Message from the PACFA President

PACFA President Dr Di Stow has recorded a message for all PACFA members about our COVID-19 response. Please click the link above to watch the recorded video. The full text is provided below. 

Hello to all PACFA members. How are you going? I thought I’d check in with you all online today. I hope you and your families and friends, and your clients, your colleagues, are going good and well.

I’m recording this message as PACFA President to let you know that the PACFA Office and Board, and the many volunteers who contribute to our mission, are working hard to implement PACFA’s COVID-19 response plan. Thanks to all of our staff and volunteers. Thanks for your incredible work in very difficult circumstances.

The PACFA Office team — they’re now working remotely to help keep the team safe so that we can continue supporting members.  The Office is working under a heavy workload with a high volume of enquiries every day. I ask members to be patient too, as there may be delays responding to your phone calls and emails. PACFA’s response to the coronavirus is aimed at resourcing members to deal with the pandemic both professionally and personally, as well as looking after the health and safety of everyone at PACFA. This will ensure we can continue operating effectively. Our aim is to keep serving our members.

The pandemic has certainly taken us all by surprise and has put the whole world into an extraordinary situation; indeed a huge milestone in the life of the world. With the impact of the coronavirus on our loved ones, and on the whole world — it’s so very serious, and with many of us being required to go into enforced isolation, the future looks very uncertain. It’s not surprising that we are seeing increasing levels of anxiety and panic in the community.

The work of counsellors and psychotherapists at this time is of crucial importance to the community. I absolutely commend the work of all counsellors and psychotherapists, all of you, as you continue to support your clients with great skill and care during this pandemic. Some important announcements have been made to support PACFA members. PACFA’s COVID-19 response includes:

  • A member-only resources page which is being regularly updated with useful information and resources for members
  • We’ve also developed resources and professional development opportunities to support members to work safely and ethically when providing Online Therapy
  • We’ve launched flexible arrangements for meeting PACFA’s Continuing Professional Development and Supervision
  • We’ve advised training providers of flexible arrangements for training programs that are accredited by PACFA
  • We also put on a free webinar called Covid-19 Responses and Responsibilities, presented by the PACFA Research Chair and members of the College of Counselling Leadership Group, to 500 members last weekend. That was fantastic. The webinar provides information on how to support clients during the pandemic, and other topics including the importance of self-care. The recording of the webinar is available at the member-only resources page at the website.  I encourage all members to view it if you can.

We’re also continuing to advocate for opportunities for counsellors and psychotherapists to better support mental health in the community during the pandemic. This includes:

  • Successfully advocating to Bupa, and Police and Emergency Service Health for rebates to be allowed for Telehealth; and
  • Continuing to advocate to the Federal Government for Medicare provider numbers to be extended to counsellors and psychotherapists.

Please watch your inbox, as well as the PACFA website and Facebook page, to stay up-to-date on PACFA’s COVID-19 response. Many more initiatives are currently being planned to support PACFA members.

Thanks for taking the time to listen to this message. It’s a message of big support as well as a message of thanks and appreciation. I’m greatly heartened by stories of care and compassion in the community, with many people going out to help others in need. Even in the face of tremendous hardship, there are stories of optimism, generosity and hope. I include in this, the positive way PACFA members have written to us to say thank you for the support PACFA is providing, and to make suggestions for other actions we could take.

There is a still a lot to do to meet members’ needs and a long distance for us all to travel to get to the other side of the pandemic. Be assured PACFA, be totally assured, we will continue to work hard on behalf of all of our members, and support you during this difficult time.

I’ll finish now and leave you with my very best wishes.