Becoming a Registered Psychotherapist (RP) in Ontario

April 28, 2015

This is a very good time to become a psychotherapist in Ontario as it is the first province to undertake the long political process of establishing psychotherapy as a fully regulated profession. The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) was proclaimed on April 1, 2015. Although the College itself has been proclaimed, proclamation of the controlled act of psychotherapy has been delayed because the need was identified for further definition of the controlled act which will affect professionals who offer partial psychotherapy services, or services that may be close to psychotherapy, but are not actually covered by the act. Members of other Regulated Health Colleges who have access to the controlled act (doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists), will begin a process of interprofessional collaboration, led by the CRPO, to discuss how they will interpret the controlled act of psychotherapy for their members. The Psychotherapy Act was passed in the legislature back in 2007, but has to be ‘proclaimed’ in order to come into effect. It is expected to be proclaimed by the end of December, 2015. At present, the new College has been proclaimed, is fully operational and is processing thousands of established and new psychotherapists.

Many people want to train to become a psychotherapist in mid-life as a career change or as a first career because they are drawn to the exploration of the complex world of the psyche, because they are ‘natural psychotherapists’ who are often sought out by friends for their empathic listening skills, or because they have found their personal psychotherapy has evolved into a professional interest.

From interviewing many students over the years, we understand that undertaking this or any other professional training is a big commitment of time and money. If you are considering psychotherapy training as a first career choice, or if you are changing from another career, or if you have been working as a psychotherapist but think your training has too many gaps to meet the grandparenting criteria for a Registered Psychotherapist, we hope you will call us for an interview and discuss entering the Living Institute Existential-Integrative Psychotherapy training.

The Living Institute has kept abreast of all developments throughout the regulation process and acted as an active stakeholder in the professional and political dialogues. Our Clinical Director is personally involved with a number of stakeholder organizations: Alliance of Psychotherapy Training Institutes (APTI), Canadian Humanistic-Existential and Transpersonal Association (CHTA), the Ontario Alliance of Mental Health Practitioners (OAMHP), of which CHTA is a member, the Forum, Canadian Association of Integrative and Energy Therapies (CAIET) and was past-president of Canadian Association of Psychodynamic Therapists (CAPT). We mention this background because, as is usual in a situation where something is newly emerging, it can be difficult to get precise information that separates fact from opinion and is up to date. This is especially true because the profession of psychotherapy is so diverse, and because other professionals may provide psychotherapy as part of their professional offering.

The CRPO recognizes that, like the Living Institute, many psychotherapy schools offer ‘modality training’ (i.e. training in a specific approach to psychotherapy not available in universities). We began our training program in 2007 (the year the Psychotherapy Act was passed as legislation), and, as a new school, have been swift to adapt our program structure to adhere to the Council’s training recommendations as they have emerged. Our extensive Self Development Program (which mainly focuses on personal psychotherapy or counselling) is a very effective way to develop the competency of “safe and effective use of self” (or SEUS) as is required by the CRPO. In fact, we believe that personal growth work is one of the most effective means of training professionals and also assuring public protection. Our diploma program is designed to meet all the requirements to prepare graduates for registration, and we are currently working on the demanding process of CRPO ‘recognition’. Programs are recognized based on providing education in the competencies required to practice psychotherapy as defined by CRPO. ‘Recognition’ of programs is similar to ‘accreditation’ and assures that teaching is at a ‘masters level’ (which does not result in a masters degree but is at the level of study required for a masters degree). Our program focuses on integrative learning where a variety of theoretical and methodological frameworks inform practical psychotherapy skills.

Our extensive faculty are well-established professionals with many years of experience as you can see from the faculty bios on this site. We have a very successful Student Clinic that supplies interns with screened clients to cover the required client contact hours, and supervision is provided within the Clinic.

We focus on the individual student and have made a commitment to helping our graduates prepare themselves personally and clinically for practice as a Registered Psychotherapist (RP), and also to be well informed and congruent with the new Regulations. We are getting great feedback about our interns from the clients in the Student Clinic and our graduates have thriving private practices and have been accepted as RP’s in the new College. If this is a career for you it is an excellent time to step in to the field.