Psychotherapy Regulation not yet approved

Psychotherapists and mental health practitioners still awaiting approval of new Registration Regulation under the Psychotherapy Act. Watch Lonny Rosen’s comment here.


Toronto health lawyer, Lonny Rosen, advises many providers of mental health services and something that is concerning many of them is the new Psychotherapy Act. Lonny what is the Psychotherapy Act?

The Psychotherapy Act (the “Act”) is new legislation that was introduced in 2007 as part of a movement to regulate new health professions. Psychotherapists have never previously been regulated, but with the advent of this new legislation, once its substantive provisions are implemented, then psychotherapists will be a restricted title and psychotherapy will be a controlled act. As you know, health professions permit their members to perform controlled acts and people who are not members of particular health professions are not permitted to perform these controlled acts.

Well, what is the concern about this?

The concern about this is that psychotherapy, as a new controlled act, is harder to identify than other controlled acts. For example: communicating a diagnosis, that’s very straight forward, whereas psychotherapy involves elements including the purpose of the treatment and the assessment; the individual patient, i.e. whether they have a mental disorder that is being treated through psychotherapy; as well as how the professionals providing psychotherapy services. All of those determine whether what the professional is doing is, in fact, psychotherapy.

Well the act isn’t in force yet?

The substantive provisions of the Act are not enforced yet, part of the Act is in force, and there is a transitional council which is the precursor to the College of Psychotherapists of Ontario.

So what happens when it’s all enforced?

When it’s in force, the right to call one’s self a psychotherapist will be very limited. Only members of the new College of Psychotherapists of Ontario and several other colleges will be permitted to use the title of psychotherapist and only members of those colleges will be able to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy.

Why is that a problem?

The concern is that many providers of mental health services including child youth workers, addictions counsellors and other providers of mental health services may not be permitted to provide psychotherapy but may be describing their services right now as psychotherapy. That means that when the Act comes into force, they’ll have to re-evaluate how they describe their services, or the services that they provide, or they may have to wait and see if there is some change in the legislation or exemption that permits them to provide the services they are already providing.

Well what happens to those that aren’t members of the colleges?

If they are not members of the college that permits them to provide psychotherapy, then they cannot call themselves psychotherapists, they cannot describe their services as psychotherapy, they cannot perform the controlled act of psychotherapy and they’ll need to re-evaluate what services they provide and how they describe them.

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