Supporting Research Studies

PACFA supports the development of the evidence base for the psychotherapy and counselling profession. Experienced researchers and thesis students are able to recruit participants and promote their research to PACFA members.

Members are encouraged to participate in these research studies, and where appropriate, to encourage clients to participate in studies.

Promotion opportunities are listed on this page and promoted through the PACFA Facebook page and the PACFA eNews.

If you would like PACFA members to participate in your research, please go to the Requesting PACFA to promote your research page.


Latest Research Studies


Ideals, Values and Virtues in Practice: A qualitative exploration of counsellors and psychotherapists

A PhD Candidate from the University of Queensland would like to compile descriptive accounts of the complexities of practice and how counsellors use their virtues and values to navigate these complexities to achieve desired outcomes.

Participants would engage in a 60-90 minute interview at a time or place most convenient for you (including online). The interviews would explore personal perspectives on the purpose of therapy, the ideal qualities of counsellors and how these qualities are expressed in practice.

Participants must be members (or eligible members) of a professional counselling or psychotherapy association and must currently be practicing in a professional counselling/psychotherapy role.

The research is being conducted by Jim Schirmer (PhD Candidate) and overseen by Drs Debby Lynch and Judith Murray at the University of Queensland. Recruitment for the study will continue until mid-2023, or until a sufficient number of participants have been reached.

If you are interested to participate, contact Jim Schirmer: [email protected] or (07) 3346 7026, for more information.


Therapist Experiences in Counselling Adolescent Males in Australia

A PhD Candidate at the University of Southern Queensland would like to survey mental health professionals who work with adolescent males (ages 12-18 years in Australia.

Participants would complete a 15–30-minute online survey that includes questions about the unique challenges of working with adolescent males and requests your recommendations on engaging and working with this population.

This research is being undertaken by Micah Boerma (PhD Candidate) at the University of Southern Queensland. He is supervised by Dr Nathan Beel and Dr Carla Jeffries.

This study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee at The University of Southern Queensland (H22REA100) and will be available to compete until October 2022.

Link to online survey.


Cisgender women during transition of transmasculine partner

AUT Auckland PhD candidate Elizabeth Jennens is conducting research on the experiences of cisgender women during the transition of their transmasculine partner (transmasculine meaning the partner was assigned female at birth and has transitioned to a masculine gender identity), in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia.

Elizabeth is seeking survey participants who are 18 or over, cisgender women who have experience of being in a relationship with someone who was assigned female at birth, and they transitioned to a masculine gender identity during the relationship or were in the process of transitioning when you entered the relationship. The transition can be either social (name, pronoun change etc), medical (hormones), or surgical.

Complete the survey.


Posted August 2022

NSW high school counsellors' experiences

A second-year Master of Counselling student at Sydney’s University of Notre Dame, Sydney is looking for high school counsellors in NSW to interview for a study about their experiences.

Data will be collected through a semi-structured interview process with participants that will be conducted over Zoom.

The researcher, Belle McPherson, wants to understand the motivations, struggles, and perspectives of high school counsellors in NSW, to highlight their experiences and needs.

Recruitment of participants will take place until November 2022.

Please email Belle at [email protected] if you are a high school counsellor in NSW and want to arrange an interview.

Posted August 2022

Counsellors’ perspectives of mindfulness meditation and its impact on therapeutic presence: a qualitative study

This research is being undertaken by Rachena Ek, a Master of Counselling student at The University of Notre Dame, under the supervision of Dr Cathy Bettman. The purpose of the project is to explore the attitudes of mental health providers i.e., social workers, counsellors, psychotherapists, and psychologists who practice mindfulness meditation to discover its impacts on their therapeutic presence in clinical settings.

In doing so, the research may reveal how mental health providers experience mindfulness meditation and its effects, the perceived benefits of it, if any, and reveal whether mindfulness meditation contributes to the way of being with clients.  

Participant criteria: 
- A member of PACFA, ACA, AASW or AHPRA.  
- A minimum of 250 hours or 3 years supervised clinical practice.  
- Currently hold a personal mindfulness meditation practice.  

Participant involvement: 
This research will involve a 45–60-minute interview over Zoom at a time convenient to you.  

Recruitment for this study to start in April 2022 until November 2022

If you would like to participate in this study or require more information, please contact Rachena Ek at [email protected]    

Feel free to pass this along to any other Counsellor, Social Worker, Psychotherapist or Psychologist who may be interested in participating in the study. 

This study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee at The University of Notre Dame (approval REF: 2022-034S). 

