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Best Practice Self-Regulation

In 2003-04, the Department of Human Services (‘the Department’) commissioned research on models of self-regulation for psychotherapy and counselling practitioners and other unregistered health professions. The Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) conducted the study on behalf of the Department. The study included:

  • A review of models of best practice in self-regulation.
  • Focused consultation with PACFA member associations.
  • Broader consultation with peak bodies that represent other unregistered health professions and experts in the field.

The aim of the Report was to:

  • Develop a best practice model for self-regulation of counselling and psychotherapy practitioners in Australia, based on a critical review of the literature, consultation with experts and key stakeholders, and political/economic considerations.
  • Explore the feasibility of establishing joint self-regulatory arrangements with other self-regulated health practitioners.
  • Work collaboratively with stakeholders to reach agreement on a plan for implementing key features of an effective and efficient self-regulatory model that is publicly accountable and provides adequate protection for consumers. The final Report was submitted to the Department in February 2008 and can be accessed below.

The Report contains a detailed study, including:

  • A literature review on international models for regulation of counselling and psychotherapy.
  • A study mapping the history, structures and self-regulatory arrangements for close to 50 counselling and psychotherapy associations in Australia.
  • A workforce survey of counselling and psychotherapy practitioners.
  • A consultation with representative associations on a proposal for a joint self-regulation model with other unregulated health professions.
  • A project to develop a national course accreditation system for these practitioners.
  • A national consultation on best practice models for regulation of counselling and psychotherapy.

The views expressed in the Report do not necessarily represent the views of the Department. It is noted that since the preparation of the research report both PACFA and the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) have been working to develop a single Australian Counselling and Psychotherapy Register that would be an inclusive national listing of credentialed counsellors and psychotherapists who accept the standards, codes of conduct and ethics, insurance and continuing education requirements of recognised clinical and professional member associations. To this end, these organisations are working closely together to establish a Working Party that will develop an additional model for an independent national system for the registration of the counselling and psychotherapy professions.

The final project Report is available for download, Best Practice Self-Regulation Report