conjunction will PACFA and ARCAP do have a registration system, the government still treats us as “unregistered” because we are not covered by the mandatory registration requirements of AHPRA. The government did consult with stakeholders in the profession in 2015 and a National policy was being advised that moved away from the title ‘Unregistered Health Professions’, however we are still waiting for this to be implemented. As AHPRA will not register counsellors, it makes it a no win situation currently.
New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia have introduced the National Code of Conduct to provide some accountability for our practice, although the requirements in the Codes are very generic and are not always relevant to counsellors and psychotherapists. Tasmania, Western Australia, ACT and NT are yet to implement the code. Practitioners in should be aware that the Codes are expected to be introduced nationwide in the future.
New South Wales
From 1 September 2012, the code of conduct has been operating in NSW for Unregistered Health Practitioners. A copy of the NSW Code of Conduct is available for download. Counsellors and psychotherapists practicing in NSW are required to comply with this Code and to display the Code at their place of practice.
From 1 October 2015, the National Code of Conduct for Healthcare Workers (Queensland) came into force. A copy of the code is available for download. Counsellors and Psychotherapists practicing in Queensland are required to comply with the Code and display it in their place of practice.
From 18 March 2019 South Australia has implemented the Code of Conduct for Certain Health Care Workers (the code) , which replaces the Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners (old code). This change aligns South Australia with the National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers approved by the COAG Health Council. The code is available for download.
Health care workers who do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) will have to comply with the code and display certain information where they practise.
The code establishes a range of minimum standards for unregistered health care workers, and additional powers to the HCSCC if an unregistered health care worker is found to have breached the Code.
Consumers and health care workers can download an easy-read version of the Code of Conduct here. Health Care Workers must display the full Code of Conduct at all premises where they practise. The easy-read version is available for download. The easy-read version is not to be used in the place of the full Code of Conduct.
From 1 February 2017, Victoria has introduced a General Code of Conduct in respect of general health services which applies to all practising counsellors and psychotherapists. The Code of Conduct is available for download.
Information about how to make a complaint to the new Victorian Health Care Complaints Commission will be available on the HCCC’s website.
As of 8 March 2018, Western Australia has not enacted the National Codes. Consultation on the codes ended on 9 February 2018 and the timeline for enactment is unknown.
Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania & Northern Territory
As of 8 March 2018, these states have not enacted the National Code and there is no anticipated timeline for its enactment.
The status of the National Code in these states and territories may change, for the most up to date information please contact the relevant state or territory health complaints entity listed below. If you have any questions about the National Code you can contact your relevant health complaint entities and their contact details:
ACT: Health Services Commissioner / Human Rights Commission: (02) 6205 2222
NSW: Health Care Complaints Commission: (02) 9219 7444
NT: Health and Community Services Complaints Commission: (08) 8999 1969
QLD: Office of the Health Ombudsman: (07) 3120 5999
SA: Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner: (08) 8226 8666
TAS: Health Complaints Commissioner: 1800 001 170
VIC: Health Services Commissioner: 1300 582 113
WA: The Health and Disability Services Complaints Office: 1800 813 583
CCAA members can apply for a Leave of Absence from the CCAA Register for up to two years. After this time, a Leave of Absence extension request can be made. Members on leave will not be listed under the Find a Counsellor search on the CCAA website. At the time of membership renewals, members on leave have the option to remain on leave, or to end their leave and have their listing reactivated.
How to apply for a Leave of Absence
To apply, log in to your profile on the CCAA portal. Under My Applications, click on LOA Request and proceed with the steps in filling out your application, including expected date of return. An application fee of $55 applies. Your LOA Request is validated from the date of receiving the payment of the application fee.
Renewing your Leave of Absence
The same process applies in regards to extending the date of your current Leave of Absence, as does the $55 application fee. Please note that the previous LOA request form has now been replaced by the lodging of requests online via the Member Portal.
All CCAA Registered Members from Advanced Diploma to Supervisor may list their practice on the Find a Counsellor. The process is done through the Portal. Details on how to do this process can be accessed through the document found on the For Members section – Forms and Documents – this covers Renewals, LOA and Public Profile
All membership upgrades are done through your profile on the portal. Log in using your email address and your password. Click on New Application
- Student can be upgraded to Diploma, Advanced Diploma or Provisional
- Student can be changed to Associate if studies are not been continued
- Associates can upgrade to Diploma, Advanced Diploma or Provisional
- Provisional can be upgrade to Clinical
- Clinical can be upgraded to Accredited Supervisor (Clinical / Supervisor)
If you are a Provisional or Clinical Member of CCAA you will be able to apply to PACFA to be either a Provisional or Clinical Member of CCAA. Currently this means you have to apply through their portal and upload the same paperwork that you have for your application to CCAA. Sadly we are not able to have the two portals talk to each other. You will pay the application fee and then your yearly membership will be paid by CCAA through the Fees you pay.
- Go to the PACFA Portal
- Set up a new Profile for yourself.
- You will then see at the top of the page, a Hi, ‘Your name’, click on this link.
- This will open up your profile and on the left hand side is a list of options.
- Click on the ‘Join.’
- Follow the application process for your level of membership equivalent to your current membership with CCAA.
- Ensure you click that you are an MA Member (CCAA) NOT an individual member. This will ensure that you do not pay the full fee, just the Application Fee.
- Once you have submitted and PACFA has accessed your application, they will contact CCAA to Endorse your application.
- Each year you will do renewals with both PACFA and CCAA.
- Diploma or Advanced Diploma Members are not able to join PACFA as they do not meet the PACFA Training Standards.