Placement information for Master of Counselling students.
Professional experience placement is a fundamental part of the Master of Counselling course, enabling you to apply and extend your knowledge and skills into practice in a professional counselling environment. It is designed to develop a range of professional skills and to acquaint you with issues of professional ethics and practice in counselling.
EDF5534 – Supervised Professional Counselling Practice is a full-year counselling placement unit, and you are enrolled in it for a full academic year. Unlike your coursework units, it has no face-to-face classes, but we encourage you to engage with the Counselling Placement Team in our Professional Experience Office who will help you with all aspects of your placement.
The EDF5534 Moodle site will be your primary source of information relating to your counselling placement. You will gain access to it in Orientation Week, once your enrolment is active.
Until you gain access to the EDF5534 Moodle site, use this page to see what to expect from this unit.
Things you should know
Temporary amendments due to COVID-19
Due to current impacts of COVID-19, some temporary amendments have been made to the placement requirements. These have been endorsed by our accrediting bodies ACA, PACFA and SAC. In the event that further changes are made, we will keep students informed to ensure they meet current accreditation requirements.
Timing of placement View
You are eligible to be on placement only once you have commenced your EDF5534 unit, and you have a full academic year to complete the required hours.
It is not possible to commence your placement ahead of your enrolment in EDF5534, as you would not be considered "officially" on placement, and therefore would not be fully covered by Monash's student accident insurance, public liability and professional indemnity policies until that time.
The majority of students commit to undertaking placement over an extended period of time, usually over 1-2 days per week. This longer term commitment to placement is common for counselling – it ensures continued client care, allows time to build rapport with your clients, and enables you to build a sufficient caseload to meet your required hours.
Placement hours required View
You will complete 200 hours of placement as part of the EDF5534 unit – 100 contact hours and 100 non-contact hours. You will also complete 50 hours within other units in the Master of Counselling course, making up the total of 250 hours of professional experience for the course.
- Contact hours
- Client contact hours refers to counselling in the direct presence of individual clients, couples or families, as well as the facilitation or co-facilitation of group counselling. It can be conducted in face-to-face, video* or phone* mode (*these counselling modalities allowable under current accreditation requirements adjusted for COVID-19 restrictions – minimum and maximum hours apply to each category).
- Non-contact hours
- Non-contact hours are other placement activities that support your client contact hours. This includes the required 25 hours of clinical supervision, as well as attending meetings, making appointments for counselling sessions, writing case notes/reports, researching counselling related materials, administration tasks, observation and attending professional development training.
Security clearances View
Many counselling placement settings will require you to undertake security clearances. Exactly which clearances you need to apply for will depend on the placement setting you have chosen. These could include Police Record Checks, NDIS Worker Screening Checks and/or others.
As a minimum requirement, we recommend that you obtain a Working With Children Check (WWCC) in Victoria, or your state/territory’s equivalent. If you are completing placement outside of Australia, please refer to that country’s requirements.
Preparing for placement View
Before you enrol in EDF5534 placement unit, here are some things you can do to help secure your placement.
Mental health training
We highly recommend that you undertake training programs such as Mental Health First Aid or SafeTALK: Suicide prevention ahead of your enrolment in the placement unit. Such training is well-regarded by placement hosts and will increase your chances of securing placement when included on your resume.
You can read more about these programs and register your interest via the Monash Health and Wellbeing website. If you were to undertake these training courses ahead of your enrolment in EDF5534, but while enrolled in the Master of Counselling, it will be possible to retrospectively add some of these hours (currently up to 20 hours) to your non-contact training hours in your Log Books.
Volunteering in relevant settings
Other students have found it is beneficial to volunteer with organisations ahead of being enrolled in EDF5534 - even if this is not within a specific counselling capacity. This looks good on your resume and demonstrates a good work ethic. It's also an opportunity to establish contacts who may be able to assist you with placement in the future.
We suggest checking out websites like Volunteering Australia, Go Volunteer, Seek Volunteer, EthicalJobs, for example. Searching these websites can also highlight the types of organisations who employ counsellors, and therefore guide you on where to try for placements in the future.
Resume preparation and interview training
Searching for a placement should be taken as seriously as applying for a job. A professional resume and a cover letter will enhance your opportunity for application success. We encourage you to prepare these in advance of starting EDF5534.
Most placement opportunities will require you to attend an interview. Make sure you prepare yourself for interview success by researching the organisation and practice before attending.
We encourage you to make use of Monash Career Connect services (available online and in person) to improve these key application documents and to enhance your interview skills.
