The Australian Counselling Association (ACA) is a National progressive professional peak association of counsellors and psychotherapists with over 7,000 individual members

Publications & Resources


Date: 17 June 2020

Call for research participants: The uses of drawing in professional practices- online survey

Researchers from Flinders University are conducting an online survey to investigate how drawing is used as a tool in various professional practices.

The study is currently seeking counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, art therapists, psychiatrists and counsellors to complete an anonymous online survey. The purpose of the survey is to learn why, how and when drawing is used as a tool in various professional practices.

Participation involves completing an online survey with both structured and opened-ended questions. No identifying information will be collected, and data will be anonymous and confidential. Participants are free to withdraw or decline to answer questions at any time.

Recruitment commenced on 29 May 2020 and will be open for 3 months (until 28 September 2020).

If you are interested in taking part in this survey, you can access it directly via the following link

This research has received Human Ethics approval (Project No. HEL 1945) by the Flinders University Human Research Ethics Low Risk Panel.

If you have any further enquiries, please contact Ms Georgina Maddox, chief investigator: or Assoc. Professor Glen Bodner c/o investigator:

Date: 05 June 2020

The Experiences of Therapists Working within Session-Limited Models

We invite you to participate in a research study looking at the experiences of therapists who currently work or have worked within a session-limited counselling model. This study is being completed as part of a Master’s Degree in Counselling at Murdoch University in Western Australia.

In attempting to address the problem of increasing mental health issues, session limits on counselling have been imposed by governments, agencies and insurance companies. There has been some research on the impact of session-limited therapy on the therapeutic process and client outcomes, however, no studies to date have focussed on the experiences of therapists working within such a model.

The aim of this study is to give voice to the subjective experiences of therapists providing session-limited therapy, for the purpose of gathering rich, meaningful data to inform future planning and research.

If you are a psychologist, counsellor or social worker, and have membership of a professional body, we would love to hear from you. You must have worked or currently work with clients in a session-limited model. If you decide to participate in this study, you will be asked to volunteer for an interview, which will take 60 minutes of your time. The interview will be conducted online, using Skype, Zoom, Microsoft teams or a similar application.

For more information please see the Information Sheet and Consent Form

If you would like to participate or if you have any questions, please contact the researchers Sallyann Richards (email: or Charmonique Leber (email:

Your help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

This study has been approved by Murdoch University’s Human Research Ethics Committee. If required, verification of approval can be obtained from Dr Hugo Gonzales on 08 9360 6442.

Date: 28 May 2020

What has it been like using telehealth with your clients during COVID-19?

I am a senior research fellow and psychologist working at the ANU. I'm interested in how mental health professionals in Australia have been managing their work during COVID-19, and in particular, their use of telehealth.

I would be interested in hearing about your experiences in a brief 15 minute online survey.

The survey asks about your role as a mental health professional, your experiences with and attitudes towards telehealth use, your information/resource needs, and how you think telehealth works within your role.

It is my hope that this practice-based evidence can be used to help professionals manage transitions like those that have occurred during COVID-19 if they happen again in the future.

Participate in the survey here:

Your time and contribution to this research is greatly appreciated.

Dr Lou Farrer
Senior Research Fellow
Centre for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University

Date: 25 May 2020

Working with same-sex attracted clients for psychology research

  • Do you have thoughts on how you would provide culturally competent service to same-sex attracted clients?
  • Do you find it easy or challenging to provide culturally competent care to same-sex attracted clients?
  • We would love you hear from you!
  • We are currently conducting 45 minute interviews of service providers from Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.
  • If you are interested in participating then please email me:

The aim of this research project is to better understand the experiences of those providing mental health support to same-sex attracted consumers. Specifically, it seeks to understand from the perspective of service providers how effectively counsellors and psychologists implement cultural competence (defined as knowledge, attitudes and skills) in their clinical practice when working with same-sex attracted consumers.

This project seeks to benefit service providers by understanding what can be done by service providers to more effectively work with same-sex attracted consumers. It seeks to understand ways counsellors and psychologists can be better prepared and better implement cultural competence in their clinical practice and therefore provide better service to same-sex attracted consumers.

Increased cultural competence has been shown to lead to better therapeutic alliance between service provider and consumer, greater consumer comfort in disclosing information and greater levels of consumer satisfaction. This project will direct future research which seeks to find ways of increasing counsellor's and psychologist's level of cultural competence in working with same-sex attracted consumers.

