Graduate Certificate of Counselling and Psychotherapy

Key Facts

Course Code: CP081
Location: Hawthorn East
Study Load: Part-time (1 year)
Delivery Mode: In-Person
Intake: Semester 1 each year
Application Type: Domestic only
Fees: $12,642*
CRICOS code: N/A
Post-nominal: GCCAP

Course Overview

The Graduate Certificate of Counselling and Psychotherapy introduces students to the foundational concepts, attitudes and skills of counselling and psychotherapy practice.

The course provides an overview of different counselling theories and training in specific counselling and psychotherapeutic modalities, providing a fundamental understanding of skills required when working in helping professions.

The training has a strong emphasis on experiential and practical skill development through demonstrations and regular small group practice, observations, and reflections. It enhances knowledge through lectures, guided readings, critical thinking, discussions of case material and their applications.

When completing this course, students will be able to add specific counselling related knowledge and skills to their present work-related skills and to enhance self-understanding. Cairnmillar’s Counselling and Psychotherapy programs are taught exclusively by respected therapist-academics practicing in the field, who work as a team to support each student’s learning.

This program forms part of a nested sequence and leads to progression into the Graduate Diploma of Counselling and Psychotherapy and subsequently the Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy for those looking to further their expertise.

2023 Course Information Session

Please note: Cairnmillar’s courses are subject to minimum and maximum group numbers. Courses may be cancelled or postponed if minimum numbers are not achieved by the start date of the course. Courses may close prior to the start date if the maximum numbers are reached. In that situation, eligible applicants will be offered a place in the next available intake.

Application Period

Applications for February 2024 are now closed!

Course Structure

The Graduate Certificate of Counselling & Psychotherapy consists of four units (50 credit points), all of which are coursework units.

Part-time (one-year) course structure:

Semester Unit Code Unit Name Credit Points
1 CAP401 Psychotherapeutic Theories and Models 12.5
1 CAP402 Person-Centred Counselling 12.5
2 CAP404 Facilitating Therapeutic Change 12.5
2 CAP405 Cognitive Behavioural Therapies 12.5


Entry Requirements

Admission to the Graduate Certificate of Counselling and Psychotherapy requires one of the following:

  • A Bachelors degree in any discipline, with a minimum weighted average mark of 60 AND relevant work experience,
  • A Diploma (AQF level 5) or Advanced Diploma (AQF level 6) AND at least one year of work experience in a relevant field (e.g., teaching, social work, psychology or counselling).

Documentation required in the application:

  • Most recent academic transcript(s).
  • A current Curriculum Vitae (resume).
  • Proof of residency/citizenship in the form of a passport, birth certificate, or citizenship certificate.
  • Two references, preferably at least one academic, using the HODSPA reference system.

Short-listed applicants will be invited to attend an admissions interview with members of Cairnmillar’s academic faculty. This provides applicants an opportunity to discuss any questions they may have about the course. Further information on interviews can be found on our FAQ page here.

Please see our How to Apply page for detailed instructions on applying through Cairnmillar’s online Application Portal.

Please note, in order to establish baseline competency and counselling skill level, applicants undertaking this pathway may be asked to complete Cairnmillar’s Foundational and Intermediate counselling skills short courses. The need to undertake one or both short courses will be discussed in an Admissions Interview, should your application be progressed.

This course is not available to international students. To view which of Cairnmillar’s courses are, please visit our Find a Course page.

Inherent Requirements

Inherent requirements are those skills, values and behaviours which must be demonstrated by students in order that they successfully complete the program of study. As a guide for prospective and current students, a series of inherent requirement statements have been developed that relate to student admission and progression through the course.  These requirements are mandatory; however, there may be some flexibility in how they can be demonstrated. Click here to view the Inherent Requirements.

Graduate Learning Outcomes

Students who satisfactorily complete the Graduate Certificate of Counselling and Psychotherapy should be able to:

  • Critically evaluate and compare the theories and models of the different schools of therapy and apply them to provided case study material.
  • Effectively utilise the key theoretical concepts, apply therapeutic attitudes, and counselling skills to facilitate change.
  • Critically evaluate the application of the core clinical processes.
  • Demonstrate self-awareness, reflectiveness and the ability to relate to others with respect for all aspects of diversity and their lived experience.

Fees & Scholarships

*Total fees are estimates only based on the current fee schedule. Annual tuition fee review and possible increases applies, see: Fees & Scholarships.

For information on tuition fees and what scholarships might apply to this course, please visit the Fees & Scholarships page.

Career Opportunities & Study Pathways

Although graduates from this course will not be able to work independently in the field of counselling, they will learn additional communication and relational skills that may enhance their current work-skills.

With that, they may find employment in a variety of settings, including:

  • Private practice
  • Pastoral care
  • Allied health
  • Community mental health
  • Social work
  • Mediation
  • Careers counselling
  • Health policy
  • Case manager
  • Rehab support services
  • Mental health support services
  • DV support
  • Child protection
  • Family services

Graduates of this program may be eligible to progress directly into the Graduate Diploma of Counselling and Psychotherapy.


The Graduate Certificate of Counselling and Psychotherapy sits within level 8 of Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

Further study (at least to the Graduate Diploma Level) is required to meet the professional training standards of the Australian Counselling Association (ACA).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Students applying for this program may enter a process in which they may be granted credit or partial credit towards the qualification in recognition of previous experience where an equivalence of earlier learning can be established.

Students may only be given credit for any coursework if it is from a successfully completed approved course at the appropriate Australian AQF postgraduate level.

Cairnmillar’s RPL policy can be viewed here. Further information on RPL can be found here.

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