Code of Ethics

Are you a member of the public or a PACFA member seeking ethics advice or wanting to make a complaint? Please use this form for further information on next steps and links to relevant policies and documents.

PACFA sets high standards of ethical conduct for the counselling and psychotherapy profession. This supports the ethical practice of counsellors and psychotherapists and helps to protect the public from harm.

PACFA members and registrants, including practitioners, affiliates, students, educators, trainers and researchers will be required to work to the PACFA Code of Ethics 2017. This includes registrants belonging to PACFA Member Associations, who are also required to abide by the Code of Ethics of any PACFA Member Associations to which they belong. 

PACFA and its Member Associations operate complaints handling processes for situations where there are concerns that the required standards of ethics have not been met. The complaints system holds practitioners accountable for any breaches of the relevant Codes of Ethics.

For information on how to make a complaint, go to the Ethics Complaints page. All complaints are heard in accordance with PACFA’s Professional Conduct Procedures 2020.

PACFA’s ethical standards are implemented and reviewed by the PACFA Ethics Committee. For more information about the work of the Ethics Committee, go to the Ethics Committee page.

PACFA also provides training in ethics and ethical practice to support practitioners and to maintain high ethical standards. For details see the Ethics Training page.


PACFA has also developed numerous resources on practicing ethically online during COVID19 and beyond. 

Informed consent and confidentiality issues to be considered for online therapy
This resource has been developed by the PACFA Ethics Committee to guide counsellors and psychotherapists who provide online therapy. It covers some important points to be considered in order to provide online therapy services safely and ethically.

Online Resources for PACFA Members: Mental Health Legislation, Informed Consent and Confidentiality
The PACFA Ethics Committee has compiled examples of federal and state legislation regarding Mental Health, Informed Consent and Confidentiality as they stand in May 2020. Legislation is constantly being changed and amended and it is important that you check current legislation.
Boundaries and record keeping – Recording
Free webinar recording. This webinar explores the intricacies of boundary settings in therapy, the potential for therapists to feel out of their depth in certain situations, the correlation of record keeping to maintaining ethical boundaries and the importance of reflection and supervision to ethical and safe practice.  Free download of the PDF Slides for the Boundaries and Record Keeping – Recording

AHPA Private Practice Privacy Guide – 2020
Since 12 March 2014 allied health practitioners working in Commonwealth public organisations and private practices have operated under one set of privacy laws: the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).  The intent of this guide is to provide practitioners whose national association is a member of AHPA with information and resources so that they may increase their understanding and knowledge of current privacy legislation and more specifically the APPs.

For more information on practicing during COVID19, visit our dedicated webpage, updated frequently.