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 with accredited training providers.

CCAA originally began in Victoria in 1982 as the Christian Counselling Association of Victoria with other state organisations gradually being established over the following years. Representatives from these state associations formed a national umbrella association called Christian Counsellor Association of Australia (CCAA) in 1998, and this association is a founding member of PACFA. The state associations are identities with an agreement to work together under the banner and organisational structure of the national body of CCAA.

Finally, the state associations merged to form the current national association in May 2019. CCAA has six branches able to work more with their local members. The Branches are situated in the States with ACT being part of NSW and NT being with SA.

Counselling is the provision of professional assistance and guidance in resolving personal or psychological problems. The goal of counselling is to help people recover from emotional distress and psychological trauma, make changes to improve their quality of life, and gain greater personal well-being.

Christian counselling is the provision of professional counselling services where the approach to counselling is informed by Christian faith and values. Christian counsellors operate from a Christian world view, integrate Christian faith and values in their professional practice, and are mindful of the importance of faith and spirituality for well-being.

Generally, you can expect to pay between $90 – $180 an hour for a counsellor for an individual session. Counselling costs can seem expensive at first glance, however counselling costs are often less than the “gap fee” charged by a psychologist after a Medicare rebate.

Each initial session is different and this is where you can get a feel for the counsellor you have chosen. Counsellors do not follow a script. The session will probably involve your counsellor allowing you to talk  freely and  work out what you want  to achieve through the counselling process.  You can say as much or as little as you like.  Even though the first session may feel quite emotional, it is important that you feel comfortable and emotionally safe.

Currently counsellors and psychotherapists are not covered under the Better Access to Mental Health initiative. Counsellors cannot provide a Medicare rebate.

This is an issue that is currently under review with the Federal Government and the Psychotherapists and Counsellors Federation of Australia (of which CCAA is a member) is actively working with the Federal Government to find a way that Counsellors can be included in this scheme.

This depends on what benefits your particular insurance policy provides. Most Private Health Funds do not include counselling in the allied health services that their policies cover. Some Private Health Funds do offer policies that include counselling services provided by clinical members of PACFA. These include: Medibank, ahm, Bupa and ARHG (encompassing St Luke’s Health, Phoenix Health, CUA, Police Health, and Emergency Services Health).

If you are experiencing financial hardship a counsellor will consider your situation, they may offer a free initial consultation and offer cheaper rates. This can only be discussed with a counsellor.

All these professionals may offer counselling services. The main difference is the nature of training these different professionals have received.

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. There are also differences in their approach to their counselling work and the type of counselling they provide.

    1. Counsellors. Counsellors are trained in a broad range of therapeutic approaches and have specific training in particular problems, such as: trauma, anxiety and depression, grief, relationships, adjustment challenges, children and adolescent adjustment. Counsellors tend to 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.
    1. Psychotherapists. Counselling and psychotherapy are often used interchangeably, however are in fact very different. While a psychotherapist is qualified to provide counselling, a counsellor may or may not possess the necessary training and skills to provide psychotherapy.
      Psychotherapists receive extensive training in a particular psychodynamic approach to therapy. Psychotherapists deal with longer-term treatment (more than 3 months to even 10 years) that focuses more on gaining insight into unconscious and subconscious psychic processes that may lie under chronic physical and emotional problems. Psychotherapy intensively and extensively examines a person’s psychological history to gain insight into a person’s long-standing attitudes, thoughts, and behaviours that have resulted in the current quality of one’s life and relationships.
    2. Psychologists. Psychology covers a broad range of specialties. There are two types of psychologists that provide counselling, clinical psychologists and counselling psychologists. These two types of psychologists have received masters degree training in either counselling or clinical psychology. In addition, there are Education and Development Psychologists who have specialized in assessing and providing psychological treatment of a range of child and adolescent learning and emotional and developmental difficulties. There are neuropsychologists who specialize in assessment and treatment of the impact of brain medical problems on psychosocial functioning. Psychologists have special training in psychological assessment, and they tend to provide support and treatment for people with more severe mental health problems.
    3. Psychiatrists. Psychiatry is a medical speciality. Psychiatrists are doctors who have been trained first as a medical practitioners and then have gone on to receive specialised training in treating mental disorders. Psychiatrists are able to make diagnosis of mental health disorders and prescribe medication to treat those disorders medically. Psychiatrists are trained to deal with severe mental illnesses, such as psychosis, that require management using medication. Some psychiatrists provide counselling and psychotherapy, others mainly provide diagnosis and prescribe medication.

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.

It is most important to choose a counselling course that is accredited by either the Australian Counsellors Association (ACA) or the Psychotherapy and Counsellors Federation of Australia. (PACFA). While doing VET counselling courses can be a great place to start your training, CCAA regards a Bachelor Degree or Masters degree in Counselling as the most adequate level of training to equip a counsellor to work in private practice.


