Two states have introduced mandatory Codes of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners.
While counselling and psychotherapy is a self-regulating profession and we do have a registration system through PACFA and ARCAP (the Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists), government still treats us as “unregistered” because we are not covered by the mandatory registration requirements of AHPRA (the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency).
New South Wales and South Australia have introduced Codes 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.
Practitioners in other states and territories should be aware that similar Codes of Conduct are expected to be introduced nationwide in the future.
New South Wales
Following a review of the Code of Conduct operating in NSW for Unregistered Health Practitioners, an amended Code of Conduct came into force in NSW on 1 September 2012.
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 14 March 2013, a Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners came into force for practitioners in South Australia.
Counsellors and psychotherapists practising in South Australia are required to display the Code of Conduct, your relevant qualifications, and information about how clients can make a complaint to the Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner (HCSCC).
A copy of the South Australian Code of Conduct, including information about making complaints to the HCSCC, is available for download.
In response to the national consultation process, 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 and commences from 1 February 2017.
Information about how to make a complaint to the new Victorian Health Care Complaints Commission will be available on the HCCC’s new website from 1 February 2017.