The AACBT is an interest group and not a registering association. The AACBT provides support and professional development for cognitive behaviour therapists. We do not endorse or accredit practitioners at present, nor do we strictly control the qualifications of our members. A therapist should not use the AACBT as evidence of qualifications or competency in CBT. There is no registering body for CBT practitioners at the moment, so you should check that your practitioner is registered with their appropriate board or organisation.
In Victoria, 11 professional groups are required to hold registration to practice. Those who are most likely to practice CBT include psychologists, medical practitioners and nurses.
Other practitioners who are less likely to practice CBT, but who are required to register are Chinese medicine practitioners, chiropractors, dental practitioners, optometrists, osteopaths, pharmacists, physiotherapists and podiatrists.
Other professionals who may practice CBT but who are not required to hold professional registration include occupational therapists ( in Tasmania, NSW, Victoria & the ACT) and social workers. However, the Australian Association of Social Workers and Australian Association of Occupational Therapists operate as a regulatory bodies hence, individuals with social work or occupational therapy qualifications should belong to the relevant association.
'Psychotherapists' and 'counsellors' have no regulating body at present.
Each professional body is governed by its own act of parliament and each has its own regulatory board. The Boards' role is to protect the rights of the public by monitoring and maintaining professional standards and investigating complaints.
The difference between a registration board and a professional organisation (such as the Australian Psychological Society) is that the registration board looks after the interests of the public, while the professional body looks after the interests of the profession. Both aim to maintain high standards.
A guide to checking training in CBT
There are very few formal training programs for Cognitive Behaviour Therapists in Australia.
Most CBT practitioners will have a combination of training gained from their degree and professional development activities, such as workshops.
Some universities offer postgraduate training in CBT to health professionals. Psychology graduates typically undertake a masters or doctorate in psychology which will include some CBT training and practice
Some cognitive behaviour therapists may be trained and/or accredited overseas.
The AACBT is currently reviewing training and accreditation requirements for CBT practitioners. In the meantime, the practitioner's qualifications and registration with a professional body are the best indicators of professional practice.
What to do if you don't think it's working out with your current therapist
Give the therapist feedback and see if they can change their style
Don't be afraid to change therapists if you aren't satisfied
Ask for a referral to an alternative therapist
- Does the practitioner have the relevant qualifications to practice CBT?
- Is this practitioner registered with a professional registration board?
- What is this practitioner's experience in CBT?
- What is this practitioner's training in CBT?
- Do I feel comfortable with this practitioner?
- How much will it cost?
- Are they recognised by private health insurance or medicare?
In order to be able to be called a 'Psychologist', an individual must undertake a 4-year Honours degree in Psychology and then either 2 years of supervised practice or at least two years of extra postgraduate training in Psychology. They must be registered with the Psychologists Registration Board in their State
This extra postgraduate training can either be a Master of Psychology (2 years) or a Doctorate of Psychology (4 years). These training courses focus on supervised practice and advanced skills in psychology.
After 4 years of study, Psychologists either undertake further study in research or further study in practice. Practice can include clinical, counselling or health psychology, organisational or industrial psychology and community or sports psychology.
Many psychologists practice CBT and most CBT practitioners are psychologists. However, not all psychologists practice CBT. If you intend to select a CBT practising psychologist, be sure to check whether they have expertise in CBT.
In order to obtain a basic medical qualification within Australia, an individual must undertake and successfully complete a medical degree from an Australian Medical Council accredited medical school.
A medical degree can be obtained through completion of a) an undergraduate course in any discipline followed by a 4-year, graduate entry medical course; or b) an undergraduate medical course of 5 or 6 years duration.
Following completion of the above, graduates must undertake one year of full-time employment (internship) at a recognised teaching hospital to be able to gain full registration as a medical practitioner.
To obtain specialist medical qualification, individuals are required to undertake further postgraduate study and be eligible for membership with the associated professional college.
Medical practitioners must also be registered with the Medical Practitioners Board. The roles of the Medical practitioner's board is to register doctors, investigate complaints, and develop guidelines for the practice of medicine and to further assess a doctors fitness to practice medicine. The Board protects the public by ensuring that individuals whose names are placed on the Register of Medical Practitioners are appropriately qualified. Practitioners are required to register with the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria (or other relevant state).
All nurses practising in Victoria must be registered with the Nurses Registration Board of Victoria.
Nurses renew their registration each year and must carry their renewal of registration certificate as evidence to employers and the public that they are registered as a nurse.
Undergraduate studies prepare individuals for registration as general nurses, and provide the opportunity for registered nurses to upgrade their certificate or diploma to a degree.
Postgraduate studies allow for specialisation in areas such as community nursing, midwifery, critical-care nursing, clinical practice, cancer nursing and gerontic nursing.
The undergraduate nursing course accredited by the Board is the 'Bachelor of Nursing'.
The Nurses Board of Victoria accredits each course and then approves the university campus to conduct the accredited course.
Successful completion of accredited Bachelor of Nursing course leads to registration on division 1 of the nursers register.
To become a qualified social worker, a total of four years full-time study, or part-time equivalent, in an accredited social work course must be completed.
Social work programs across Australia are regularly reviewed by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) and either approved or not approved as offering eligibility for membership.
Following the above, individuals can join the AASW, which is the Social Work professional body.
The AASW accredits social workers if they have met the requirements for membership and undertake continuing professional development. Continuing professional development is required to maintain accreditation within the AASW.
Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation units, community health centers, home care services, psychiatric clinics, schools etc
University degree courses in Occupational Therapy vary from state to state. Courses include formal study (4 years) and considerable field work with clients. Post graduate courses are also available at Masters and Doctorate levels.
The Australian Association of Occupational Therapy (AAOT) is the main body representing occupational therapy practitioners and the practice of occupational therapy in Australia.
Membership with the AAOT requires an occupational therapist to be qualified to practice in all States and territories of Australia. Individuals need to be graduates of accredited Australian occupational therapy programs or have overseas qualifications which satisfy the requirements specified by the association's national council.
OTs must be registered to practice in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory. Reigstration is through the local registration board. If overseas qualified, individuals need to apply for recognition of qualification by COTRB to enable him/her to become eligible for limited/conditional registration. Registration is not required in the other states (Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria) or the ACT. OT Australia is the professional association for OTs in Australia.