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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 organise for all students a comprehensive counselling placement with 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 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 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 strong experiential immersion in the theory and practice of counselling and psychotherapy, in order to provide a hands-on, practice-oriented training and learning experience. Students in the Master program are also trained in research methods and participate in the process-oriented research case study, in order to give them a unique opportunity to contribute to learning in the field.


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 Code: CP091
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 relevant 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 Exploring Process-Experiential Emotion-Focused Therapy
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 Interpersonal Processes in Psychotherapy


For unit descriptions, please click here.

Admission Criteria

Entrance into the Masters of Counselling and Psychotherapy requires:

  • a minimum three-year Australian Bachelor degree (AQF 7) in a related discipline (such as teaching, social work, social sciences, psychology, counselling or similar) with at least a 70% average marks, OR
  • a Graduate Diploma in Counselling and / or Psychotherapy, with at least a 70% average

If you have an undergraduate degree in an unrelated discipline, you may be required to undertake The Cairnmillar Institute’s Introduction to Counselling Skills and Advanced Counselling Skills short courses prior to commencement and are encouraged to apply for Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy so suitability for the Master course can be assessed.

To apply:

Prospective students are required to submit an application through the Apply Now page, with certified copies of the following supporting documentation:

  • Most recent academic transcripts
  • A current curriculum vitae
  • A 500 word personal statement outlining the reasons for wanting to undertake the course
  • 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.

Prospective students who are short-listed will be invited to attend an interview with members of the School Teaching Faculty. This provides the applicant with the opportunity to connect with staff, learn more about the course, and ask any questions.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Students may only be given credit for any coursework if it is from a successfully completed approved course at the appropriate Australian AQF postgraduate level.

Graduate Learning Outcomes

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

  • Acquisition of a high level of verbal and professional communication skills.
  • The ability to facilitate the therapeutic process according to established the client’s focused goals.
  • The ability to understand and practice within the PACFA Code of Ethics and Professional Guidelines.
  • The skills to conduct 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 the development of relational intelligence, sensitivity, resilience and respect.
  • Developed the relevant research and data analysis skills with the ability to critically review research studies.
  • Developed capacity to be self-reflective and learn from experience.
  • Acquired knowledge of applying alternative modes of working with clients, including the use of real-time internet platforms with awareness of 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.
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).