Counselling placements

Placement manual

If you enrol in the placement unit at the start of the year you will be emailed a Professional Experience Student Manual. However, if you enrol after the beginning of semester you will need to send an email to the Professional Experience Office requesting a manual.

Note: It is best to enrol at the start of the year for your Semester 2 units, that way you will be emailed a Professional Experience Student Manual which will assist you in your search for your placement.

Student questionnaire

It is not mandatory to send in the student questionnaire, but it helps us to identify suitable students for any placements we are offered.

Contact & non-contact hours

Contact hours

Contact hours are face-to-face, one-on-one counselling sessions with a client or a couple, where you are using your counselling skills. Contact hours are also when you are discussing a client with other healthcare providers in a clinical manner.

Non-contact hours

Non-contact hours are any other activity in a counselling centre related to counselling work, such as making appointments, writing up case notes, filing, researching (while at the centre), group facilitation, etc. Your 40 supervision hours are included in your non-contact hours.

Note: Cleaning or shopping for the centre and doing research outside the centre are not counted as non-contact hours and you should not log these.

Hours required

You need to complete:

  • 160 contact hours : You can have 60 hours of group, telephone and online contact. You must have 100 hours of individual, face-to-face contact.
  • 90 non-contact hours (which includes 40 hours of supervision)

A total of 250 hours is required.

If you want to include training or professional development as part of your non-contact hours you need to apply for approval using the three approval forms.

Timing of placement

You can start your placement, once approved, from the beginning of the semester in which you are enrolled in the Placement unit. However, you cannot begin contact hours unless you are also enrolled in the Ethics unit (EDF5532).

You must finish your placement by the end of the two semesters in which you are enrolled in the placement unit.

If you haven't finished your placement by the end of the second semester you can apply for an extension.

Organising your placement

You need to source your own placements. You can organise as many placements as you like, as long as each placement is approved. However, you may not have more than 2 supervisors.

Occasionally the Professional Experience Office receives an offer of a placement. In this situation we offer this opportunity to the most suitable students, using the information on their student questionnaire.

If the Professional Experience Office contacts you with details of a potential placement, contact the agency as soon as you receive the email. In the past, students have lost placements because they didn't contact the agencies quickly enough.

You should start looking for your placement as soon as possible once you start the course, as it can take quite a long time to find one. You will need to contact many sources, as placements are difficult to secure.

Approach community services such as:

  • local government
  • charitable organisations such as Salvation Army, Anglicare, Centacare, etc.
  • youth organisations
  • cultural organisations if you have another language
  • agencies which support long-term unemployed
  • similar organisations.

When you find a potential placement you will need to attend an interview with the organisation, and take your three approval forms with you. If they agree to accommodate you, please fill out the forms with the agency, and forward the forms to the Professional Experience Office.

If you contact an agency and they say they only take requests from the University, not from individuals, contact the Professional Experience Office and ask them to contact the organisation on your behalf.

To secure a placement, you will need to be very persistent in following up initial contact and be very creative in the organisations you approach. Ensure you keep in contact every fortnight with your lecturer regarding your progress.

If you have been emailed a potential placement but you are not interested, please contact the Professional Experience Office immediately so they can pass the placement details onto another student.

Obtaining approval for your placement

To get your placement approved, you need to take your three approval documents with you to your placement interview, and fill them out and sign them in conjunction with your supervisor.

You then need to submit your three approval forms to the Professional Experience Office. To do this, you can scan and send them to the Professional Experience Office. You also must post or hand in the original forms to the Professional Experience Office as we need to have the original forms on file.

We will email you within approximately one week to let you know if the placement is approved.

Note:

  • You cannot start your placement while you are waiting for approval because you are not covered by Monash Insurance until it is approved. Your hours cannot be counted prior to approval.
  • If your placement is for non-contact hours only you still need to submit all three forms, but please mark clearly on the forms that the placement is for Non-contact hours only.

Supervision

During your placement, you must have 40 hours of supervision (as part of your 90 non-contact hours).

Supervision is when you and your supervisor sit together to discuss the clients you have seen. It is very rare that a supervisor is in the room with you while you are counselling a client.

You can have up to two supervisors. Each must be approved by using the three approval forms, regardless of whether they are at the same centre.

It is best to find your own supervisor as there are limited supervisors available at Monash.

If, however, you do end up having a Monash supervisor you don't need to ask them to fill out the forms, but you need to make a note on the forms that you will have supervision from Monash.

If you don't have a supervisor at your placement you still need to fill out all three forms as there needs to be someone at the organisation who is responsible for you on a day-to-day basis while on placement. This person will fill out the supervisor sections, and will be the person we send information to about your placement.

Log book

You need to log your contact and non-contact hours.

There is a template in the Professional Experience Student Manual. You need to make your own logbook using the Tables function in a Word document. It must be the same as the sample in the manual.

You must submit your log book fortnightly to your lecturer, not to the Professional Experience Office. Note: Even if you are only doing non-contact hours, you still need to do this.

You use the same logbook for all your placement hours, regardless of how many different organisations you are at.

Professional Experience Reports

You submit your end of Professional Experience Report to your lecturer.

Insurance

Monash covers you for professional indemnity insurance while on an approved placement. Please ask the Professional Experience Office to forward you a copy of the certificate of currency if required by your placement organisation.