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Do I need to be registered as a counsellor?

The benefits of registration for your counselling career

Yes you do… and no you don’t!

What do we mean by this somewhat unclear answer? Well, the fact is that anyone can set themselves up as a counsellor in Australia. That’s why people who want to see a counsellor need to be very careful to choose one who is trained, skilled and experienced. And that’s where registration comes in.

Registration is a pretty rigorous process, and the registering organisation requires proof that you have the required training and skills. The ACA (Australian Counselling Association) and PACFA (Psychotherapy and Counselling Association of Australia) are the main registering bodies. They require their members to successfully complete a rigorous and accredited course of study. That way, the public can be sure the counsellor they meet knows what they are doing. (Imagine going to a dentist who couldn’t prove they had studied dentistry!) 

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Registration is a vital and sometimes costly exercise, but without it you will have no credible backing and support as a counsellor. People looking for a counsellor will have no way of knowing if they can trust you. 

Registration will also ensure that as a counsellor  you are constantly able to update and expand your skills. Registering bodies will also, in some cases, help you to secure counselling clients.