Higher Education Frequently Asked Questions What is the difference between being a Psychotherapist or Counsellor instead of being registered as a Psychologist in Australia? In Australia, Psychology is a restricted title and registered profession protected by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). The sections above deal with studying an approved pathway in psychology so you can become registered with AHPRA as a psychologist at the end of your studies (and internship is applicable). Psychotherapist and Counsellor are not legally regulated titles in Australia. However, they are professionally regulated by their accrediting associations, the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) and the Australian Counselling Association (ACA). These associations have particular Training Standards to ensure the quality of counselling and psychotherapy education and practice. In order to obtain professional insurance and maintain required standards of their professional practice, practitioners should join PACFA or ACA. Students wishing to become psychotherapists and/or counselling professionals are encouraged to consider the Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy, which is a qualification approved for membership to either (or both) the ACA and PACFA. The program at Cairnmillar does offer two lower level exit points, a Graduate Certificate of Counselling and Psychotherapy and a Graduate Diploma of Counselling and Psychotherapy however these qualifications are generally considered foundational only and are more suitable exit points for graduates with existing careers where counselling and psychotherapy skills may be useful or even required but may not be sufficient for those planning to practise primarily as a psychotherapist. The lower qualifications alone are not normally sufficient for those wishing to practice primarily as psychotherapists or counsellors, although the Graduate Diploma level may make some graduates eligible for membership of the ACA or of PACFA under an RPL membership pathway in some circumstances, normally only if studied part-time. The Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy is a two year full-time program, or can be studied over four years part-time. Entry to the program is open to anyone with an undergraduate degree. Counselling or Psychotherapy may be a more suitable change of career for those who cannot commit to a full APAC accredited sequence as well as those for whom psychotherapy is a more appropriate methodological fit.