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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose?

Counsellors Care is a campaign delivered by the Australian Counselling Association, that aims to:

1.      To educate and encourage Australians to seek help from registered counsellors by raising awareness of the profession and the role of registered counsellors in addressing the current mental health crisis.

2.      Advocate for all Australians to receive subsidised services from appropriately qualified registered counsellors through the MBS.

3.      Propose better utilisation of registered counsellors to fill workforce shortage gaps.

4.     Advance job opportunities for registered counsellors and move towards a multi-disciplinary team model to support allied health professionals in other agencies.

We believe there is a solution to the current mental health system crisis. Registered Counsellors are under-utilised highly skilled professionals, who can provide the life raft to the drowning system immediately.

How can I get involved?

Anyone can take part in this campaign by following these three easy steps.

Most importantly, we encourage all to sign up to our mailing service to ensure our collective voices are heard by decision makers. Our mailing service is designed to both keep you informed with our latest updates and activities, but also enable us to contact decision makers to call for change on your behalf. With your quick and easy registration, you can leave all the hard work to us!

Are you also advocating for psychotherapists?

Yes, Counsellors Care is advocating for both counsellors and psychotherapists. We acknowledge the two as separate professions however, for ease of reading, the term ‘registered counsellor’ refers to both registered counsellors and psychotherapists in this campaign.

Why are only Bachelor and Master's qualified counsellors
considered for MBS?

The Counsellors Care campaign is proposing for the addition of appropriately qualified and experienced registered counsellors to the list of allied health profession in the Health Insurance (Allied Health Services) Determination 2014 which provide Focussed Psychological Strategies under Medicare Benefits Schedule (Better Access) initiative (BAI).

‘Appropriately qualified’ refers to counsellors with completed Bachelor or Master’s degree qualifications in discipline specific training in Counselling – recognised as level 7 and 9 respectively by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). These qualifications are in line with the eligibility requirements for MBS and are the same qualifications psychologists, social workers and other mental health practitioners must also adhere to, to meet eligibility.

Further eligibility requirements would include:
·      Two years of supervised practice experience post qualification.
·      Professional Association membership of ACA(Level 3 or 4) compliance with the following annual requirements: i)Professional Development ii) Clinical supervision iii) Professional indemnity insurance iv) Declaration of adherence to a Code of Ethics and complaints handling process.
·      Demonstrated capacity to apply the ACA Mental Health Practice Standards in their professional practice by addressing 20essential points from the Practice Standards.
·      A written referee statement from a current supervisor or employer.

To learn more about our proposed requirements for MBS inclusion, please download ACA’s submission to The House Select Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

What is the difference between a counsellor and psychologist?

A counsellor or psychotherapist uses evidence-based therapies to help clients develop interpersonal skills to gain insight to promote positive personality growth and development. Counsellors are relational practitioners who assist with the resolution of specific problems or changes in life transitions, holistically tailored to the needs of clients (which can be individuals, families, couples, or groups) in their family, social and cultural contexts to assist clients to resolve issues affecting their wellbeing and social functioning. Predicated on reciprocity of trust without judgement, the relationship with the client is the focal point of therapy utilised to explore the genesis of underlying problems and disordered patterns of behaviour that require resolution, within the framework of a contracted professional relationship. 

A psychologist will diagnose a problem and sometimes refer clients to a psychiatrist for medication. There are three commonly referred to which include: generalist, clinical, and counselling psychologists. All registered psychologists can diagnose, assess, and treat clients within the limits of their competence. Many psychologists fulfil some type of a therapeutic role, assessing their client’s concerns and life circumstances, and offering support, advice, and treatment to address their client’s issues. A psychologist with an area of practice endorsement usually has additional university qualifications and supervised training in that specific area. More than 60% of Australia's psychologists are psychologists with general registration. Generalist psychologists work in several settings and is often called upon to conduct psychological assessments and write reports for individuals, education, and forensic settings. 

There are many similarities between the professions, such as they both:
·       Prevent mental illness
·       Promote mental health & wellbeing
·       Help clients understand their thoughts and feelings
·       Support people with life's challenges
·       Empower clients to improve their quality of life

Is Counsellors Care only for ACA members?

This campaign is advocating on behalf of all registered counsellors and psychotherapists in Australia, regardless of which association membership they hold.

I am a student; can I still get involved?

Absolutely! As a student it’s important to have a voice in Counsellors Care to ensure the future of the profession advances. This 2022 election is the perfect opportunity to be vocal about the changes you would like to see actioned before you begin your career.