This study will comprise of a 45-minute interview where counsellors and psychologists are asked questions about their experiences providing service to same-sex attracted consumers. Specifically, participants will be asked questions on how they implement cultural competence in a clinical setting when working with same-sex attracted consumers.

Interviews may be conducted in several ways: via telephone or via telecommunication application (such as Skype or Zoom). If you are interested in this study, please email Joshua Bishop at

PDF Download: Working with Same-Sex Attracted Consumers - Study Flyer

Warmest Regards,

Joshua Bishop
PhD Candidate at University of Canberra Faculty of Health, University of Canberra

This project was approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) at the University of Canberra. Ethics Approval No.: 20202056

Date: 16 March 2020

Invitation to Participate - Identifying Cumulative Harm in Preservice Helping Professionals: A Measure of Impact

The impact of repeated and chronic adverse childhood events, known as cumulative harm, often results in lifelong consequences including complex trauma. Trauma that is experienced early in life, has the potential for life-long negative outcomes across the major domains of personal and social functioning. The significant effects of cumulative harm may influence all aspects of an individual’s life course, including relationships, parenting strategies and career decisions. Research identifies many factors motivating individual’s decision to enter the helping professions, with an emphasis placed in the desire to make a difference and to use traits they perceive as well aligned with the profession. When considering these career motivators in the context of childhood adversity experienced by helping professionals, research also cautions as to the potential risks of burnout, retraumatisation and vicarious secondary trauma. Research has highlighted a connection between trauma and career choice, however there is a lack of research which pertains specifically to cumulative harm, experienced by helping professionals, in the Australian context.

Helping Professions, in the context of this proposed research study, are defined as those professions which respond to the welfare of individuals and address challenges in a person’s physical, psychological, intellectual, and emotional wellbeing. These professions include, but are not limited to, psychology, nursing, counselling, social work, human services, and education.

This research will be undertaken as part of a PhD and aims to: a) examine the lived experience of cumulative harm from the perspective of those who have experienced it first hand; b) investigate the influence of cumulative harm on career choice; and c) develop a scale for the identification and assessment of cumulative harm and its impact.

The research team requests your assistance because of your lived experience of cumulative childhood adversity and harm and your decision to enter a helping professions. We would like to collect your thoughts via an interview in order to better understand the experience of cumulative harm and career decision making.

Your participation will involve participation in an interview that will take approximately 60 Minutes of your time. The interview will take place at a time and venue that is convenient to you, or can be undertaken by teleconference at a date and time that is convenient for you.

If you would like to participate in this research please take a moment to read the participant information sheet and contact the Principal Investigator, India Bryce, via email at to express your interest in participating.


India Bryce
BED, MGuidCouns, MSW(Forensic)
Lecturer – Human Development, Wellbeing and Counselling
Academic Team Leader – Guidance & Counselling, Career Developmnent & Adult and Vocational Education

School of Education
Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts | University of Southern Queensland
Toowoomba | Queensland | 4350 | Australia
Ph: +61 7 4631 1192| Email:

Date: 25 February 2020

Participation in a Masters Research Thesis: Janine Stirling

  • Are you a professional who works with women who have been sexually assaulted?
  • Do you work with the body? Either as a physiotherapist or as a somatic psychotherapist?
  • Did the client you’ve treated experience an immobility response during the sexual assault?

If you answered YES to these questions… would you like to participate in a research project? It will involve a once off face to face interview with the researcher. Alternatively, the interview can be conducted via zoom.

Aim of the Research

The aim of the research is to explore somatic or body-based interventions therapists use when treating women who have been sexually assaulted and experienced an immobility response at the time of the sexual assault. The objective is to identify common themes across a range of therapeutic disciplines that may guide practice in the future and further support women in their recovery from sexual assault trauma.

Participation is completely voluntary and confidential. The time commitment is a single interview of approximately 45 to 60 minutes.

If you are interested in finding out more about this research and would like to contact me, you can reach me by emailing:

I look forward to hearing from you.

Date: 13 February 2020

Child and Youth Mental Health Survey

Researchers from The University of Queensland in conjunction with the Telethon Kids Institute are conducting an evaluation of the Australian Government's National Support for Child and Youth Mental Health Program. This Program is aimed at improving the mental health of children and young people in Australia.

You may or may not have heard of this Program. The researchers are inviting clinicians and non-clinicians who work with children and/or young people to complete a web-based survey about their views of their role and capabilities in supporting children and young people's mental health. All information collected will be confidential and anonymous. The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete and will be open for completion during the months of February, March and April 2020.

This research may be used to inform educational policy and professional practice.

