Student Placement Information

Graduate Diploma of Counselling 

Student placements are periods of unpaid work experience in supervised organisations that provide counselling or related services. Students have the opportunity to put the theory they study in class into practice in the workplace. Student placements are also an excellent opportunity for students to develop a network of contacts and explore career options and professional pathways.

All Graduate Diploma of Counselling students are required to complete 1 clinical placement totalling 200 hours across 2 consecutive terms. Students will enrol into the units Field Placement and Supervision 1 & 2 concurrent with placement. Placement must be completed in the field of Counselling. Students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of one to one counselling and / or counselling group therapy during the placement. Up to 10 hours of the required 40 hours can be undertaken with under 18’s or as telephone counselling*.

Counselling is defined by PACFA as ‘An explicitly contracted counselling relationship with a focus for change’. Counselling would usually take place over 3 or more face-to-face sessions to allow time for the counselling relationship to develop. Group work therapy also meets the requirements for counselling hours. Case management, counselling research, support groups, informal work utilising counselling skills with individuals, children or families would not be considered ‘counselling’ for placement purposes.

Students are expected to attend a placement agency for a minimum of 1 day per week from 9am to 5pm throughout the 2 terms of the placement. The agency supervisor remains responsible for all clients seen by the student throughout the placement. Students must be supervised at all times (though your supervisor may not necessarily be in the room with you). Case notes must be kept and reviewed by the agency supervisor. Visits to external sites must be accompanied by an agency staff member. Mandatory reporting issues or other serious issues that arise during a counselling session must be brought to the attention of the agency supervisor immediately.

Placement Agency Supervisor

Your placement agency supervisor is the person with whom you work closely and who directs your activity and supervises you on a daily basis. Your agency supervisor must:

  • be in a managerial or supervisory role  in the organisation
  • Have at least 3 years relevant experience in the industry
  • Not have any other relationship with you (eg. family etc.)

Clinical Supervision on Placement

Students undertaking placement must be concurrently enrolled in the units Field Placement and Supervision 1 & 2. Group Clinical supervision is undertaken during these classes. Further details are available by viewing the unit descriptions.


Appropriate / possible duties for counselling placement may include:

  • Group therapy eg Anxiety, depression, anger management etc
  • Co-counselling
  • Relationship counselling
  • Family counselling
  • Person Centred counselling
  • Solution focused counselling
  • Counselling work with children (up to 10 hours)
  • Crisis counselling eg. Life Line or other telephone counselling (up to 10 hours)
  • Counselling services within a community or welfare agency (youth counsellor, aged care, disabled care, alcohol and other drugs counselling etc)
  • Health care work or counselling in the allied health professions such as family support services, child, adolescent and family counselling
  • Bereavement counselling and palliative care
  • Observing, co facilitating or facilitating appropriate skilled assessment, information, referral and assistance to clients
  • Liaising with co-workers and other service providers
  • Casework, case notes liaising with other services
  • Maintaining records and collecting client information
  • Participating in the development, analysis, evaluation and planning of services
  • Participating in the organisation as appropriate including the implementation of projects, programs and promotional activities
  • Conducting individual or family interviews to identify clients' circumstances and requirements
  • Assisting in the provision of services, or referring clients to other community organisations which may be better able to provide more appropriate services
  • Facilitating support groups

Students are expected to participate in all the activities of the organisation that a counsellor employed at the agency would participate in e.g. fill in on reception at lunch breaks, answer the phones if receptionist is busy, some administration work. However students should be primarily focussed on counselling or counselling related work throughout their placement.

*Rare exceptions to this limit may be approved by the Manager Student Placement on application.