Psychotherapy Update

As members will know, on April 1, 2015, most of the balance of the provisions of the Psychotherapy Act were proclaimed into force. These provisions:

  • Created the new College of Registered Psychotherapists and Registered Mental Health Therapists of Ontario (CRPO).
  • Restricted the use of the titles “psychotherapist”, “registered psychotherapist” and “registered mental health therapist” to members of CRPO (among other things).

However, the government did not proclaim into force certain other provisions related to psychotherapy. These are:

  • The provisions in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (the “RHPA”) setting out the controlled act of psychotherapy and authorizing members of OCSWSSW to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy in compliance with the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998 (the “SWSSWA”), its regulations and bylaws.
  • The provision in the SWSSWA permitting OCSWSSW members who are authorized to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy to use the title “psychotherapist.”

Given the delay in proclamation of these provisions, members of OCSWSSW should note the following:

  • OCSWSSW members may continue to provide psychotherapy services provided they are competent to do so.
  • Psychotherapy is not an entry-to-practice competency. Competent practice requires ongoing education and training, as well as regular supervision and consultation.
  • Only members of the CRPO are permitted to use the title “psychotherapist”, “registered psychotherapist” or “registered mental health therapist.”

What happens next?

The College is committed to moving this issue forward. The College has continued to work collaboratively with the five other colleges whose members will have access to the controlled act of psychotherapy (once it is proclaimed) and with representatives from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) to further clarify the definition of the controlled act of psychotherapy. At the request of the MOHLTC, the group produced a clarification document intended to ensure consistent understanding of the controlled act among practitioners and the public prior to proclamation. This document was approved in principle by the College Council at its September meeting. All of the colleges who worked on the clarification document, with the exception of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSO), also sought and obtained approval in principle of the clarification document by their respective councils last fall.

Early in 2017, members of the College (along with members of the other colleges whose members will also have access to the controlled act once it is proclaimed), the public and other stakeholders were asked to provide comments on the clarification document as part of a consultation requested by the MOHLTC. The College thanks members and stakeholders for their feedback. The MOHLTC has told the colleges involved that feedback from the consultation will assist the government in moving forward towards proclamation of the controlled act of psychotherapy.

For further information and updates, please visit the College website at or contact the Professional Practice Department at

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NOTE: The information in this article is accurate at the time of publishing. Given the evolving nature of the regulation of psychotherapy, members are advised to visit the College website for the most up-to-date information.