Year 1 Update: College of Creative and Experiential Therapies (CCET)

Recap of CCET's first year by Dr Carla van Laar

As members of PACFA would be aware, the PACFA Board unanimously accepted the proposal to form CCET at their May 2022 meeting - yes - a year ago now!

I was nominated as Convenor and Dr Alisoun Neville accepted the nomination as Deputy Convenor. In June 2022, a call for nominations to the CCET Leadership Group (LG) was met with strong interest and we held a democratic election to establish the first CCET Leadership Group.

I would like to thank these wonderful CCET LG volunteers for their dedicated service to our community during the first important year of establishing CCET:

  • Dr Alisoun Neville

  • Dr Lisa Mosely

  • Dr Kevin Franklin

  • Tara Harriden

  • Cheryl Taylor

  • Sandra Buchanan

  • Loren Weber

Please read more about each CCET LG member HERE.

The first CCET LG meeting was held in July 2022. Our work since then has included: 

  • advocacy 

  • contribution to planning and presenting at PACFA's wonderful 2022 online conference "Safety in Diversity"

  • the development of CCET's important foundational documents and processes

  • becoming membership ready.

I am proud to provide you with more details of these below.


Our advocacy efforts have focused on ensuring that PACFA registered Creative and Experiential Therapists have had a presence and contribution in important National, State and Regional issues of policy development, recognition for our profession and access to our services for all community members.

  1. Successfully advocated for PACFA registered Creative Arts Therapists' inclusion on the Victorian Schools Mental Health Menu, see PACFA's landing page for schools HERE

  2. contribution to the Australia Council's Connected Lives: Creative Solutions to the Mental Health Crisis policy consultation and submission, including a quote by CCET Convenor in the final document. Please find the whole report available to download HERE

  3. leadership in PACFA's submission to the National stigma and discrimination reduction policy. This is a fantastic resource with many references to relevant evidence. Please find our entire submission publicly available HERE

  4. CCET contribution to the National Cultural Policy, please see our submission HERE

  5. communications with PACFA's CEO to the NDIS advocating for recognition of the PACFA workforce as Allied Health Professionals

  6. Meeting with and writing to government bodies, educational institutions and employers to introduce CCET and raise awareness that many Creative and Experiential Therapists choose to have their registration through PACFA. We anticipate that educational and training institutions will begin to seek PACFA accreditation for their training programs during the coming year. We are already starting to see major employers recognise PACFA registered Creative and Experiential Therapists through their choice of wording in positions descriptions.

CCET's Foundational Documents and Processes

The CCET LG have formed various working groups and met on many occasions to develop these important foundational documents that will guide us as we open up for membership.

Significantly, we presented these documents to the PACFA Board in March 2023, and they were accepted unanimously. 

  1. CCET Terms of Reference

  2. CCET Membership Statement and Criteria

  3. CCET Members Capabilities

  4. CCET Members Qualifications and Training Weighting Table

  5. CCET Membership Application Process

Launching CCET's Membership Criteria

We are truly delighted with the encouragement and support that we continue to receive from PACFA.

Please see this link to read the CCET Membership Statement and Criteria, which includes...

  • Acknowledgement of Country

  • Membership Statement including values, knowing and knowledge, and attitudes of CCET members

  • Capabilities: Skills and Abilities held by CCET members - these were developed from the feedback you gave us via the September 2022 survey - thank you.

  • Guidelines for qualifications, training, professional development and supervised practice of CCET members

  • the Membership Criteria - this includes a qualifications and training weighting table that is designed to acknowledge that: "Creative and Experiential Therapists develop their professional identity via diverse pathways that include qualifications, training, ongoing professional development and supervised practice. These include, but are not limited to, PACFA accredited courses and AQF qualifications. We recognise that rigorous training in some creative and experiential therapy modalities, such as equine assisted therapy, psychodrama, sand play therapy and somatic experiencing therapy, is only available outside of formally recognised degrees and we welcome members who have developed their specific creative and experiential therapeutic approaches through these diverse yet converging pathways."

Next Step - Opening for Membership

We are currently working with the PACFA office to ensure that systems are in place to respond when CCET opens up for membership. These include safe confidential storage of application forms, and a de-identified application process. We are committed to ensuring our standards and processes are ethical and transparent, and that they meet the requirements of PACFA's membership of the National Association of Self Regulating Health Professions (NASRHP). I hope to announce a date soon.

Thank you to outgoing Leadership Group Members: Dr Alisoun Neville and Cheryl Taylor

For the past year, the CCET Leadership Group has been fortunate to benefit from the skills, knowledge and good humour of Dr Alisoun Neville as Deputy Convenor, and Cheryl Taylor as Leadership Group member. Both Alisoun and Cheryl have given a wonderful year of service and we thank these two outgoing Leadership Team members for their work and valuable contributions.

It has been a great privilege to work on the establishment of this College within PACFA, and to both witness and support the calibre of PACFA's leadership, Carla's role as Convenor of C.CET, and the work of the C.CET leadership group as a whole. It is a good time for me to leave this role now, but trust there will be opportunities to support the work at other times and in other ways, including as an ongoing member of the C.CET College. 

-- Dr Alisoun Neville, outgoing CCET Deputy Convenor.

It's been such a privilege to be involved in the establishment of PACFA's C.CET College and to have the opportunity to work with such a talented and dedicated team of people.  I have been inspired by the enthusiasm and commitment of the leadership group and by Carla's sound leadership as the Convenor.  The leadership group has achieved a significant amount in a relatively short time and I'm grateful to have been able to contribute in a small way. 

-- Cheryl Taylor, outcoming CCET Leadership Group member

CCET welcomes our new Deputy Convenor, Tara Harriden

Tara Harriden (B. Ed., Dip. Ed., Master of Mental Health - Art Therapy, PhD Candidate) belongs to Wiradjuri Mob from down Wagga Wagga way and also has some Irish and Scottish Ancestors. She currently runs Whole Hearts and Minds Services – a private Arts Therapy practice in Brisbane that also offers a range of disability support services including counselling, psychosocial recovery coaching, and support coordination. Tara also offers clinical supervision (traditional and therapeutic arts-based) to health professionals, teachers, disability support workers and others in the human services sectors.

Tara is the Pastoral Care representative on the National Human Research Ethics Committee at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) and is also undertaking her own research investigating the benefits of cultural safety-centred, arts-based clinical supervision for mental health workers.

We are delighted to have access to Tara’s wealth of experience and wisdom as she takes on the role of Deputy Convenor in this important year as CCET opens for membership.

I look forward to the next 12 months as Convenor of PACFA's College of Creative and Experiential Therapies, and especially to welcoming our members.

Creative and Experiential Therapists gathering on Boon Wurrung Country at the 2023 Creative Mental Health Forum and Self Care Retreat.