Making the most of your membership - PACFA Colleges

Each month in eNews, our friendly membership staff cover a topic of frequent interest to members.

In November 2021 we explain Colleges, including what a College is, and how to be involved.

What exactly is a PACFA College?  

A College is a group within PACFA, of only PACFA members, who share experience or interest in a particular area of therapy. The Colleges are designed to provide a forum for our members to collaborate, meet like-minded people, and foster professional development.  

The Colleges each have their own Leadership Groups – an elected group of members who run the College with the support of the PACFA Office. Leadership Groups elections are held every two years, and were last held in October 2021. PACFA members are welcome to run for positions within the Colleges - it’s a great way to be involved in shaping the future of the counselling and psychotherapy industry.  

What are the Colleges currently within PACFA? 

We have five different Colleges, each with a focus on a distinct area of therapy. The Colleges are: 

College of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Practices (CATSIHP) 

College of Counselling 

College of Counselling and Psychotherapy Educators 

College of Psychotherapy 

College of Relationship Counselling 

What are the benefits of being in a College? 

There are many benefits to being a member of a College. Most Colleges run their own professional development, so you will have access to high-quality CPD for a discounted price – if you specialise in a particular area, you may also be able to present and run your own CPD through your College. 

Colleges may run networking events, or provide a forum such as a private Facebook group to meet and have discussions with other members who have similar interests. Supervision and peer study groups can also be formed through a College, and relevant job opportunities are sometimes circulated around the College mailing list. 

Practising members of some Colleges now have access to exclusive digital badges, with trademarked titles that show you are highly qualified and have met PACFA’s high standards. 

Some Colleges produce their own training standards, similar to the entry requirements for PACFA, to establish a further benchmark for their therapy or modality. Research, journals, or magazines can also be published through a College.  

Which College should I join? 

Some members join the College relevant to their training (ie. if you did a Bachelor of Counselling, you would join the College of Counselling), and others decide to join a College based on their interests. and what they would like to know more about. Most PACFA members start out in the College of Counselling, but you are welcome to change Colleges if you meet the eligibility requirements of the College you would like to join.

How do I join a College? 

If you are an individual member (not a Member Association member), one College membership is provided free with your membership fees. At the time you applied for PACFA membership, we asked you which College you would like to join. If no College was specified, you would have been automatically added to the College of Counselling. You can check your College membership by following these instructions

If you are a Member Association member, or an individual member wanting to be a member of more than one College, you can pay the College membership fee, and email [email protected] with details on which College you would like to join. Please see the next question and answer for entry requirements for the Colleges. 

Are there different requirements to join each College?  

Yes, there are. Any PACFA member can join any College at the affiliate level and be included in many of the member benefits listed above. 

Any PACFA member can join the College of Counselling at the level of their PACFA membership. For information on the other Colleges, visit the Colleges page on our website. 

Other levels of membership (apart from affiliate) for CATSIHP will be available soon.

What is the difference between a College and a Branch or Interest Group? 

Branches are location-based, and vary by state and territory. Branches hold networking events and CPD similar to Colleges, but are for members who are geographically close to each other. Colleges are more specifically about a certain area of therapy.  

PACFA Interest Groups are informal groups of members who come together to explore aspects of practice and to provide networking, learning and support opportunities. PACFA Interest Groups can observe and participate in formal PACFA activities at the PACFA Council level, however Colleges have formal voting rights and representatives on the PACFA Board and/or Council.