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Master of Counselling & Psychotherapy

Fully accredited by both the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) and the Australian Counselling Association (ACA), the Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy is taught by respected therapist academics working in the field.

The course structure integrates the Graduate Certificate and the Graduate Diploma. It is the only course of its kind to offer students a comprehensive counselling placement with organised weekly clinical supervision, under the guidance of placement coordinators. This includes sourcing placement opportunities through established industry partnerships and providing intensive in-house individual and group supervision in order to meet the PACFA and ACA requirements of membership and to fully prepare students for the workplace.

The aim of the Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy is to provide high level training in the counselling and psychotherapeutic skills required to work effectively with a wide variety of clients. The program provides a deeper immersion into the theory and the techniques of an integrative process-oriented, relational psychotherapy that incorporates concepts from the psychodynamic, cognitive, existential, and humanistic psychotherapies in a relevant and practical treatment methods.  The course provides a solid grounding in the professional, ethical, and legal issues associated with counselling and psychotherapeutic practice.

The program offers students a strongly experiential immersion in the theory and practice of counselling and psychotherapy, in order to provide a concentrated, practice-oriented training and learning experience. Students in the Masters program also produce a research project under supportive supervision, in order to give them a unique opportunity to contribute to learning in the field. The Graduate Certificate and Diploma also provide exit points for those students who want a strong foundation in counselling and psychotherapy to integrate into their work without immediately progressing to Masters level.


Location: Hawthorn East Intake: Semester 1 each year
Delivery:  Full Time and Part Time Fees:  Fee information can be found here
Duration: 2 Years Full Time or 4 Years Part Time FEE-HELP: Yes
CRICOS Course Code: 092969C
Course Duration and Structure

This two year full time, or four year part time program, consists of 200 credit points. Students undertake a total of 16 units of study consisting of twelve coursework units (150 credit points or 75%), two placement units (25 credit points or 12.5%) and two research units (25 credit points or 12.5%).

The Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy is an integrated, progressive program of study comprised of the Graduate Certificate of Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Graduate Diploma of Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Year One
CPc1 Psychotherapeutic Theories and Models
CPc2 Person-Centred Counselling
CPc4 Facilitating Therapeutic Change
CPc5 Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
DPc7 Assessment Process in Counselling and Psychotherapy
DPc2 Ethics and Professional Development
DPc3 Counselling Placement 1
DPc4 Treatment Planning


Year Two
MPc4 Counselling Placement 2
MPc5 Interpersonal Processes in Psychotherapy
MPc6 Existential Psychotherapy and the Group Process
MPc7 Key Competencies in Brief Dynamic Psychotherapy
MPc1 Research Project
MPc9 Relationship and Marital Therapy
MPc10 Trauma Therapy – Loss and Grief
MPc11 Exploring Process Experiential Emotion Focused Therapy
Admission Criteria

An Australian AQF 7 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a cognisant discipline (teaching, social work, social sciences, psychology, counselling or similar) with at least a 70% average AND relevant professional experience. Depending on professional experience, prospective students may be required to undertake The Cairnmillar Institute’s Introduction to Counselling Skills and Advanced Counselling Skills short courses prior to commencement. Progression from the Graduate Certificate to the Graduate Diploma to Masters level course requires the maintenance of at least a 70% average.

For entry into the course, students are required to submit an application through the Apply Now page, with certified or original scanned copies of the following supporting documentation:

  • Most recent academic transcripts
  • A current curriculum vitae
  • A 500 word personal statement outlining what factors have contributed to the application
  • Proof of residency/citizenship (e.g. passport, birth certificate, or citizenship certificate)
  • Two references, preferably with at least one academic, using the online HODSPA reference system. A guide on how to use the system is available here.

Successful applications will be invited to attend an interview with members of the School Teaching Faculty, providing students the opportunity to discuss any questions they have about the proposed course of study.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Students may only be given credit for any coursework if it is from a successfully completed approved course.

Credit for placement experience completed as part of current employment can be given, if it is work ordinarily carried out by a psychologist, counsellor or psychotherapist and if supervision is arranged.

Students cannot be given credit for any research experience prior to undertaking the course.

Graduate Learning Outcomes

Students who satisfactorily complete the course will have achieved advanced knowledge and skills in the following areas of study:

  • A high level of verbal and professional communication skills.
  • The ability to facilitate therapeutic process according to the established client focused goals
  • The ability to understand and practice within the PACFA Code of Ethics and Professional Guidelines
  • Conducting risks assessment and apply crisis intervention skills and management
  • The ability to establish a treatment focus and develop a treatment plan
  • Understanding of relational dynamics and capacity for effective human relatedness that facilitates change
  • An awareness of the impact of the self on others and development of relational intelligence, sensitivity, resilience and respect
  • Critical review of the relevant research and data analysis skills
  • The capacity to be self-reflective and learn from experience
  • Applying alternative modes of working with clients, including the use of telephone and real-time internet platforms with incorporating potential security and confidentiality issues
  • Awareness and understanding of the range of human diversity and social, cultural, economic and psychological contextual influences
  • Understanding the impact of gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, age, ability, class, religion, race and ethnicity on therapy
  • Respect and acknowledgement of indigenous history and culture.
  • Understand the impact of gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, age, ability, class, religion, race and ethnicity on therapy.
  • Respect and acknowledgement of indigenous history and culture.
Career Opportunities

Graduates may find employment in a variety of settings including community health and community services organisations, the health professions, rehabilitation providers, human resource management, child protection, family support counselling services, allied clinics and services, and private practice.


Professional Recognition

The course is accredited by the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) and by the Australian Counselling Association (ACA). Graduates of the program will be eligible to be listed on the PACFA register as Intern, Provisional or Clinical member depending on their professional experience.