TORONTO, Oct. 19, 2015 /CNW/ - Psychotherapists are now a regulated profession in Ontario. Prior to proclamation of the Psychotherapy Act into law this April, anyone could call himself or herself a psychotherapist and claim to be qualified to practise – with or without qualifications or training.
That has now changed. "Psychotherapist", "Registered Psychotherapist" and "RP" are now restricted titles – only members of the new College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) are permitted to use them.
In 2006, a provincial advisory body recommended that psychotherapists be regulated, due to the risk of harm associated with unregulated practice by unqualified people. "The need for regulation has long been recognized," said CRPO President, Carol Cowan-Levine. "Until April 1st this year, anyone could hang out a shingle and start offering services."
Psychotherapy includes a broad range of methods and techniques used to assess or treat cognitive, emotional or behavioural disturbances, delivered through a therapeutic relationship.
With regulation, access to psychotherapy services is enhanced, as third-party insurers of extended health benefits are beginning to recognize the profession and provide coverage. In addition, College members can practice independently if they meet CRPO's requirements for independent practice.
Psychotherapists receive their education and training in diverse ways. Some hold graduate degrees in clinical counselling, while others have completed independent training programs that operate outside the college and university system – Jungian or Gestalt training, for example. Applicants for registration with the new College are required to have completed a recognized education & training program and a significant number of supervised client hours.
To date, some 2,500 members have been registered, and several hundred applications are currently under review.
CRPO's mandate is to regulate its members in the public interest, by developing and maintaining registration requirements and professional practice standards. In addition, the College receives and investigates complaints about members, administers quality assurance and remediation programs, and conducts formal disciplinary proceedings related to professional misconduct or incompetence.
The Psychotherapy Act does not prevent alternative practitioners from using psychotherapy techniques in their practice. It does, however, prevent them from using restricted titles (or abbreviations), or claiming to be qualified to practise psychotherapy. "Regulation of psychotherapists strengthens public protection," said Joyce Rowlands, CRPO Registrar. "It provides greater assurance that those offering psychotherapy services are competent and accountable."
SOURCE College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario
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