APS College of Counselling Psychologists

About Us

Counselling Psychologists

Counselling Psychologists use their knowledge and understanding of psychology, psychotherapy, and mental health to treat a wide range of psychological issues, problems, and mental health disorders. They provide assessment, diagnosis and psychotherapy for individuals, couples, families, and groups. They use evidence-based therapies and evidence-based therapy relationships to assist clients to resolve mental health disorders or psychological problems and move toward greater psychological health. They research, evaluate, and develop new methods for improving psychological health and therapeutic interventions for psychological problems and disorders. Counselling psychologists have a distinct philosophical stance, recognising the strengths and resources of people at all levels of psychological functioning, working collaboratively with people in a therapeutic relationship to bring about meaningful change.

Consumers of the services of Counselling Psychologists are persons, groups, and organisations, including:

  • Members of the public, couples, families, and carers
  • Medical specialists, and health practitioners
  • Health departments, hospitals, and community practices
  • Community groups
  • National, state or local government or non-government organisations
  • Welfare agencies, educational institutions, justice services, victims of crime, and community services

Specific services of counselling psychologists include assessment and provision of psychological therapy for a wide range of issues and disorders including (but not limited to) anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, grief and loss, relationship difficulties, domestic violence, sexual abuse and trauma, career development, substance-use disorders, eating disorders, and personality disorders.

For community information about the type of work that counselling psychologists do, please visit the Psychologist Specialist Area on Counselling Psychology.

Competencies for Counselling Psychologists

Over the past few years, the National Executive for the College of Counselling Psychologists has continued to ensure an accurate representation of the skills, training, and competencies of Counselling Psychologists. As a result, the APAC Accreditation Standards have been reviewed and published a report effective 1 January 2019 to better reflect the competencies of Counselling Psychologists. Please find these competencies below:

“Taking into account the broad diversity of clients and development across the lifespan, and consistent with current relevant legal frameworks, mental health practice standards, occupational settings and codes of ethical practice, graduates apply advanced psychological knowledge to competently and ethically: 

4.4.1 Apply advanced psychological knowledge of the following to their practice in counselling psychology: 

i. diverse theoretical and philosophical bases which underpin practice, including the scientist-practitioner model and the central position of the working alliance 

ii. advanced knowledge of the assessment, formulation, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of psychological problems and mental health disorders 

 iii. the importance of evidence-based research as applied to psychotherapy process and outcome 

iv. knowledge of psychopathology and psychopharmacology 

v. knowledge of evidence-based therapies for individuals, couples, families and groups.

4.4.2 Apply advanced psychological knowledge to culturally responsive assessment in the area of counselling psychology, including: 

i. evaluation and diagnosis of psychological factors related to functioning, psychological problems and mental health disorders with reference to relevant international taxonomies including Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and International Classification of Diseases 

ii. assessment of a wide range of psychological problems and mental health disorders using empirically valid and reliable tools and processes including psychometric tests, behavioural observations and structured and unstructured interviews 

iii. integration of assessment data to guide formulation, diagnosis, and treatment planning and to evaluate client progress.  

4.4.3 Apply advanced psychological knowledge to culturally responsive interventions in the area of counselling psychology, including: 

i. design, implementation, monitoring and ongoing assessment of evidence-based interventions for individuals, couples, families and groups 

ii. formulation and intervention planning specific to case and context, inclusive of high prevalence, chronic, complex and severe mental health disorders 

iii. development of tailored psychotherapies integrating multiple dimensions of case formulation beyond diagnostic variables, such as socio-cultural factors, personal context, client treatment preferences and a recognition of strengths and resources at all levels of functioning 

iv. establishment and monitoring evidence-based therapy relationships including maintaining the therapeutic alliance.” 

Click for the full report of 'Accreditation Standards for Psychology Programs' Effective 1st January 2019. 

Membership with the APS College of Counselling Psychologists

Membership of the APS College of Counselling Psychologists is open to psychologists who have completed specialised training and two years of supervision after graduation. To remain a member of the College, practitioners are required to undertake a program of continuing professional development, with a particular focus on Counselling Psychology. If you would like more information on how to join please view our How to Join page. 

College Structure

The College has a National Executive Committee, and a number of States have a State Committee.

The National Committee is responsible for development and implementation of national policies regarding the College, liaison with the APS National Office and input into the APS National Conference. The National Committee may seek assistance from individuals or committees from the State Branches from time to time on an as required basis.

State Committees are responsible for the implementation of College policies and undertaking College activities at the local level. Main activities of the College involve promotion of the work of Counselling Psychologists and the provision of professional development, education and training opportunities to college members.

For more information or to contact members of the National Executive see the Committee Information section, and for the State Commitees members see the State Sections.

Our Membership

Following is the breakdown of College membership, updated June 2019:

By State and Territory:

State and Territory # Members
Australian Capital Territory 12
New South Wales 268 
Northern Territory
Queensland 138
South Australia 23 
Victoria 517
Western Australia 101
Total 1075