Master of Professional Counselling program awarded ACA and PACFA accreditations

The Master of Professional Counselling program (MoPC) at Monash University Malaysia is the nation’s first counselling program to receive full accreditation from the ACA and PACFA.

The Master of Professional Counselling program (MoPC) at Monash University Malaysia has become the nation’s first counselling program to receive full accreditation from the ACA (Australian Counselling Association) and the PACFA (Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia).

These accreditations will give Monash graduates an edge in applying for counselling jobs both locally and abroad, vouching for the quality and standards of Monash’s counselling program.

“Graduates are eligible to register (as members) with the ACA and PACFA, opening up opportunities for them to practice in Australia,” says Associate Prof Shamsul Haque, Head of Department of Psychology at the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Current MoPC students can also join the ACA and PACFA as student members while pursuing their course of study.

“Membership with the ACA and PACFA will provide connectivity to the Australian counselling industry as well as access to a vast resource base – journals, workshops, training programs, online databases, etc.,” says Prof Shamsul.

These resources will support Monash graduates in being lifelong learners. Throughout their careers, they must continue to hone their professional skills and knowledge in order to excel in the practice of counselling and psychotherapy.

“The ACA is Australia’s largest regulatory body for counsellors and psychotherapists. It fulfills a critical role within the counselling industry in Australia. The organisation maintains a register for counsellors to ensure that people have access to properly trained practitioners who are responsible and meet standards of ethical practice. Only counsellors who have completed an ACA-accredited course and meet ongoing training requirements can be listed on the ACA register,” explains Prof Shamsul.

He also continues to elaborate, “PACFA is the national organisation for counsellors and psychotherapists, and for professional associations in the counseling and psychotherapy field in Australia. PACFA promotes professional identity for practitioners, supports research and training, and ensures practitioners’ accountability to clients and the public.”

Monash’s MoPC program has met all the criteria to be fully accredited by the ACA and PACFA. The factors include student-staff ratio, quality of academic and professional staff, teaching resources such as classroom, lab and library facilities, coursework structure and policies, practicum and internship policies, student complaints and grievances policies, as well as admission and English language standards.

Currently, the Department of Psychology is submitting an application for MoPC to be accredited by the Malaysian Board of Counsellors (Lembaga Kaunselor Malaysia).

MoPC is taught by academics with extensive experience as professional counsellors or psychologists. Students will train in government agencies or private institutions for over 504 hours of clinical placement, which includes a minimum of 192 hours of face-to-face client contact.

Units cover a diverse range of specialised areas, such as child and adolescent counselling, cognitive behavior therapy, psychological assessment, mental health issues (grief, trauma, and substance abuse), multicultural counselling, personnel and career development counselling, group counselling, and couples counselling. As the program also contains a significant research component, opportunities are open for the graduates to further their studies at the PhD level.

For more information on the Master of Professional Counselling, please visit www.monash.edu.my/study/postgraduate-and-research/medicine-health-sciences/master-of-professional-counselling or email malaysia.psychadmin@monash.edu.