National Standards for Counselling and Psychotherapy to be established

17 May 2023

PACFA is pleased to be advising the Department of Health on the establishment of national standards for counselling and psychotherapy following the allocation of 300k over two years in the recent federal Budget. This was announced by the Assistant Minister for Mental Health The Hon Emma McBride on Thursday 11 May at the Mental Health Australia Policy Day. This announcement builds on Immediate Past President Dr Di Stow and Johanna de Wever’s presentations to the Senate Select Inquiry in mid 2021. An exciting news article containing a transcript of their presentations to the Inquiry were published at the time. PACFA was the only counselling organisation which supported the proposal for National Standards when the Select Committee’s recommendations were announced in November 2021.

Whilst initial meetings are yet to be scheduled, it can be expected that this project will take up to two years, and that implementation will occur post 2026. PACFA will be utilising this opportunity to ensure that Counsellors and Psychotherapists are registered comparable to other Allied Health Professionals – not as a less trained or less valuable workforce. The establishment of National Standards which address the entry level requirements for a Registered Counsellors are long overdue and will be critical in rebuilding sector confidence. This is essential to ensuring Counsellors, Psychotherapists and Indigenous Healing Practitioners are able to be play their key role in the broader mental health workforce, and provide important support for the community.

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