If you have concerns that your counsellor or psychotherapist may have acted unethically while providing counselling or psychotherapy services, you have the right to make a complaint.
You also have the right to make a complaint to PACFA about a PACFA Member Association if you have concerns that the Member Association has not dealt with an ethical matter appropriately.
If you have concerns about the ethical conduct of a counsellor or psychotherapist, we recommend you read the PACFA Code of Ethics which sets out PACFA’s standards for ethical practice.
Complaints to PACFA about counsellors and psychotherapists
PACFA can only hear grievances* and complaints against counsellors and psychotherapists who are listed on the PACFA National Register and who were listed at the time therapy was provided.
1. Before lodging a complaint to PACFA, first check that the practitioner is listed on the PACFA National Register. You can search the PACFA Register at the Find a Therapist page or contact the PACFA office on 03 9046 2270.
2. If the practitioner you want to lodge complaint about is listed on the register, then email [email protected] with your name and contact details; the therapist's name, a description of the complaint and the date on which the incident occurred (if it was a specific incident).
3. Your complaint should be acknowledged within 48 business hours and a PACFA staff member should contact you about your grievance or complaint within two weeks.
PACFA addresses grievances and complaints in accordance with the Professional Conduct Procedures 2020.
*A complaint is known as a 'grievance' after a complaint meets certain criteria, such as the psychotherapist or counsellor being a PACFA member at the time of the therapy subject to complaint.
PACFA Member Associations are required to work to the Membership Requirements and Guidelines for PACFA Member Associations.
This document guides PACFA Member Associations in ethical operation, in accordance with the principles of good governance.
If you want to complain about a Member Association, email [email protected].
If the therapist you want to complain about is not on the PACFA register
If the therapist you wish to make a complaint about is not listed on the PACFA register or does not belong to a PACFA Member Association, they may belong to another professional association. If the therapist is not a member of a professional association, you can contact a health complaints body in your state or territory: