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PACFA’s Training Standards changed

At the PACFA Council meeting in April, PACFA adopted new training standards aimed at raising standards for counselling and psychotherapy education in Australia. The PACFA Training Standards (2018) will position PACFA more strongly to seek professional recognition for counsellors and psychotherapists.

PACFA has written to training providers that deliver PACFA-accredited training programs to advise them of the changes and of the arrangements to transition to the new standards.

A key change is that practising members of PACFA and PACFA Registrants belonging to PACFA Member Associations are required to complete training that is accredited by government at level 7 to 9 of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The new training standards articulate the volume of learning required for a counselling or psychotherapy training program and clarify that the “in training” requirement for supervised client contact is 40 client contact hours linked to 10 hours of supervision.

In response to the trend in the education sector towards digital learning, the PACFA Training Standards (2018) allow some of the training program to be via synchronous and asynchronous online learning, however the requirement remains that a significant amount of learning must take place in person. This is considered essential because of the relational nature of counselling and psychotherapy.

As a consequence of the changes to the training standards, PACFA’s registration categories have also changed, making them simpler and clearer. Interns, which were added as a registration category to address an anomaly in the previous training standards, have been discontinued. PACFA Provisional membership and registration is now available upon completion of a program that meets the PACFA Training Standards (2018) including the in-training requirements for supervised client contact. Clinical membership and registration is now available upon completion of a further 750 post-qualifying client contact hours and 75 hours of post-qualifying supervision.

While the new standards are effective immediately, there are grandfathering arrangements to enable students enrolled in programs accredited by PACFA to join PACFA for a limited time under the old rules. For details of the grandfathering and transition arrangements, see the PACFA website.

PACFA thanks Professor Denis O’Hara, Chair of the Professional Standards Committee, and all current and past members of the Committee, for their tireless work to bring the new PACFA Training Standards (2018) to fruition. PACFA is leading the way with the development of a robust, high quality policy framework for the self-regulating profession of counselling and psychotherapy.

For more information and to download the PACFA Training Standards (2018) go to the Training Standards page..