The ARCAP launch was held on 13th November at Hilton on the Park, Melbourne. Distinguished speakers Ron Perry OAM, Past President of PACFA, and Commissioner Beth Wilson from the Victorian Office of the Health Services Commissioner addressed the guests. Ron reminded us that many people contributed to the establishment of ARCAP over the years. He recalled the first meeting held between PACFA and ACA which at the time evoked doubts and anxiety. He emphasised the value of ARCAP for the recognition of counselling and psychotherapy by the public and government. He finished his address by acknowledging the contribution of counselling and psychotherapy to alleviating distress and understanding the human mind and heart.
Commissioner Beth Wilson spoke of her satisfaction that the ARCAP Register would now be available to the public. She saw protection of the public as the most important goal of ARCAP. The standards and codes of ethics developed by ARCAP, PACFA and ACA provide Health Complaints Entities in each state and territory with benchmarks for the assessment of complaints against counsellors and psychotherapists. She reminded us of the damage caused to vulnerable people by the few unethical practitioners among us. Compared to medical practitioners, the Victorian Health Care Complaints Commission receives few complaints about counsellors and psychotherapists. However, when there are complaints, she said very serious. She spoke of being diagnosed with breast cancer and the importance of counsellors and therapists in helping people in crisis. Her famous red stress balls were thrown around the room and her humorous address was greeted with many laughs.
A major contributor to the success of the ARCAP launch was the presence of many ACA members and representatives of PACFA Member Associations.
This was an historic evening for counselling and psychotherapy in Australia.