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CRPO Response to "Stop Psychotherapy Takeover"
August 8, 2014

 

ATTENTION: All stakeholders

 

Recently the transitional Council (CRPO) has become aware of an online initiative opposing the regulation of psychotherapy in Ontario. The "Stop Psychotherapy Takeover" campaign holds the position that the new College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, and the controlled act of psychotherapy, will significantly threaten the work of those who offer alternative and natural therapies.

 

In response, the transitional Council wishes to state that the Stop Psychotherapy Takeover website includes a good deal of misleading information.

 

The Psychotherapy Act was passed by the Ontario Legislature in 2007 with all-party support, following extensive research and consultation by the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC). HPRAC provides advice to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care; in 2006, it advised that psychotherapists in Ontario should be regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA).

 

The transitional Council has been in place for 4½ years, developing registration requirements, regulations and practice standards for future members of the College; also determining who should be registered using the two protected titles, Registered Psychotherapist (RP) and Registered Mental Health Therapist (RMHT). The latter is on hold until such time as a future Council may wish to re-open the question of who should be registered in that category.

 

When the new College is fully established, anyone who wishes to:

  • use the title Registered Psychotherapist (RP) or Psychotherapist, or any abbreviation of those titles;
  • hold him/herself out as qualified to practise psychotherapy; or
  • engage in the controlled act of psychotherapy

...will be required to be registered with the new College or one of the other colleges whose members are authorized to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy (MDs, nurses, OTs, psychologists and social workers). The controlled act is defined as follows:

 

In the course of engaging in the practice of psychotherapy, a member is authorized, subject to the terms, conditions and limitations imposed on his or her certificate of registration, to treat, by means of psychotherapy technique delivered through a therapeutic relationship, an individual's serious disorder of thought, cognition, mood, emotional regulation, perception or memory that may seriously impair the individual's judgement, insight, behaviour, communication or social functioning.  2007, c. 10, Sched. R, s. 4.

 

In other words, only regulated professionals will be able to treat, using psychotherapy technique delivered through a therapeutic relationship, an individual's serious disorder... that may seriously impair [his or her]...functioning.

 

In so far as a treatment method may be considered a psychotherapy technique, that activity would be restricted if/when it is used in the context of a therapeutic relationship to treat an individual's serious disorder of thought, cognition, mood, emotional regulation, perception or memory that may seriously impair his or her judgement, insight, behaviour, communication or social functioning.

 

Unregulated people will still be able to provide services, as long as they do not engage in the controlled act of psychotherapy, i.e. do not treat an individual's serious disorder using psychotherapy technique in the context of a therapeutic relationship...; do not use any restricted title or abbreviation; and do not hold themselves out as qualified to practise psychotherapy.  

 

The College will not be defining the meaning of "psychotherapy technique", "serious disorder" or "seriously impair". We have been advised by legal counsel that it is not appropriate for us to define the meaning of legislation; eventually, this may be a matter before the courts. All of our members will be authorized to do the controlled act of psychotherapy; unregulated people will be prohibited from doing it. The latter will need to be sure they are not in breach of the legislation. We will not be regulating particular treatment techniques; rather, we will be regulating members of the College. We will also have the power to take action against unregulated people who use a restricted title or abbreviation, hold themselves out as qualified to practise psychotherapy, or engage in the controlled act, i.e. treat, using psychotherapy technique in the context of a therapeutic relationship, an individual's serious disorder...that may seriously impair....etc.

 

Limited forms of counselling, e.g. providing advice, instruction, information, support, referral, etc., are not regulated, and are specifically exempted under the RHPA, as is spiritual counselling. Some spiritual counsellors with extensive additional training in psychotherapy (sometimes known as "spiritual care therapists") will seek registration with the College, and will become registered if they meet registration requirements - the same as any other applicant.

 

Registration requires completion of:

  • a coherent program in psychotherapy requiring an undergraduate degree for admission to the program, or
  • a master's program central to the practice of psychotherapy, or
  • a program in the Indigenous practice of psychotherapy, or
  • a substantially equivalent program.

Registration of established practitioners via 'grandparenting' is another avenue and will be available for two years following proclamation of the Psychotherapy Act, 2007. Registration requirements for grandparenting are somewhat more flexible.

 

We hope this information clarifies the role of the transitional Council and the scope of its regulatory mandate. Further information about the transitional Council is available on our website.

 

 

Transitional Council

College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario

163 Queen Street East, Toronto ON M5A 1S1 

[email protected]