Your decision as to whether you participate in this research is completely voluntary and you may withdraw your decision to participate at any time without comment or penalty.

If you would like to learn more about this research and participate in the survey, please click here:

Child and Youth Mental Health Survey

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact:

The Principal Investigator: Professor Simon Smith (please contact Research Assistant Leisa King, or 07 3443 1034, in the first instance)

University of Queensland Ethics Committee: or (07) 3365 3924 or (07) 3443 1654

Date: 5 February 2020

Generic Supervision Assessment Tool (GSAT) - final stages of research

After the fantastic level of support received last year from ACA supervisors, the last two stages of the GSAT research are about to commence. The support received up to this date allowed for a rigorous analysis of the GSAT competency items and gave researchers a window into how supervisees and supervisors viewed the practice of supervision. The generous feedback allowed changes to be made to the tool and broaden its possibilities. Now the researchers are now developing it against a developmental pathway and exploring competencies that may hold more weight in a developing supervisor competency. Along with validating the inter-rater reliability of the tool for use in observation of practice via video.

The current project involves two research aspects that participants can participate in:

Study 2: The validation of the GSAT for use with video - the purpose of this study is to build the Assessor version of the GSAT for use in giving supervisors feedback on their observed use of the competency items listed in the GSAT. This will ensure the tool can be used in relation to training or other assessment processes and that it is done in a way that ensures robust inter-rater reliability processes. Please refer to the Brochure and Information Sheet for more information about this research. Researchers are looking for a number of around 30 videos. Anyone who is interested please email and you will be sent a research pack which includes consent forms, GSAT's, Demographics, password protected USB and pre-paid return bags.

Study 3: The confirmatory validation of the GSAT (Supervisor and Supervisee) - as the last move in the validation of the GSAT the tool (GSAT-SE and GSAT-SR) has been backed out for confirmatory assessment in a last survey monkey. This is a shorter survey includes changes to the tool make on feedback from the exploratory factor analysis. An exciting addition to this survey is to seek feedback from participants on competency items they believe carry more weight in predicting competency. Click here for more information: Brochure and Information Sheet

For Study 3 it does not matter if participants have participated in the past as it allows for re-test. Again, both studies once again include the chance to be in to win a pre-paid visa card for $200.

Link to the online survey:



Date: 25 October 2019

Counsellor Burnout Research

Therapist/Counsellor Burnout is a common issue in the Human Services industry. The cost to organisations in turnover, absenteeism, presenteeism and general morale is significant, as are the costs to clients, and of course to counsellor wellbeing.

USC are conducting research which looks at the impact of emotion regulation and empathy style on counsellor burnout and are seeking counsellors who would like to contribute to this field of knowledge about burnout.

USC are looking for counsellors, psychologists, therapists and art & music therapists who work more than 5 hours of face to face counselling per week. The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete and is totally anonymous.

USC are requesting your help to distribute the survey to your networks to assist us further explore what influences burnout in counsellors in an attempt to alleviate some of the costs.

Please see the survey monkey link for participating in the research:

The research is being conducted by the University of the Sunshine Coast: The Influence of Emotion Regulation and Empathy on Counsellor Burnout (S191362)

Date: 25 October 2019

Video games for mental health - Enquiry on clinicians’ and clients’ views

I'm Dr Sean Mahon-Daly, a training psychiatrist in Sydney, Australia. I would like to invite you to participate in our survey about Serious Games - which are video games designed to treat mental health or as an aid to therapy.

The aim of this study is to understand the experiences and attitudes of Serious Games among clinician who work in therapy, and clients who have undergone therapy. Some argue that Serious Games can be effectively used in mental health, for example to train cognitive skills.

You can take part in this survey if you have experienced any form of psychological therapy OR if you are working in therapy as a clinician (i.e. "talking therapy" such as cognitive behavioural therapy/CBT, psychoanalysis, or other forms of psychological counselling).

Even if you haven't played any Serious Games, your views are important, and we want to hear from you.

Please follow the link below for further information and to participate in the survey:

- Clinician Survey:

- Client Survey:

Date: 24 July 2019

Research: Therapists' experience of climate change: a dialectic between personal and professional

Jules Silva, a Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy student at Cairnmillar Institute is currently recruiting therapists (psychotherapists, psychologists, counsellors) for a qualitative research project, under the supervision of Zoe Krukpa.

The purpose of this study is to better understand the processes and meanings for therapists in their personal experience of climate change, as well as their experience working with clients that present with existential anxieties that may be associated directly or indirectly with climate change.