Posted 25 May 2022


The Impact of Workplace Stressors on Australian Mental Health Professionals
You are invited to participate in a short online survey study to help us better understand how workplace stressors are affecting mental health professionals today, and how to best reduce the impact of these stressors.

Ms Eloisa Cullington is conducting the research study with the Australian College of Applied Professions (ACAP), under the supervision of Dr Ilona McNeill.

To participate you will need to be:
1. Over 18 years of age
2. An Australian resident
3. Must be a Mental Health Professional
4. Not currently suffering from a stress-related mental illness

Please click on the link below to participate.

Thank you for your interest and support - It is extremely valuable to us.

The ACAP approval number is 773100222.

Posted 27 April 2022


Investigating the practice of counsellors and psychotherapists in Australia.
The aim of this research is to investigate the practice of counselling and psychotherapy in Australia by exploring your experience of the role, your thoughts on professional identity and how you see the future development of the profession.

Participant criteria:
A member of ACA or PACFA.
Currently engaged in providing counselling or psychotherapy in Australia.
A minimum of two years post qualification experience.

Participant involvement:
This research will involve a 45-to-60-minute interview over Zoom or in person at the Notre Dame Broadway campus at a time convenient to you.

Researcher information:
This research is being undertaken by Jessica Jackson, a Master of Counselling student at The University of Notre Dame, under the supervision of Dr Cathy Bettman.
If you would like to participate in this study or require further information, please email Jessica Jackson at [email protected] 

It would be greatly appreciated if you could pass this advertisement on to any counsellors or psychotherapists who may be interested and who meet the participant criteria. 

This study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee at The University of Notre Dame (approval REF: 2022-021S). 

Posted 7 April 2022



Exploring the professional practice and identity of humanistic person-centred trained counsellors and psychotherapists in Australia
Western Sydney University - PhD
Ethics approval ID: H14651

The study aims to explore the ongoing relevance of training in humanistic person-centred approaches to counselling, alongside influences of a range of contextual factors, on the professional identity, clinical practice and education of counsellors and psychotherapists in Australia. 

This research study is being undertaken by Amanda Webb, who is completing her PhD at Western Sydney University under the supervision of Associate Professor Sheridan Linnell and Dr Liz Thyer. A combination of beginner and more experienced counsellors and psychotherapists, as well as counselling educators, are being sought for this research.  

We invite you to participate if you:  

- Are a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist who currently holds, or is eligible for, professional membership with PACFA or ACA.

- Have undertaken training in a humanistic person-centred approach. 

- Are currently engaged in providing counselling and/or clinical supervision to clients. 

- Have worked as a counsellor in Australia for at least one-year post-graduation.  

This research will involve your participation in a semi-structured interview conducted online (using Zoom), lasting 60 to 90 minutes. 
You will be invited to discuss your experiences of “being person-centred” and reflect on how training, work and other contextual factors have shaped your experiences as a counsellor.

If you are interested to participate or would like to find out more, please email Amanda Webb at [email protected]

Please contact Amanda before 30 July 2022 if interested to participate or find out more about the study, with individual interviews to be scheduled between April - September 2022.

Download the participant information sheet.

Posted 31 March 2022 


Mid-Career Counselling Professionals' Experience of Wisdom in Therapeutic Practice
Monash University – PhD Dissertation
Ethics Approval ID: 30917

This research explores experiences of wisdom in therapeutic practice.

You are eligible to participate in this study if:
- you are accredited to work in Australia as a counsellor, psychotherapist or psychologist AND
- your main role involves counselling or psychotherapy with clients (individual or group, face-to-face or online) AND
- you have been practicing counselling/ psychotherapy for between 12 and 18 years (excluding breaks in practice)

Your participation will involve a semi-structured interview (one hour), and on a different day, participation in a focus group (60 to 90 minutes). The interview and focus group will be conducted via Zoom.

The interview invites participants to share their understanding of how wisdom manifests itself in counselling and/or psychotherapy practice (if at all). Participants will be invited to reflect on whether wisdom emerges in their work and if so, to share an example of this.

The focus group deepens this discussion by bringing it into a conversation with others. Participants will also be invited to consider when wisdom begins to emerge and what might impede or facilitate wisdom in practice.

No identifying information will be included in the final dissertation.

This advertisement can be passed on to others who meet the eligibility criteria above. If you are interested, please click on this link to register your interest: Wisdom in therapeutic practice - registration of interest. An Explanatory Statement and Consent Form is included.

For further information, please contact: Ms Jennifer Coburn (PhD candidate) [email protected] Dr Sandy Steward (Supervisor) [email protected]

Posted 23 February 2022