The Australian Counselling Association (ACA) is a National progressive professional peak association of counsellors and psychotherapists with over 5,000 individual members

Publications & Resources


Date: 16 August 2019

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: 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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