Advocating for the profession 

12 February 2024

On Wednesday 31 January, PACFA President Nigel Polak and Immediate Past-President Dr Di Stow met with Federal MP Andrew Wilkie to advocate for the counselling and psychotherapy profession.

The Independent federal member for Clark met with Nigel and Di to discuss the state of the profession in Australia, and the importance of counselling and psychotherapy in the Australian mental health workforce. The opportunity enabled PACFA to emphasise the professional discrimination faced by tertiary-qualified counsellors and psychotherapists across the nation, and the negative impact of this on the community, particularly those with mental distress, to the House of Representatives member.

During the meeting, Nigel and Di also highlighted the need for political action to support the profession, as well as the importance of continuous engagement with government officials to address sector-specific challenges.

Andrew, Nigel and Di spoke of the need for recognition and regulation of the profession, and the importance of the tertiary-qualified counselling and psychotherapy workforce, given their availability and ability to provide essential mental health services and assist people in the community. PACFA’s President and Immediate Past President advocated to Andrew for National Standards in line with PACFA’s registration standards, as well as for a robust complaints process to guarantee the safety and quality of the workforce and services provided by counsellors and psychotherapists. This was also mentioned in conjunction with PACFA’s advocacy for tertiary-qualified counsellors and psychotherapists to achieve Medicare recognition, most likely by way of the establishment of National Standards.

The Independent federal member for Clark agreed to meet with Nigel and Di again to further the conversation; additionally, meetings will be set with Jacqui Lambie, federal Senator for Tasmania.

To read more about PACFA’s registration standards, please click here.