PACFA (Psychotherapists and Counsellors Federation of Australia), ACA (Australian Counselling Association) and CCAA (Christian Counsellors Association of Australia) are all professional associations for counsellors. They all have training standards, a code of professional ethics, and ongoing professional development requirements for their registered members who work as counsellors, and registered members these professional associations are recognized by prospective employers and the wider community as professional counsellors.

PACFA is the leading national peak body for the counselling and psychotherapy profession in Australia. As a member of AHPA (Allied Health Providers of Australia, it has high basic training standards that are comparable to other allied health providers (bachelor or masters degree). It is able to lobby with the Federal Government as a representative of the counselling industry.

PACFA originally was in 1998 as an umbrella association for the many professional counselling associations in Australia who became member associations of PACFA. The original mission of

PACFA was to establish national standards for counsellors and psychotherapists (through accreditation of training courses), promote the development of counselling and psychotherapy, as a and represent their interests with the Federal Government.

PACFA was restructured in 2015 to become an association with both individual members and member associations. In 2023 PACFA had over 7,000 individual members and seven members associations.

PACFA is inclusive of a wide diversity of counsellors and psychotherapists. This diversity is reflected in its seven Colleges: College of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Practices, College of Counselling, College of Counselling and Psychotherapy Educators, College of Psychotherapy, College of Relationship Counsellors, College of Creative and Experiential Therapists, College of Supervision.

CCAA (Christian Counsellors Association of Australia) is a member association of PACFA. CCAA shares many of the high standards as PACFA and as a member association collaborates closely with PACFA.

What is distinctive about CCAA is that its registered members are expected to be practicing Christians. CCAA is committed to promoting Christian counselling through its commitment to excellence in counselling and integration of Christian faith and theology with our professional practice as Christian counsellors.

ACA is the largest counsellor professional association in Australia with around 16,000 members. It advocates with governments and employers on behalf of its members. It accredits training courses and sets comparable professional ethical standards and ongoing professional development standards to PACFA. One significant difference is ACA has lower training standards than PACFA. The minimum qualification ACA recognises is a Diploma in Counselling, whereas the minimum qualification PACFA recognises is a Bachelor Degree.

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.
  • PACFA Members can transfer their membership to CCAA at the same level – please refer to this document on the process.

CCAA is easy to join. You can join as a student if you are in an accredited course in counselling, or if you have completed your training in counselling, you can join as a Registered Member.

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,
    • Transcripts,
    • 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.

Professional Indemnity Insurance is an important part of protecting yourself as a counsellor against being sued by a client for malpractice or other breech of professionalism.  It is important to have this insurance cover if you are working for yourself as a counsellor in private practice.  If you are employed by an organization, you do not need this insurance because you are covered by your employer’s insurance. It is important to confirm this before you accept a job.

It is a requirement of our association that you have insurance cover once you start practising. You do not need to have insurance to apply to become a member, but CCAA expects you to provide proof of insurance (either a Certificate of Currency or a letter from your employer) once you start working as a counsellor in your first year. You can provide this proof by uploading an insurance document through your Membership Portal.

Therefore, CCAA and insurance.com.au have partnered together to provide insurance solutions for CCAA members at discounted rates. CCAA’s partnership with insurance.com.au allows members to access comprehensive insurance at competitive prices.

Visit the CCAA page on the insurance.com.au website here.

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.

Counselling courses in Australia need to be accredited by either PACFA or ACA to be recognized as providing the basic training in counselling required for membership with CCAA. Accredited training courses are listed on the PACFA and ACA websites.

CCAA recommends a number of training courses from Christian registered training organization on the basis of the quality of their counselling training and the emphasis these courses give to integration of counselling with the Christian faith. To find a training course in your state click this link.

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.

CCAA has different levels of membership because we recognize that counsellors vary in the amount of basic training they have received and in the amount of experience they have acquired as counsellors.

Information about the different levels of membership and their respective requirements are found in the website page “About Our Memberships” which can be accessed by clicking this link.

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.


CCAA expects its Registered Members to meet ongoing requirements in supervision and continuous professional development. These annual requirements for your level of membership are found our “Compare Memberships” page by clicking on this link.

CCAA requires 20 hours of ongoing professional development (CPD) each year.

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

You can do up to 20 hours of Category A professional development, because Category B is optional.

CATEGORY 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.

A Cert IV in First-aid training is not accepted as PD for membership renewals. It is a requirement for gaining Health care clients and has little to do with counselling.

When you are applying to become a Clinical Member of CCAA, we ask that all applicants have done some work towards understanding the integration of faith and counselling. You can choose one of two pathways to verify this.

1. If you have done a Theological Integration unit within your Counselling Training, this can be used in your application for Clinical membership.

2. A 5 hour workshop/PD on Theological Integration  as well as 4 hours of supervision from a Integration supervisor. They 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.

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.

Further information can be found here.

South Australia

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.

Western Australia

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.

Further Information

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.