What is psychotherapy?
At it’s core, psychotherapy is talk-based therapy that aims to help improve an individual’s mental health and well-being and day-to-day functioning.
Registered Psychotherapists work with their clients to develop a non-judgmental and safe space for the client to explore their thinking, feeling, and behaviours. Through this relationship, the client is supported in making positive changes with the goal of improved mental health and more gratifying day-to-day life.
You can read more about psychotherapy here: https://www.crpo.ca/what-is-psychotherapy
Is psychotherapy regulated?
Psychotherapy is a Controlled Act in Ontario. This means that in order to use the title Registered Psychotherapist or Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying), the individual must meet strict education and experience requirements, and must adhere to specific rules in regards to their practice, ethics, and confidentiality.
What does "Qualifying" mean?
Registered Psychotherapists have graduate level education, usually a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology. As part of their education, they undertake a practicum position where they engage in psychotherapy under ongoing supervision, gaining a minimum of 400 hours of practice. Upon completion of their education, registration with their governing body, usually the College of Registered Psychotherapist of Ontario (CRPO), is required before they can practice.
The CRPO assigns a designation of Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying), this indicates that the member has met all the education requirements and is qualified to practice psychotherapy with ongoing clinical supervision.
Once a qualifying member successfully completes an entrance to practice exam, accumulates an additional 450 hours of direct practice and has 100 hours of clinical supervision they may apply to transfer their registration category to Registered Psychotherapist. This can take up to three years to complete.
Registered Psychotherapists are required to continue receiving clinical supervision until they have accumulated 1000 hours of direct practice and 150 hours of clinical supervision. At this time, they may practice without clinical supervision. This can take up to five years after graduation.
Of particular note, due to the current global pandemic, the CRPO has cancelled several exam dates. This has affected many Registered Psychotherapists (Qualifying) who have accumulated their required experience and supervision hours, but have not been able to write their exam. Your Registered Psychotherapists (Qualifying) is happy to share their experience and qualifications with you.
What can I expect for my first session?
Your first psychotherapy session is a chance for you and your psychotherapist to meet and get to know each other a bit. During your first psychotherapy session, your Registered Psychotherapist (RP) will review with you confidentiality, limits of confidentiality, and informed consent. They will explain the benefits, risks, and expected outcomes of psychotherapy.
Your RP will ask you for background information such as family structure, work or school experience, current medications, lifestyle and hobbies, and any formal diagnosis you may have. They will ask you about your current concerns or problems and how these are impacting your day-to-day life.
This information is used to develop a treatment plan that will guide subsequent sessions.
How many sessions will I need?
There is no set answer for this question. Some clients may attend 4-6 sessions while others may continue with long-term psychotherapy. Some factors that influence this are current presenting concerns, underlying mental health issues, commitment to sessions, and in some cases access to services.
As each individual is unique, your psychotherapist can discuss this with you in your first session.