Graduate Diploma of Counselling and Psychotherapy

Key Facts

Course Code: CP082
Location: Hawthorn East
Study Load: Full-time (1 year)
Part-time (2 years)
Delivery Mode: In-Person
Intake: Semester 1 each year
Application Type: Domestic and International
Fees: $25,284* Domestic
$30,492* International
CRICOS code: 092968D
Post-nominal: GDCAP

Course Overview

The Graduate Diploma of Counselling and Psychotherapy provides students with training in key therapeutic modalities and interventions. With its strong vocational emphasis, it helps students learn how to integrate theoretical constructs, increase their insight and problem-solving capabilities, apply advanced therapeutic techniques and practice skills.

The course provides students with theoretical knowledge of contemporary psychotherapies, including humanistic approaches and the cognitive behavioural therapies, taught by practitioners who are specialists in the field.

The course includes knowledge and practice of thorough assessment process and brief interventions, case conceptualisation and treatment planning, and a development of professional ethical stance with understanding of the current ethical and legal regulations in the field of counselling and psychotherapy.

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.

What more does this course offer you?

  • Robust placement program with excellent links to quality industry partner organisations. We’ll find a placement for you!
  • Professional and experiential learning from a cohesive team of respected therapists and academics in the fields of counselling and psychotherapy.
  • Group and individual practicum supervision by experienced practitioner-supervisors.
  • Risk assessment and crisis intervention skills training.
  • Conditional progression into the Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy program (second year).

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

This program consists of 100 credit points and integrates four units (50 credit points) from the Graduate Certificate of Counselling and Psychotherapy in the first semester.

Students undertake a total of eight units during the course, consisting of seven coursework units (87.5 credit points) and one placement unit (12.5 credit points).

Full-time (1 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
1 CAP412 Ethics and Professional Development 12.5
1 CAP417 Assessment Process in Counselling and Psychotherapy 12.5
2 CAP404 Facilitating Therapeutic Change 12.5
2 CAP405 Cognitive Behavioural Therapies 12.5
2 CAP461 Counselling Placement 1 12.5
2 CAP414 Treatment Planning 12.5


Part-time (2 year) course structure:

Year Semester Unit Code Unit Name Credit Points
1 1 CAP401 Psychotherapeutic Theories and Models 12.5
1 1 CAP402 Person-Centred Counselling 12.5
1 2 CAP404 Facilitating Therapeutic Change 12.5
1 2 CAP405 Cognitive Behavioural Therapies 12.5
2 1 CAP412 Ethics and Professional Development 12.5
2 1 CAP417 Assessment Process in Counselling and Psychotherapy 12.5
2 2 CAP461 Counselling Placement 1 12.5
2 2 CAP414 Treatment Planning 12.5


Entry Requirements

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

  • A Bachelors degree (AQF level 7) in a related discipline (e.g., teaching, social work, psychology or counselling) with a minimum weighted average mark of 60.
  • A Bachelors degree in any discipline, with a minimum weighted average mark of 60 AND relevant work experience.
    • Please note, in order to establish a 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.
  • A Diploma (AQF level 5) or Advanced Diploma (AQF level 6) AND at least one year of work experience in a relevant field.

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.

See our How to Apply page for detailed instructions on applying through our online Application Portal.

International students should also visit the International Students page, for further instructions and resources regarding applying for Cairnmillar’s programs.

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.

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 Diploma of Counselling and Psychotherapy should have the professional capabilities to:

  • Critically review and effectively utilise the knowledge of the major schools of counselling and psychotherapy and relevant research in counselling assessment and treatment planning while working with a range of presenting problems across the life span.
  • Develop therapeutic alliance, select, and apply effective counselling processes and interventions to facilitate change and achieve clients’ goals.
  • Apply the principles of trauma-informed and recovery-oriented practice in working with people with mental health problems.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and application of the PACFA Code of Ethics, professional conduct guidelines and the relevant legal State and Commonwealth Acts in identifying and resolving ethical dilemmas.
  • Demonstrate self-awareness, reflectiveness and relating to others by respecting all aspects of diversity and current life context.

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

Graduates 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 second year of the Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy.


The Graduate Diploma of Counselling and Psychotherapy is accredited by the Australian Counselling Association (ACA).

The program sits within level 8 of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

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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