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Bachelor of Psychological Science and Counselling

Student placements are periods of unpaid work experience in supervised organisations that provide counselling or related services. Students have the opportunity to apply 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.

Students may also be approved to carry out their student placement within their current employment or volunteering agency*.

All Bachelor of Psychological Science and Counselling students are required to complete  one counselling placement one to two days per week for two consecutive terms. Placement is to be completed whilst enrolled in the units Student Placement and Supervision 1 in the first term of placement, and Student Placement and Supervision 2 in the second term of placement. Students must complete a minimum of 200 hours placement including a minimum 40 hours of one to one counselling and / or counselling group therapy*. 

Counselling is defined by PACFA as ‘An explicitly contracted counselling relationship with a focus for change’. Counselling would usually take place over three 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 one day per week from 9am to 5pm throughout the two terms of 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

The Agency Supervisor directs the student’s activity and provides daily supervision. They must:

  1. Be a practicing counsellor, social worker, psychologist or psychotherapist.
  2. Be in a supervisory role in the organisation.
  3. Have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in counselling, psychotherapy or a related profession with equivalent qualifications, including appropriate professional registration (or be eligible to apply for professional registration as approved by ACAP).
  4. Have a minimum of five years relevant experience in a profession as listed above, or a minimum of three years in the profession, plus two years in the helping profession, such as youth work, medicine, nursing, education, life coaching, ministry, child safety officer, mental health case worker, or a registered carer.
  5. Not have any other relationship with the student (e.g. family, therapist, current educator etc.).

Note: ACAP provides clinical supervision for counselling students on placement, however the Agency Supervisor must provide adequate daily support, and regular supervision for the student.

Clinical Supervision on Placement

Students undertaking placement must be concurrently enrolled in the units Student Placement and Supervision 1 in the first term of placement, and Student Placement and Supervision 2 in the second term of placement. 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 e.g. Anxiety, depression, anger management etc.
  • Co-counselling
  • Relationship counselling
  • Family counselling
  • Person Centred counselling
  • Solution focused counselling
  • Crisis counselling*
  • 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 and some administration work. However students should be primarily focused on counselling or counselling related work throughout their placement.

*Conditions apply, please contact Placement Staff for further details.