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.
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.
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.
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.
PACFA is a Professional Association for a wide range of individual counsellors as well as federation for Member Associations such as CCAA. CCAA is a Professional Association for counsellors who are Christian. Counsellors can join PACFA through CCAA, but not CCAA through PACFA.
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 in their own right 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 will 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.
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, Provisional or Graduate 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 Graduate and Clinical Members as well as Provisional 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.
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 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
- 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.
- Graduate members are required to complete a minimum of 10 hours of Supervision, or 15 hours if client hours are over 400 as part of their renewal requirements per annum.
- 20 hours of PD per annum as part of their renewal requirements.
- Graduate Members working towards Clinical membership are required to have a total 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.
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.
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 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.
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:
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 – 15 hours
Category B – OPTIONAL: Maximum annual allowance – 5 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 15 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 5 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.
CCAA offers Registered Members (Supervisors, Clinical, Graduate & Provisional) to have their details published on the Find a Counsellor section – this is a free service to our CCAA Members.
Counselling Centres that can be listed on the Find a Counsellor section are required to have at least two practising counsellors with at least one counsellor being a registered member of CCAA.
Download the form here.
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.