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PACFA to introduce new Membership Pathways

At PACFA’s August Council Meeting, delegates gave very positive feedback on the proposal to introduce new Membership Pathways to enable more diverse practitioners to join PACFA. A recent survey of Council Delegates also  indicated very strong support for the changes.

The proposal has now been signed off by the PACFA Board and PACFA is preparing to implement the new Membership Pathways in October.

In 2018, the PACFA Training Standards were amended to make it mandatory for training to be accredited by government in line with the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) levels 7 to 9. This change was aimed at raising the profile of counsellors and psychotherapists and to gain greater recognition by government, including on the form of Medicare provider numbers. The change had a very serious impact for psychotherapists, however, many of whom could no longer join PACFA. This is because psychotherapy training is often provided by small, private training institutions that are not in a position to achieve government accreditation of their training.

There was also a need for pathways for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Healing Practitioners to join PACFA, since the establishment of PACFA College of Aboriginal &Torres Strait Islander Healing Practices (CATSIHP).

Once the new Pathways are implemented, PACFA will have three pathways to practising membership and registration.

(1) Accredited Training Pathway

  • This would be the same as the PACFA Training Standards 2018 in order to meet the current expectations of government that training is accredited by TEQSA or ASQA at AQF level 7 to 9
  • This pathway would be available to counsellors, psychotherapists and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Healing Practitioners with training that is accredited by government and that meets the other requirements of the PACFA Training Standards 2018

(2)  Equivalent Training Pathway

  • This would reinstate access to PACFA membership and registration for those whose training is equivalent to the PACFA Training Standards 2018
  • This would apply to psychotherapists, counsellors and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Healing Practitioners.

(3)  Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

  • This would be a true Recognition of Prior Learning process that is not currently available.
  • This would enable people to join PACFA who have other training and substantial practice experience that is assessed as being appropriate for professional practice.

PACFA will maintain the requirement in the Training Standards 2018 for training to be accredited by TEQSA or ASQA at AQF level 7 to 9, while also welcome more diverse practitioners into PACFA membership through the new Pathways.

The Accredited Training Pathway is important to meet the expectations of government and private health funds in our advocacy for professional recognition. However, the additional membership pathways will be added to the Training Standards under “Appendix 3 PACFA Membership / Registration Requirements”.  This will make it clear that there are other pathways to PACFA membership besides the Accredited Training pathway. This approach enables more people to join PACFA while also having an Accredited Training pathway to support our advocacy work.