Participation will involve taking part in a 60-75-minute interview, with Jules, during which participants will be asked several open-ended questions relating to their experience of climate change; personally, and professionally. The interview can take place either at Cairnmillar Institute in Melbourne or via Zoom.

If you are interested in taking part in this study and would like to find out more, please click on Plain Language Information Statement, which contains more detailed information about it.

If you are interested in participating, you can contact Jules Silva via one of the following:


Text message: 0407 661 994

Date: 12 July 2019

Research: Perspectives of Mental Health Professionals on Consumer Representatives

Researcher: Ms Jody McPhee, Australian National University

General Outline of the Project:

  • Description and Methodology: research into the perspectives of mental health professionals on consumer representatives. Through interviews with mental health professionals, this research seeks to identify motivations for mental health professionals to be allies to consumer representatives.
  • Participants: Interviewing 18 multidisciplinary mental health professionals, across Australia, who have varying experiences working with consumer representatives.
  • Use of Data and Feedback: The data will be analysed and written up for an Honours thesis. It will then be submitted in a peer-reviewed journal and possibly used for conference presentations. A summary of the research will be made available to participants via email at their request.

Please click Information Sheet to find out more information about this research.

If you are interested in participating in the research, please contact Jodi on:

Date: 26 June 2019

University of Sydney – Stakeholder Survey on the Guidelines for the treatment of Alcohol Problems

The University of Sydney is seeking your input about next edition of the Guidelines for the treatment of Alcohol Problems. By taking part in this 5-7-minute survey you will have a chance to win one of three $100 Coles Group & Myer Gift Cards! The survey is open to all health professionals, even those outside the drug and alcohol sector. The survey will ask you about your current work position, your experience with addressing alcohol-related problems, preferences for accessing information, how we can best present the updated guidelines so that they are useful, and what additional training or resources should be made available.

Any information that we collect will not identify you. For more information and to take part in the survey, visit:

Survey closes 31 October 2019. If you would like more information on this survey or about the Guidelines for the treatment of Alcohol Problems, contact Benjamin Riordan by email at or call 02 9515 6318.

Date: 11 June 2019

“Therapists’ Perceptions of Client Outcomes and Therapeutic Alliance in Online Counselling”

Ethics Approval Number: S/19/1301

The purpose of this project is to evaluate common themes in practitioner experiences relevant to the formation and maintenance of a therapeutic alliance and monitoring of client outcomes online. The primary outcome is to provide recommendations for online clinical practice including strengths, weaknesses and areas in which individual therapists, registering bodies, or policymakers can improve, based upon the experiences of a collective phenomenon.

If you hold a current registration with the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) or Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA), and currently practice counselling in a non-face-to-face online environment, you are invited to participate in this project.

Participants will involve taking part in an interview with the student researcher. This will take approximately 45 minutes of your time.

The interview will ask questions such as:

  • How do you monitor client-outcomes in your online practice?
  • What challenges do you face in monitoring outcomes with clients online?
  • Are there any differences in how you form a therapeutic alliance with your clients online, as opposed to in-person?

The interview will take place at an agreed location, date at time suitable to you. If you are located outside of the Sunshine Coast, video conferencing can be arranged.

The interview will be audio recorded.

Your participation in this project is completely voluntary. If you do not wish to take part, you are not required to. If you decide to take part and later change your mind, you are free to withdraw at any point. If you do wish to withdraw from this project, please contact the Research Team (contact details at the top of this form).

Your decision to participate (or not), will in no way impact your current or future relationship with the University of the Sunshine Coast.

When participating it is requested that no confidential information about clients or specific cases be disclosed. For further information click here: Information Sheet

Date: 18/03/2019

Counsellors’ experience with the Pluralistic Approach to counselling in Australia.

The aim of this study is to qualitatively explore Australian counsellors' understanding, experience and insight when it comes using eclectic and integrative approaches to practice, as well as their knowledge and understanding of the pluralistic approach developed by Mick Cooper and John McLeod as an additional way of integration. The project also aims to potentially make recommendations for counsellor education and research, which could lead to further development and application of the pluralistic approach to counselling in Australia. It is proposed to collect data via approximately 60 minute-long semi-structured interviews. I am looking to interview (face-to-face in Sippy Downs, QLD or via Zoom conference) 7-10 degree qualified counsellors currently in practice, with - ideally - more than 5 years experience. If you are available, or know someone, please contact me, Marc de Bruin, by 30 June 2019. A small gift (up to $10 per participant) will be offered as a token of appreciation for cooperating with the researcher.

For further information see here.

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