Organising your placement and approval View
Finding your placement
You will need to search for your own placement guided by your individual interests and career goals. You will be supported throughout this process by the Counselling Placement Team who will help to identify opportunities and support you throughout your placement’s duration.
We recommend that you start looking for placement options as soon as possible once you start the course. You can approach potential placement hosts yourself and discuss the possibility of placement with them. Previous students have found success with organisations such as:
- community service groups,
- local government,
- school wellbeing teams,
- not-for-profit and charitable organisations,
- youth organisations,
- private practice and EAP organisations,
- cultural organisations if you have another language,
- agencies supporting long-term unemployed and individuals with disabilities.
You can choose to undertake placement in more than one setting to gain a variety of experience. It is also possible to complete up to 50% of your client contact hours in your current workplace where your role is primarily counselling. This cannot be applied retrospectively and you must record the activities and hours in your Log Book during your enrolment in EDF5534. You will need to complete the remaining 50% of your client contact hours in a separate setting. As with all placements, a workplace-based placement still needs to be assessed and approved by the Counselling Placement Team.
Obtaining approval for your placement
Once you have secured a placement you need to formally notify the Counselling Placement Team of the details. Your placement must be approved by the University before you can start placement and begin accruing your required hours. The placement approval process is fully explained on the EDF5534 Moodle site.
It is not possible to commence your placement ahead of your enrolment in EDF5534, or until it is approved, as you would not be considered "officially" on placement and therefore not fully covered by Monash's student accident insurance, public liability and professional indemnity policies until that time.
Monash covers all students on approved work placements, internships and/or practicum as part of a course or unit of study. These insurances include:
- Personal accident insurance* for student injury, capital, medical and loss of income benefits. The Policy does not pay the Medicare/private health gap.
- Public liability for student’s legal liability to third parties in respect to physical injury and/or property damage caused as a result of their negligence.
- Professional indemnity for student's civil liability committed in their professional duty, but only within the limits of their training.
*Please note that the Personal accident insurance policy is only applicable if the placement is undertaken in Australia. Students undertaking placement in a country outside of Australia will not have access to this cover.
Copies of the Certificates of Currency for each policy are available from your EDF5534 Moodle site and by request from the Counselling Placement Team.
Organising your Clinical Supervisor View
All counsellors and psychotherapists, regardless of experience, need clinical supervision. This process is vital to your professional and personal development, as well as ensuring your client's therapeutic needs are being properly met.
All Clinical Supervisors must be approved by the Counselling Placement Team. They may be someone employed by your placement host, or they can be external to that organisation. If required, we can allocate you a Monash-appointed Clinical Supervisor (at no cost to you) and you simply request this as part of the placement approval process.
To be approved, a Clinical Supervisor needs to:
- have a degree in a relevant field (e.g., a degree in counselling, psychology or social work);
- have a minimum 5 years post-qualification counselling experience if they hold a master’s degree – or 10 years if they hold a bachelor degree;
- be eligible for membership of a relevant professional organisation; and
- preferably have undertaken supervisor training.
Your Clinical Supervisor will:
- guide you through your placement,
- view and sign your Log Book, and
- complete your end-of-placement evaluation once your placement hours are completed.
You will engage with your Clinical Supervisor on a regular basis throughout your placement. The recommended ratio is 1 hour of clinical supervision per 4 hours of client contact – you should aim to maintain this ratio to allow you to complete your placement requirements on time.
Log Books and placement completion View
Your Log Books
As a trainee allied health professional, it is your responsibility to maintain concise documentation pertaining to client work. You will need to record your contact and non-contact hours by keeping a Log Book.
Your Log Books are legal documents and professional bodies such as PACFA and ACA can request to see them as proof of you having completed the required placement hours. In their training standards PACFA notes that “successful completion of supervised practice is required to be evidenced by a log signed by the responsible supervisor(s)”.
You will be provided with a template Log Book and guidance on its correct use via the EDF5534 Moodle site.
Completion of placement
Once you have completed 200 hours, you will be able to complete the placement unit by following the instructions provided on the EDF5534 Moodle site. This involves submitting:
- your completed Log Books,
- a signed statement noting that you have completed the required hours,
- a self-evaluation, and
- an evaluation by your Clinical Supervisor.
Who to contact?
Our Counselling Placement Team within the Professional Experience Office are dedicated to helping you with all aspects of your counselling placement.
To contact the Counselling Placement Team, please send your enquiry to the Professional Experience Office.