Psychotherapy is a relatively newly regulated profession in Ontario. Its practice is governed by the ,Psychotherapy Act, 2007.
The practice of psychotherapy is defined as “the assessment and treatment of cognitive, emotional or behavioural disturbances by psychotherapeutic means, delivered through a therapeutic relationship based primarily on verbal or non-verbal communication.”
As of April 1, 2015, in order to use the title or practice as a psychotherapist in Ontario, it is necessary to be a registered health professional authorized to practice psychotherapy.
The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) is the profession’s governing body.
The CRPO’s mandate is to regulate Registered Psychotherapists (RPs) in the public interest in accordance with the Psychotherapy Act, 2007 and the ,Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) and the regulations and by-laws made under these Acts.
If you would like to practice of psychotherapy in Ontario and you are not already registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO), College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO), or the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO), you will need to register with the CRPO.
Becoming a Registered Psychotherapist (RP)
To become registered with the CRPO, you must meet the registration requirements set out in,Registration Regulation under the Psychotherapy Act, 2007.
If you are applying for registration through the regular route, you will likely begin with the RP (qualifying) category and must have successfully completed the following requirements:
An Approved Education and Training Program in Psychotherapy
The CRPO lists,approved programs on its website. If you program is not listed, you may still qualify, however you will need to submit more information about your education and training along with your application.
Evidence of Practice Currency You must be able to demonstrate that you have engaged in professional activities related to psychotherapy in the three-year period immediately before you submit your application. ,,Currency may be demonstrated in numerous ways.
You must be able to demonstrate a reasonable fluency in English or French.
Conduct and Disclosure Obligations
You must disclose certain information about your past conduct, including, for example, findings of guilt for any criminal offence, current or past proceedings for professional misconduct, and current and past registration with any regulatory body.
Within two years after you completed your application as a qualifying member, you will need to challenge the CRPO’s, registration examination.
Until March 31, 2017, applicants who had been practicing psychotherapy prior to the Registration Regulating coming into force were exempted from having to meet the regular requirements for registration and were able to apply for registration under the “grandparenting” provisions.
At this time, the grandparenting path to registration is no longer available for new applicants.
Referrals to the Registration Committee
If the CRPO has doubts, on reasonable grounds, about whether an application meets the registration requirements, or believes that terms, conditions and limitations should be imposed, or proposed to refuse an application, that application would be referred to the CRPO’s Registration Committee. This referral is made pursuant to the registration provisions in the RHPA.
In the case of a referral, the applicant is entitled to notice of the statutory grounds of the referral and of their right to make submissions to the Registration Committee. Many health professionals find it helpful to receive legal advice and assistance from a lawyer if they are faced with a referral to the Registration Committee.
This article is intended as an introductory overview. For comprehensive and up-to-date information about the CPRO registration requirements, please consult with the CRPO directly.
Carina, Lentsch is an advocate for Ontario health care professionals. Her law practice includes assisting psychotherapists with CRPO registration and investigations, fitness-to-practice and discipline matters.